Conservation District hosts stream sampling workshop

Macroinvertebrate Workshop is part of a stream monitoring program for the Little Manistee River

Splashes of red and gold enhance the view along the Little Manistee River in Elk Township.

Splashes of red and gold enhance the view along the Little Manistee River in Elk Township.

Star photo/Shanna Avery

IRONS — The Mason-Lake Conservation District and the Little Manistee Watershed Conservation Council are hosting a Macroinvertebrate Workshop as part of a stream monitoring program for the Little Manistee River.

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) program is a statewide, volunteer-led effort to help monitor lakes and streams across Michigan. Every spring and fall, macroinvertebrates are collected from the Little Manistee to help determine stream health.

The Conservation District encourages anyone interested in fishing, stream health or rivers to volunteer to help with the project. Volunteer jobs include collecting insects in the river, sorting bugs on the streambank or working in the lab to identify insects. No prior experience is needed!

The workshop is  5-6 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Sauble Township Hall, 8906 West 6 Mile Road, Irons. The presentation will discuss river health, various ways river water quality can be assessed, and how local residents can volunteer.

The field day will be held Oct. 12, and volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. at the Club 37 north parking lot, just north of Baldwin. Volunteers will carpool to three sampling sites after a brief orientation. It is expected that sampling will take around five hours for all sites, though volunteers can visit for one or two sites, to get an idea of the process.

The sampling day will be held rain or shine, so volunteers are encouraged to dress for all types of weather and bring water and lunch. Participation in the workshop ahead of time is not required, but is helpful to learn more about the process. The Conservation District will be supplying everything needed for sampling, including waders and boots. If interested in volunteering for either field or lab portion, RSVP to Water Quality Intern, Abbey Hull at or by calling 231-757-3707, ext. 5

Macroinvertebrates are easy to sample and are great indicators of stream health. Macroinvertebrates (stream insects) live in the stream year-round and can indicate long-term poor or high water quality based on which organisms are found. Some species are much more tolerant of pollution than others. For example, if those insects that require high water quality are missing, and only the pollution tolerant insects are found that indicates that there is likely an issue with pollution or water quality.


Stream Health Workshop 

  • When: 5-6 p.m. Sept. 28
  • Where: Sable Township Hall, 8906 W. 6 Mile Road, Irons

Volunteer Stream Sampling Day

  • When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 12 (or come for a portion)
  • Where: Club 37 north parking lot, 3803 M-37, Baldwin

Sending water samples to a lab is another excellent way to test for mineral and bacteria components in the water, but these tests only give a snapshot of water quality for that specific time sampled. To get the best understanding of the water quality and any changes that may occur, the Little Manistee Watershed Conservation Council and Conservation District have been using both methods throughout the year to monitor stream health.