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Now is the perfect time to get involved with protecting our freshwater resources with volunteer events, free training and education classes and family-friendly activities throughout the year!

Join CRWC for Adopt-A-Stream on October 7, 2023. Adopt-A-Stream is a volunteer-based initiative that empowers community members to protect local streams and rivers by monitoring water quality. Volunteers are trained, teamed-up, assigned sites, given equipment and data sheets then sent out into the field to gather information on streamside habitats, physical characteristics, and aquatic insect populations.


You don’t have to be a scientist to make big improvements in our environment! Everyday people getting involved in water quality monitoring has resulted in positive changes across the nation, the state and right here in the Clinton River Watershed. The water quality data collected by the CRWC volunteers has been utilized to identify and resolve soil erosion problems and to help select and fund specific locations for brook trout and coldwater stream restoration projects.


A stream’s health can be determined by the number and types of bugs and aquatic insects that live in it. In May and October, the Adopt-A-Stream volunteers perform “Bug ID’s” and gather other valuable data that is then utilized to assess the water quality and support important decision-making regarding waterway protection and restoration.

How It Works

Volunteers are broken into groups to survey sites throughout the watershed. Each group is assigned a site, and many groups return to the same site every year.

Team Leaders help their groups coordinate and follow site procedures to ensure that data is being collected in a safe and consistent way. Each team fills out a Stream Survey Form to guide their monitoring efforts.

Adopt-A-Stream site monitoring consists of:
  • Collecting samples from the river using a net
  • Finding macroinvertebrates in the samples
  • Identifying habitat types
  • Describing stream characteristics including, the width, presence of vegetation, progress of erosion, and amount of tree canopy cover
  • Categorizing substrates present in the stream
  • Identifying nearby land use
  • Conducting a chloride test
  • Reporting on trash, debris, and invasive species



Determine Your Role – Decide if you want to be a Team Coordinator or a Team Participant. Also, decide if you want to become “Bug ID Certified.”

Optional Bug ID Certification – If interested in becoming a certified Bug Identifier, you must attend and pass the Bug ID Course offered by the CRWC biannually.

Stream Site & Team Assignment – After training is completed, the CRWC will coordinate a site selection. Teams of 3-5 individuals are recommended. Youth (under 18 years of age) are welcome to participate, but an adult Team Coordinator must ensure that protocols are followed correctly.

Monitoring & Team Coordination – You will be contacted by your Team Leader prior to the monitoring weekend. If you are a Team Leader, it is your job to coordinate the kit pick-up from the CRWC office and organize your team for the monitoring weekend.

Have Fun! – Stream monitoring takes place the first Saturday in May and October. Depending on the number of team members present, the entire process lasts approximately 3 hours. The CRWC will send reminders to Team Leaders to help prepare for the upcoming monitoring season. Team Leaders will contact their team members to schedule their monitoring days and times.


Training Dates

Anyone interested in participating in Adopt-A-Stream is welcome to attend. While no formal experience is required to assist with water quality monitoring, it is recommended that volunteers take an Adopt-A-Stream Training. Trainings provide all the information necessary to join or lead an Adopt-A-Stream Team.

Virtual: September 11 - 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. // In partnership with Warren Civic Center Library // Zoom Link

In-Person: September 12 - 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. // New Baltimore City Hall // 36535 Green St, New Baltimore, MI 48047

Virtual: September 19 - 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. // In partnership with Ray Township Public Library // Zoom Link

In-Person: September 27 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. // Van Hoosen Farms - Dairy Barn Conference Room // 1005 Van Hoosen Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48306

In-Person: September 30 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. // With BUG ID Training // CRWC Office - 1115 W Avon, Rochester Hills 48309

Virtual trainings take place online only. In-Person trainings take place at the addresses provided.



Fall 2023 Monitoring Date

October 7, 2023 

The Adopt-A-Stream monitoring date is set, but each group can coordinate with their site leader if another time works better.

NEW IN FALL 2023: Every participant is asked to register, regardless of whether or not you are new to the program or a long-time site monitoring expert.




Click the year to download the monitoring results    


2022 Adopt-a-stream data


Total Volunteers






Stonefly Volunteers



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