The Unique Nature of Citizen Science

Thursday, March 3, 2022


The Unique Nature of Citizen Science – Eric Diesing

Adopt-A-Stream is one of CRWC’s longest running programs, with data dating back over fifteen years. What makes this so unique is all this data has been collected by citizen scientists, people who cherish and enjoy the Clinton River and all that the watershed has to offer. If it were not for these dedicated individuals, this program simply would not be possible.

Citizen science is a unique opportunity for people to learn and practice real science, just like professional biologist and ecologist do. Adopt-A-Stream provides a platform for residents of the watershed to get involved and make a difference in the region where they live, work and play. Beyond this, Adopt-A-Stream data is a crucial resource for CRWC and state agencies alike. Having a continuous record of macroinvertebrate communities throughout the watershed can help inform long-term water quality trends. This data is also used to support potential restoration projects and long-term monitoring efforts.

If fact, CRWC is targeting 24 new locations for Adopt-A-Stream monitoring in the coming years. These sites align with completed restoration projects that will help the Clinton River watershed delist as an Area of Concern. The data gathered at these locations will better inform CRWC and industry professionals as to how effective river restoration techniques are in an urban environment. In many instances, long-term monitoring of restoration activities is nearly impossible, given the amount of time and effort, lack of funding and lack of will-power to do so. Adopt-A-Stream allows CRWC to fill this gap throughout our watershed.

I hope you will join us in this important, exciting, and engaging program. CRWC is always looking for new volunteers to help us collect data and identify macroinvertebrates. Adopt-A-Stream is not possible without people like you, who are motivated and passionate about our local natural resources.


Volunteer Spotlight

Why Adopt -A-Stream, Joerg Hensel

I do not think I'm far off when I say that everyone's fondest memories from not just childhood, but as an adult, involve water. We not only swim, fish, & boat in it, we use it to wash, irrigate, and sustain ourselves, our pets and all of nature.

Fifteen years ago, I began helping to watch water quality after hearing a news report on how many waterways, including the waters right in my backyard, were in trouble. They mentioned fish, frogs, and other wildlife were nonexistent in large portions of the watershed and if we didn't do something post haste the trickledown effect would be devastating.

“Are you kidding?” I said to this day and age we still are talking about dirty water, how can this be? The particular program I was attracted to when I started is the "Adopt a Stream" program. You think you know what makes water clean, and you think you can tell how healthy water is, until you attend one training session and at the end you say "wow, I guess I didn't know much."

After one class you will realize that it takes everyone to care, not just a few biologists, also, how fun it can be at the same time. Initially, there are a couple simple training classes, and then a couple hours of your time, once in the spring & once in the fall.

The CRWC supplies you with everything, such as waders, nets, microscopes, etc., all you have to do is just show up and enjoy being in the water with other folks who you will find you have a lot in common with. You will joke about playing with bugs, and be amazed at what a wonderful life these creatures know, like watching, "Honey I shrunk the kids".

After participating once, I guarantee you will say to yourself “why didn't I do this a long time ago?”

You have heard it over and over, without clean water, we don't exist.

We are just starting to turn the corner making water in our area clean and safe for our kids, grand kids and the environment overall. No need to feel intimidated by something new, it’s easy to help make water your friend, and in the end, you will get back more from the experience than you put in, Adopt – A Stream can be the perfect partnership for you!



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