Cannon Township calls for stream study volunteers

Cannon Township seeks volunteers to be part of a stream study group that will assess macro-invertebrates in Bear Creek. Kim Sapkowski, watershed administrative assistant for Cannon Township, said, “Volunteers need not have expearience or knowledge on macro-invertebrates or stream studies; just an interest in stream life and the desire to see our community take a proactive stance on watershed health.”

Volunteers may do one or more of the following activities:

• Put on waders and dig around the creek bottom with a net.

• Remove macro-invertebrates from the net and place them in trays.

• Identify the macro-invertebrates.

• Place the insects in vials.

• Make tabulations on sheets of paper.

• Take photos.

Volunteers are needed to remove macro-invertebrates from nets and place them in trays, among other various tasks, as part of a stream study in Cannon Township.

Volunteers will go out in groups on a specific date in spring and fall of 2011. If you are interested in being a volunteer, you must attend a one-day training session at Cannon Township Center in September (date to be later announced, but will most likely take place on a Saturday).

“Although the stream study dates are a ways off, the September 2010 training is not. The Township would like to start gathering volunteers now,” said Sapkowski.

Macro-invertebrates are animals without backbones that are larger than 1/2 millimeter (the size of a pencil dot). These aquatic animals live on rocks, logs, sediment, debris and aquatic plants. They include crustaceans such as crayfish, mollusks such as clams and snails, aquatic worms and the immature and adult forms of aquatic insects such as stoneflies and mayflies. Collecting and counting macro-invertebrates indicates the health of a stream. More diversity equals a healthier stream. Threats to macro-invertebrates are sedimentation, habitat loss and chemical pollution.

“Cannon Township was recently awarded a $1,000 grant for macro-invertebrate/steam studies through the Michigan Clean Water Corps [MiCorps]. This grant will allow us to organize a large group of volunteers who will go out on Bear Creek to count and observe the macro-invertebrates. Stream studies will help the Township make better decisions regarding the creek and the Bear Creek Watershed,” stated Sapkowski.

If you are interested in being a volunteer for this project, call Kim Sapkowski at (616) 874-6966 or e-mail her at

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