Strengthening water quality data collection and stewardship through community engagement

MSU Extension administers the Michigan Clean Water Corps, or MiCorps, a statewide network of volunteer-based monitoring programs measuring lake and stream water quality.

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Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has received a 5-year, $1.7 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to administer the Michigan Clean Water Corps, or MiCorps, a statewide network of volunteer-based monitoring programs measuring lake and stream water quality.

Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program

The Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) provides technical assistance to local units of government and nonprofits for water quality monitoring in wadeable streams and rivers and road-stream crossing inventories. Program staff members offer training, support, and assistance with developing quality assurance project plans, helping participants reach a professional level of monitoring. Local communities and EGLE use the data collected to identify waterways that need more detailed assessment and to inform water resource management. In 2021, VSMP awarded 20 grants, totaling more than $57,000, to Michigan communities and nonprofits. The grants support long-term data collection on stream and river health statewide.

Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program

Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program volunteers monitor lake water quality to document changes over time. They collect water quality data, survey lakes for invasive species and document habitat quality. Program staff members provide training and support to the volunteers. The program is the second oldest volunteer lake monitoring program in the nation. In 2021, program volunteers monitored the health of 279 Michigan lakes in 57 counties.

Volunteer Stream Cleanup Program

Each year, the Volunteer Stream Cleanup Program distributes grant funding to local governments to support trash cleanup from Michigan rivers, streams and creeks. In 2021, seven organizations received grants totaling more than $15,500. Nearly 640 program volunteers spent over 1,080 hours cleaning 142 miles of rivers, streams and creeks.

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