Category Archives: Great Lakes

Volunteers Monitor Great Lakes Streams

Underwater Leaves

(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted a story on here. After such a too-long hiatus (mostly due to moving and some health issues), I’m hoping to be back on here regularly, posting at least a few times every week. So, without further ado…

The Great Lakes have been in the news a lot lately, for a number of environmental reasons, from algae blooms to invasive species. This story out of Michigan focuses on how volunteers are an enormous part of the effort to monitor the streams which connect to the larger lakes. While the article puts some emphasis on the Michigan Clean Water Corps, it includes a number of other interesting  and important aspects of stream monitoring in the area. One is that the volunteers are often monitoring populations of insects and small aquatic species, rather than chemicals. It’s an interesting switch from other monitoring practices that focus on testing for things like phosphorus or dissolved oxygen (in a sense, a way to test the water’s quality and collect data which focuses on biology rather than chemistry). Also important is the fact, as the article mentions, that volunteers are doing these kinds of monitoring tests across a number of states (five are mentioned) and for many different organizations, from nonprofits to government agencies. It’s more evidence of how a task as big and daunting as monitoring the waterways connected to the Great Lakes takes many people working in many places, and most of them are volunteers.

If you have enjoyed any of the stories on this blog, read more in my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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