Michigan Awards Four Grants for Volunteer Stream Monitoring
LANSING, Michigan, April 3, 2008 (ENS) - Four organizations have been chosen to receive volunteer water quality monitoring grants under the Michigan Clean Water Corps, or MiCorps, program, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission announced today

The MiCorps program was established by executive order of Governor Jennifer Granholm to involve and assist the state's volunteer water quality organizations in water quality assessments, protection, and stewardship of lakes and rivers.

The four volunteer organizations will share nearly $50,000 in grant funds to support their monitoring work beginning in 2008.

The Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve will monitor the Upper Au Sable River watershed in Roscommon, Crawford, Otsego, and Oscoda counties.

Huron Pines will monitor the Pine River and Van Etten Creek in Alcona and Iosco counties.

Friends of the St. Clair River will monitor tributaries of the St. Clair River in St. Clair County.

And the Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Livingston County Drain Commissioner's Office will monitor the Shiawassee River watershed in Shiawassee and Livingston Counties.

The grants, awarded through the MiCorps' Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program, provide training and support for the volunteer groups to help them collect quality data on the state's water resources. The data is used to support the DEQ's efforts to protect and manage the state's water resources.

"Volunteer groups are absolutely critical to ensuring that, at a very basic level, we monitor water quality appropriately and work together to protect one of our state's greatest natural resources," said Lt. Governor John D. Cherry Jr., who chairs the Great Lakes Commission.

"Water quality is an issue that is easily taken for granted," he said. These grants help to ensure that our stewardship of Michigan's water continued to be a top priority for all of us."

"These volunteers will join an expanding network of committed citizens who are working hard to monitor water quality in Michigan to help protect our state's valuable resources," said Jo Latimore, MiCorps program manager at the Huron River Watershed Council. "We are proud of our volunteers who continue to inspire us with their enthusiasm and dedication."

The Huron River Watershed Council administers the program along with the Great Lakes Commission in partnership with the DEQ.

Much of the work involves monitoring stream-dwelling populations of insects, worms, mollusks, crustaceans, and other creatures, some of which are highly sensitive to changes in water quality and provide food for fish and other organisms. The volunteers also will assess the quality of local stream habitat.

The DEQ established the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program in 1998 and contracted with the Great Lakes Commission to administer it as part of the MiCorps in the fall of 2004. To date, nearly $450,000 in monitoring grants has been awarded for volunteer stream monitoring.

For more information, visit the MiCorps Web site at www.micorps.net.

The Michigan Lake and Stream Associations' 47th annual conference will be held April 25-27 at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Grayling, Michigan.

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