Adopt - A - Stream Program

This map shows the 20 locations of our Adopt-A-Stream sites throughout the River Raisin Watershed.

What do you do?

Adopt-A-Stream volunteers look for and collect macroinvertebrates (aquatic bugs) on the bottoms of streams. Why? These bugs tell us about the quality of the water in the streams and rivers. Certain species can tolerate more pollution and lower oxygen than others, meaning when we find only those species, the stream isn't as healthy as it could be. Knowing this, we can focus more conservation efforts and funds in the areas that need it most! 

The River Raisin Watershed Council's Adopt-A-Stream program consists of three events; Training Day, Stream Search, and Bug I.D. Day. Volunteers from all across the watershed work in teams to collect macroinvetebrates from twenty sites to determine the water quality of each site. There are both spring and fall collections.

Training Day: Volunteers meet with scientists and staff to get organized for Stream Search day. 

Stream Search Day: Two collectors wade into a stream and work with a special net to collect the insects. Sorters are stationed along the bank and sift through the nets to extract the macroinvertebates and place them in jars for further analysis on Bug ID Day. The Stream Captain directs the volunteers and ensures all tasks have been completed and every one is working safely.

Bug ID Day: Experts work alongside volunteers to identify the macroinvetebrates to the family level. Results are quantified and analyzed to make a report that ranks each site as poor, fair, good or excellent. The report is forwarded to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Bug Collection October 4, 2015

Dr. Jim Martin wrote:

We did 17 sites - that includes John's two sites on the Saline. Of the three sites that are on are list but I've been skeptical about for some years are S4 and S5 and BC1. The two sites off tributaries of the Saline have not been done in some years (they are first order streams that are not deserving of the search effort - in fact, the USGS maps show them as intermittents but because of the development up that way they run more often now). The other site I didn't run down was BC1 - this site is under Carlton Hwy near Blissfield and is, quite frankly, too dangerous and should be removed from benthic sampling. Nothing but silt on the bottom. The rest were run by me or one of my deputies. We had over 40 people involved between all of us.

John Farmer wrote:

All Past, Present, and Potential Stream Searchers:

For all who helped last Saturday, a heart-felt "THANK YOU!" for having gone the extra mile and having endured the rain and cold of one of the most disagreeable SS days I remember. For those who weren't there, I though you might find special comfort in seeing what you didn't have to put up with. That beach umbrella was NOT for the sun!

If you have any interest in helping out the cause and learning more about those critters we collect year-after-year, you would be most welcome to participate in "Bug I.D. Day."

Team 1
Team 1
Team 3
Team 3