TUSTIN — Citizen scientists will soon flock to Tustin.
MiCorps, the state program that tracks lake and stream quality data submitted by volunteers, will hold its annual conference at the Kettunen Center on Oct. 23.
“We’re excited to meet with everyone,‘ said Marcy Knoll Wilmes, a senior aquatic biologist with the Water Resources Division of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Wilmes is also director of the MiCorps program.
“The annual conference brings together water quality monitor volunteers, state and regional experts, as well as EGLE biologists and MiCorps staff to share the latest volunteer monitoring efforts and success stories to improve water quality,‘ according to an EGLE press release.
All of the above are invited to the conference, even those that are not yet involved in any citizen-science lake or stream monitoring programs.
Just having an interest in stream monitoring is justification enough.
Nobody has reported data regarding Lake Cadillac, Lake Mitchell or Lake Missaukee to the MiCorps database in recent years, though there are active stream monitoring efforts in Missaukee County; several sites on the Clam River have been evaluated in recent years.
People who attend the conference will learn about how invasive species, human disturbance and climate change affect lakes and streams; they’ll also learn about restoration techniques and watershed habitat resiliency. Other sessions will offer guidance on what to do with the data collected.
Wilmes said MiCorps is always interested in having more people participate in the program.
Volunteers collect and share data with MiCorps but they can also share the data with local leaders.
“These volunteers really have a lot of leverage to make changes,‘ Wilmes said.
The one-day event on Oct. 23 is the 15th annual Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) conference.
Jeremy Geist, Great Lakes stream restoration manager at Trout Unlimited, will present the keynote address, “providing information on improving watershed connectivity, resiliency and habitat in response to past and present threats to the region’s cold water resources.‘ Participants may also choose from two in-depth training sessions on “Insect Identification‘ or “Plants of Michigan’s Lakes and Streams.‘
MiCorps is “administered by EGLE and the Great Lakes Commission, in collaboration with the Huron River Watershed Council, Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations, and Michigan State University.‘
Registration for the event ends Oct. 15 and costs $45. To register, and for more information, visit MiCorps.net/Conference-2019.