Announcements from the Michigan Clean Water Corps | April 18, 2016

Michigan Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program Grant Awards for 2016

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) are pleased to announce nearly $64,000 in grants to help ten organizations perform local water quality monitoring work under the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) Program.

The MiCorps Program was established to assist the state’s volunteer water quality organizations with water quality assessments, protection, and stewardship of Michigan’s lakes and rivers. These volunteer-dependent monitoring groups further expand the existing network of committed citizens who are working hard to monitor water quality in Michigan.

The grants are awarded through the DEQ’s MiCorps Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program to provide training and support for volunteers. These grants support the DEQ’s work to collect quality data on the state’s water resources.

This year’s awardees are divided into four categories:

  • Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey grants, which provide two years of support for existing volunteer programs to monitor macroinvertebrate communities and habitat characteristics in wadeable streams and rivers.
  • Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey start-up grants, which provide one year of funding for organizations developing a new volunteer monitoring program. The funding also supports the design of a monitoring strategy as a first step toward the development of a full proposal for a monitoring program.
  • Road/Stream Crossing Inventory grants, which provide up to 13 months of support to assist volunteer monitoring groups in visiting and assessing the condition of stream crossings to protect and enhance streams throughout a targeted watershed.
  • Stream Flow Monitoring Pilot Project grants, which are new in 2016, provide one year of support for organizations to establish volunteer-based programs in which staff and volunteers determine the total water flow (discharge) of small streams. Flow monitoring is important for determining the basic ecological function of a stream, potential disruptions to biota and habitat, and nutrient loading.

The ten organizations awarded grants in these categories to support volunteer monitoring work beginning in 2016 area:

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey Grants:

  • Manistee Conservation District – $10,822.26 to monitor macroinvertebrate populations and stream habitat conditions at nine sites in the lower portion of the Manistee River watershed, including the subwatersheds of the Big Manistee River, Bear Creek, and the Little Manistee River, which are being targeted due to their coldwater fisheries habitat values, public accessibility, and their relation to current conservation goals of local watershed groups.
  • St. Joseph County Conservation District – $8,725 to monitor macroinvertebrate and habitat conditions at 10 sites in the Rocky River, Prairie River, and Portage River watersheds in St. Joseph County, while educating residents about water quality and the importance of healthy habitat; generating useful data for the District, DEQ, and other partners; engaging groups and individuals in hands-on water monitoring activities; and recruiting and training volunteers for future efforts.
  • Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council – $4,816 to add additional macroinvertebrate and habitat assessment monitoring sites within the Red Cedar watershed in Ingham County, with the goals of improving water quality and habitat in the Red Cedar River, educating mid-Michigan residents on the value of stream monitoring, obtaining data to be used in watershed planning, and engaging volunteers in hands-on monitoring activities.

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey Start-Up Grants:

  • Jamestown Charter Township / Trinity Christian Reformed Church – $2,990 to establish a macroinvertebrate monitoring program on Rush Creek in eastern Ottawa County.
  • Missaukee Conservation District – $2,698 to establish a macroinvertebrate monitoring program on the Clam River and other parts of the mid- to upper Muskegon River watershed within Missaukee County.

Road/Stream Crossing Inventory Grants:

  • Calhoun Conservation District – $8.500 to conduct a road/stream crossing inventory with a minimum of 81 sites in four subwatersheds (South Branch Kalamazoo River, Rice Creek, Nottawa Creek, and Battle Creek River) within Calhoun County to assess water quality, aquatic oragnism passage, road safety, and sediment/erosion issues, and to collect data to prioritize structure remediation.
  • Macatawa Area Coordinating Council – $7,496.93 to conduct a road/stream crossing inventory with 58 sites throughout the Lake Macatawa watershed in Ottawa and Allegan counties to quantify pollutant loads, prioritize remediation or replacement of problematic crossings, and reduce erosion and sediment delivery to Lake Macatawa.
  • Muskegon Conservation District / White River Watershed Partnership – $3,951.10 to conduct a road/stream crossing inventory at 50 sites within the North and South Branches and smaller tributaries of the White River within Oceana and Newaygo counties, to identify and prioritize those crossings most in need of improvement, especially those located on coldwater streams in areas critical to spawning and recruitment of migratory game fish.

Stream Flow Monitoring Pilot Project Grants:

  • Dickinson Conservation District – $7,332.76 to monitor stream flow within the Sturgeon River system, a subwatershed of the Menominee River in Dickinson County (south central Upper Peninsula), to assess whether current water withdrawals may affect the base flow of the system in areas where bank stability and fisheries may be compromised by wildly fluctuating flow rates.
  • Benzie Conservation District – $6,454 to monitor both inlet and outlet stream flows of Crystal Lake within Benzie County to gain a better understanding of the hydrological balance of Crystal Lake watershed and to associate these flows with specific concerns for water quality, water distribution, and water uses for better water resource management.

The DEQ established the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program in 1998 and contracted with the GLC to administer it as part of MiCorps in the fall of 2004. The GLC also partners with the Huron River Watershed Council, the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc., and Michigan State University in administering the MiCorps Program.

For additional information about the Michigan Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program grants, contact Dr. Paul Steen, Huron River Watershed Council, at

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The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) was created through Michigan Executive Order #2003-15 to assist the Department of Environmental Quality in collecting and sharing water quality data for use in water resources management and protection programs.