Northern Michigan Bioswales Get National Recognition, StoryMap Provides Water Quality Info on Streams and Rivers

For Friday, Feb. 25, 2022


1 – Northern Michigan high school students are getting national recognition for a green infrastructure project. 

The work is highlighted in a 2021 Education Accomplishments Report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency notes that students from Au Gres-Sims High School worked with Michigan Sea Grant to secure funding to install a native plant bioswale at Riverside Park in Au Gres. 

A volunteer helps to maintain native plants in a bioswale in Au Gres, Michigan. Credit: Au Gres-Sims School District

A bioswale is a vegetated channel commonly used to remove pollutants in stormwater runoff.

As part of the process, students held public meetings to learn about what the community wanted to see in the park. 

In the fall of 2020, the students worked with local partners including Huron Pines in Gaylord to install the bioswale. 

Reportedly, the students saw immediate improvements at the park, as the amount of standing water after rainstorms decreased. 

Officials say areas in Au Gres are prone to flooding during major rainstorms and improper drainage allowed contaminants to run directly into the Au Gres River.  

2 – The latest online StoryMap from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy examines the state’s monitoring program for rivers and streams. 

You can use it to see data collected from nearby lakes and streams. 

A snippet of monitoring results for the Saginaw Bay area. Via Michigan EGLE

Biologists from Michigan’s environmental agency sample macroinvertebrates like insects and other small organisms to determine the health of rivers and streams. 

These tiny macroinvertebrates are great indicators of water quality because many live in the water year-round. Some tolerate pollution better than others. In general, healthy streams have a wider variety of macroinvertebrates than polluted streams. 

Using the new StoryMap, you can explore watersheds, land use and monitoring results throughout the state. 

The online map also includes information on macroinvertebrates collected in specific watersheds, when the watershed will be sampled again and the latest biological monitoring reports for watersheds.

3 – The Arenac Conservation District will hold a fruit tree care workshop on March 12, 2022 from 10 a.m. to noon. 

You can log on to learn how to properly care for fruit trees and increase fruit production through the free workshop

The class will be taught by a retired Michigan State University educator specializing in commercial fruit. 

See to sign up.  

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Public Radio 90.1 FM (listen live). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes


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