“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring Michigan has world-class natural resources, especially the preservation and restoration of flowing waters in our home state,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “As a tributary to the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, we look forward to seeing the positive impact this contribution to the Friends of the Shiawassee River (FOSR) will have on the water quality of all three freshwater resources.”

   The grant will support the expansion and development of the FOSR’s Stream Team program from Holly to St. Charles. Currently, through Stream Team efforts, the river is monitored twice annually at 10 sites along the approximately 100-mile stretch. Teams of trained leaders and interested volunteers collect, identify and count a variety of benthic macroinvertebrates (“bugs”). Based on the number and type of macroinvertebrates collected at a testing site, a water quality rating is assigned to that stretch of the river – using standards set by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) program.

   The stream monitoring program has been a part of the FOSR since 2008. Initially, the program was small, with fewer monitoring sites, enabling the FOSR’s board and community volunteers to manage the project. As the program developed, additional sites were added to extend throughout the length of the Shiawassee River. It became apparent that paid staff was needed to manage the growing effort.

   “The Friends organization is proud of our Stream Team program and truly appreciates this new relationship with Consumers Energy,” said FOSR staff member Sarah Baker, Stream Team coordinator. “The data we collect each year builds a long-term record that can assist local and state governments, research institutions and other community organizations in gaining a better sense of river health and to quickly recognize and address pollution concerns.”

   FOSR Board President Nick Tereck, although not a scientist himself, has worked on Stream Team projects and encourages others to do so. He shares that without the Consumers Energy Foundation’s grant award, the scope of the Stream Team’s efforts may have been reduced.

   “We are so grateful to the Consumers Energy Foundation for their support of this program,” said Tereck. “Over 100 volunteers participate in this endeavor each year – including myself and several other board members. We not only learn a lot about the river, but truly enjoy putting on waders and seeing what lives there. Participants are of all ages and backgrounds. I would encourage anyone with an interest to join us.”

   Representatives from Consumers Energy will be presenting the grant check at the FOSR’s annual meeting, to be held at the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The next Stream Team activity will be on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Heritage Park in Corunna, where participants will search specifically for stonefly larvae. There is no cost for either event. Anyone interested in participating may register online at www.shiawasseeriver.org, by email at info@shiawasseeriver.org or by calling the FOSR office at (989) 723-9062.

FOSR Receives $14,400 Consumers Energy Grant was last modified: January 21st, 2019 by Karen Elford