Thursday, March 4, 2010

AuSable River Water Quality

Readers of the blog know that Gahagan Preserve led the effort to begin regular water quality monitoring of the upper AuSable River basin. We define this as the watershed above the Mio Dam Pond. We sought the grants, gathered the partners and now organize two days each year in which data is collected at six points in the river and its branches. We have collected data for two years now and plan to do it twice every year.
What have we found? So far, the water quality scores have been excellent. Maybe that was to be expected.
Then why do we still do it? Because it establishes a clear baseline for the future. We, or future generations, will be able to see when and if the water quality degrades. Then we can muster action to identify the problem, then stop and reverse the trend. Without the baseline, it is hard too argue with the problem source or even know there is one.
If you think that the AuSable is pristine and will always be that way, click the link and read an article in today's Detroit News. It discusses a toxic industrial site northeast of Mio. This is downstream from our watch area but it could just as easily been farther upstream. Either way it is threatens a great river. A plume of heavy metals has reached a feeder creek just upstream of the AuSable River; pristine no longer.
You can help. On June 5 volunteers will get in the stream to collect "bugs" from our sample spots. We will have a training session at Kirtland Community College (KCC) prior to the effort and then hit the stream. It will take half of a day. We provide what you need and a meal. You will learn, meet some amazing people and have fun. More details can be found at the project's website
In the days after the collection, we meet in a KCC's lab to identify the bugs. Another great learning experience! Believe me - I was an amateur when we started and I am a fair amateur already!

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