Stream Monitoring

Volunteer Powered

join the team!

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) provides small start-up grants to entities wanting to establish a volunteer stream monitoring program. We applied in 2014 and received a full start-up award, creating our volunteer Stream Team.

Each spring and fall, we monitor eight sites along the Escanaba River, looking for macroinvertebrates that indicate the water quality and habitat availability at that site. Though the grant has ended, it allowed us to purchase necessary supplies and establish a solid base of volunteers to continue the monitoring into the future. These findings are important in considering care and quality of a local watershed. Now that the two-year funded project is finished, it is up to a volunteer base to continue the monitoring of these sites, and we truly appreciate our Stream Team volunteers!

Stream Monitoring Assessments

Macro invertebrates as Bioindicators

Bioindicators are life forms that indicate the quality of a particular habitat. Stream monitoring involves using nets to collect samples from the sediment of a stream, and then sorting and identifying the macroinvertebrates found. Macroinvertebrates are insects in their nymph and larval stage, and are valuable as indicators of water quality. High quality streams will result in higher quantities of macroinvertebrates, and certain species are only tolerant to pollution-free water, so their presence indicates a clean habitat. Some of these species include dragonfly, stonefly, caddisfly, and blackfly larvae, among many other species. Some of these species are very sensitive to environmental changes, while others are quite tolerant.

Quality Scoring

​Each macroinvertebrate we find has a specific value assigned to it, which we use to score the stream. The stream’s score corresponds to the overall health of the stream, and scores range from 1-10, with 10 being severely polluted, and a 1 indicating a stream in excellent health. To see how the sites we monitor have rated over the years of sampling, please head to the MiCorps webpage!

share This!


Forestry & Wildlife Management Assistance

The Forest and Wildlife Management Assistance Program of Marquette and Alger Counties promotes stewardship of forest resources on private lands. This free program offers landowners assistance with managing wildlife habitat, timber production, tree planting, recreation, and forest health, as well as urban forestry and backyard wildlife. We provide on site consultation, basic written information, and referrals to other service providers free of charge. Management suggestions are based on sound resource science and the landowner’s goals.

Read More »

On-Farm Produce Safety

Produce Safety Technicians offer FREE & CONFIDENTIAL education and assistance to fresh produce growers regarding their on-farm food safety practices. Safe food practices minimizes the risk of foodborne illnesses, and helps keep the people who eat fresh produce safe.

Read More »

Lake To Lake CISMA

Free invasive species management The Lake to Lake Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (L2L CISMA) is a multi-agency and multi-community group created in 2008 to

Read More »

Pollinator Information

The Marquette County Conservation District recognizes the essential role that pollinators have in our society. Pollinators are responsible for 1/3 of the food we eat, and the best way to support pollinators is by creating habitat for them! Each year MCCD makes it a priority to take on several native gardening projects in order to increase pollinator habitat in Marquette County.

Read More »


Each September, Marquette and Alger Conservation Districts host an educational field day at the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, MI.

Read More »

Natural Resources Conservation Service Partnership

The Soil Conservation Service was established in 1935 in response to the Dust Bowl. In 1937, the first county Conservation District was formed to link federal agency resources with the local farmers. Since then, nearly 3000 Conservation Districts have been organized. This partnership between NRCS and the Conservation Districts is one that was carefully designed. This unique and productive relationship continues to be a model for providing Federal resources at the local level.

Read More »