Stream Monitoring


Stream Monitoring

Each spring and fall, a well-trained team of Mid-MEAC Volunteer Stream Monitors puts on waders and heads into the streams of the Red Cedar River watershed to search for bugs and other river “critters.”  Using nets to collect the bugs from the streams, and trays and tweezers to sort through them on shore, these stream monitors are an integral part of the protection of the Red Cedar River and its tributaries. Mid-MEAC has lead this initiative for more than ten years.

The types of bugs (also known as macroinvertebrates) that they collect tell a story about the health of the river at each location. Some bugs are very sensitive to pollution or disturbance to the stream, and they will disappear if the stream becomes degraded. Mid-MEAC has been conducting this program for 1996. The results have been used to develop remediation plans and were cited in the Red Cedar River Watershed Management Plan.

We need volunteers to help with our Fall and Spring monitoring sessions.  Each session takes less than one (weekend) day with training provided.  Those who wish to participate in bug identification are welcome to return for an additional part-day session.

VSM_Picker-w-dog-PicMid-MEAC Volunteer Stream Monitoring Sites

Maps, images, and stream scores of our 12 Monitoring Sites can be viewed here.

Become a Stream Monitoring Volunteer

To become part of Mid-MEAC’s Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program, RSVP on Facebook or contact our Volunteer Stream Monitoring Coordinator at 517.292.3078 or via email us.

Program Goals

The ultimate goal of this program is to create swimmable, fishable streams and rivers in Mid-Michigan. Mid-MEAC’s volunteer stream monitoring program is one strategy within that goal, which fits into Mid-MEAC’s mission of helping people transform environmental concerns into action.  Not only does the program allow us to collect data which can then be used in the future for advocacy efforts and river protection efforts, it also helps people connect with, appreciate, and understand our local waterways. Goals: Improve water quality in the Red Cedar River Watershed; Improve awareness of water quality issues facing the Red Cedar Watershed; and Increase level of community and individual commitment to water quality stewardship

How Mid-MEAC Uses the Data

Data results are communicated to the public, the MDEQ, and the Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management after each collection session.  The data is also entered into the MiCorps exchange database, a statewide system for volunteer stream monitoring data, and entered into charts and graphs that illustrate the trends and findings. As problem areas are identified within the watershed, Mid-MEAC will work with community partners and land owners to develop solutions to alleviate conditions that create negative impacts on overall stream health.

Volunteer Stream Monitoring Training Materials

Team Structure & Collection Technique – explains procedures and techniques to use on collection days.

Macroinvertebrate Datasheet – Page 1 of this sheet is filled out at the stream; Page 2 is filled out on Identification Day.

Stream Habitat Definitions – explains the terms on the datasheet and on the Collection Techniques handout.

Pictures of Bugs – shows the types of critters you’ll be collecting.

Michigan Clean Water Corp (Mi-Corps) Volunteer Stream Monitoring Procedures – link

State of the Red Cedar Report

Mid-MEAC is pleased to present the 2015 State of the Red Cedar Report which includes all data collected by our volunteers during the 2015 sampling season. Please note that, while this report provides a good overview of the condition of the Red Cedar Watershed, it is not the only source of information to be considered when evaluating a waterway or watershed.

View the 2014 Report

Want to know more about our watershed? Check out the Greater Lansing Committee for Stormwater Management.

MDNR Inland Lake Habitat Map

Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes are incredibly diverse and vary in depth, productivity, thermal stratification, oxygen, alkalinity, shoreline armoring, docks, woody habitat, housing density and other characteristics. MDNR has developed an online interactive map to help those interested in learning more about lake habitats. Find it here.