Adopt a Stream

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The Outdoor Stream Study Workshop at Ken-O-Sha Park has been postponed due to rain. Please save the dates for Thursday, May 2nd – Saturday, May 4th for rescheduled workshop and data collection days.

The Outdoor Stream Study Workshop at Wedgwood Park (4/15) is still on weather permitting. Please reach out to ccalderon@wmeac.org or water@wmeac.org if you have any questions or concerns.

What is the Adopt-A-Stream program?

Protecting our fresh water resources is incredibly important to WMEAC as we work to reclaim the exceptional natural benefits our local streams provide for recreation and wildlife. Adopt-A-Stream empowers community members and local businesses to learn about our streams and the important life they contain. Our staff has a wide breadth of experience with surveying freshwater streams as well as creating many opportunities for our community to learn alongside us and get to know their local watershed.

Businesses can enroll in our Adopt-A-Stream Bid Discount Program to support WMEAC’s water initiatives while also receiving a bid credit discount with the City of Grand Rapids. More information available below.

If you are interested in volunteering, attending free trainings and outdoor field work then let’s get you some waders and into the water! Anyone can join WMEAC’s force of Stream Keepers who visit local rivers to collect important information about the health of its plants and animals.  Check down below for upcoming workshops and stream studies. Soon you will be a bug brainiac equipped with the knowledge and training to make our streams healthy and vibrant!

Adopt-A-Stream: Bid Discount Program

Do you represent a business that is seeking to bid on projects with the City of Grand Rapids? You can support WMEAC’s water programs by signing up to be an Adopt-A-Stream partner for a 1% bid credit discount for construction projects or goods and services solicited by the City.

The City of Grand Rapids’ Office of Equity and Engagement offers businesses a 1% discount on bid-eligible contracts in exchange for participating in WMEAC’s Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) program. Participating businesses are required to host two stream clean ups or monitoring events per year at sites within the City with their employees. These events typically are hosted in the spring and fall. However, the timeframe and locations will be coordinated between WMEAC staff and your AAS contact person.

You can find the details on the bid discount program and associated benefits at the City’s Office of Equity and Engagement under the Supplier Diversity tab.

Click here to download the terms and agreement for the AAS bid discount program.

Stream Keepers: Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

Are you interested in learning about the hidden world of our streams and freshwater insects? Well what are you “wading” for? Join WMEAC’s Stream Keepers today!

We host a network of volunteers who record information on streamside habitats, physical characteristics and the aquatic macroinvertebrate populations living in our local waterways. Aquatic “macros” play a very important role in our freshwater ecosystems and include organisms such as insects, clams, snails, worms, and crayfish!

As a Stream Keeper, you will gain experience in and out of the field on how to use equipment for collecting and identifying macros. WMEAC will provide you with waders, nets, procedures, and other tools necessary for our field work events.

With funding provided by the Michigan Clean Water Corps, WMEAC is eager to offer these experiences to stewards interested in protecting the waters that flow through our communities.

Please contact water@wmeac.org if you have any questions.

Upcoming Adopt-A-Stream Events

These are FREE, outdoor, science-focused workshops at local parks

Winter Identification Workshop

We will be reviewing our samples of aquatic insects that were collected from Buck Creek and Plaster Creek by our Stream Keepers. Volunteers will learn the basics of macroinvertebrate identification and how we can use them as tools to measure water quality. This workshop is free and food will be provided. We encourage anyone who is interested in rivers and biology to attend regardless of level of prior biology experience. Age-appropriate activities about water pollution will be available as well for our younger scientists!

Click here to register! This workshop will be limited to 20 participants and registration will close Tuesday, January 9th, 2024.

When: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm on Thursday, January 24th, 2024

What: Introduction to identifying common aquatic insects and how to use a biotic index to rate water quality.

Where: WMEAC Office, 1007 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

Spring Stream Keeper Field Trainings

Suit up and get your stream on with this outdoor training session on how to collect valuable data on the health of our stream and rivers. Using procedures designed by the Michigan Clean Water Corps and equipment provided by WMEAC, you will dive into the underwater world of freshwater macroinvertebrates. Samples of these organisms will be collected from the stream and preserved for a later identification session.

Stream Keepers will be trained on how to conduct field work at several locations in two subwatersheds of the Lower Grand River: Buck Creek and Plaster Creek. Refer to this map for more information on our current macroinvertebrate monitoring sites.

Attending one of the following training sessions is required to participate in the Spring Sampling Series.

Session 1

When: 4:30pm – 6:00pm on Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Where: Ken-O-Sha Park. 1353 Van Auken St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Registration is closed for this workshop.

Session 2

When: 10:00am – 11:30am on Saturday, April 15th, 2023

 Where: Ken-O-Sha Park. 1353 Van Auken St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Registration is closed for this workshop.

Spring Stream Keeper Sampling Series

After you have completed the field training it’s time to go out and collect some data! WMEAC will arrange our volunteers to visit all of our monitoring sites within the week of April 17th through April 22nd, 2023.

More information on this process will be provided during the training sessions.

Sampling Window: April 17th through April 22nd (weather dependent). Rain out dates will be April 27th through 29th.

Specific field work times will be arranged between WMEAC staff and available Stream Keeper volunteers.

Where: Eight sites within the Buck Creek and Plaster Creek Watersheds. Refer to this map for more information.

Registration for spring sampling was required by Monday, April 10th. You can still sign up to keep up to date on future opportunities.

Stream Keepers Sign UP

Complete the following form to register for our Stream Keeper training workshops and data collection opportunities.

This is the best way to stay in touch for future opportunities!
Please add your pronouns so WMEAC staff and other Stream Keepers may address you correctly. If you are interested in learning more why pronouns are important please visit: gLsen.org/activity/pronouns-guide-gLsen
What events are you interested in attending?(Required)
Please select any (or all) events you plan on attending. Registration will close Wednesday, April 10th.
All WMEAC waders are in men's sizes which is about 1.5 sizes larger than women's shoes.
Do you have prior experience with macroinvertebrate sampling or identification?(Required)
If you are unsure which watershed you live in, you can visit: https://www.lgrow.org/watershedmap
Examples could include a local park or school, property or bridge with stream access, etc.
Would you like to be added to our volunteer e-newsletter about other opportunities to volunteer with WMEAC?(Required)
This is the best way to stay up-to-date and get involved!

Thank you to our community partners & sponsors

Plaster Creek Stewards
Grand Rapids Water Protectors
Friends of Buck Creek
Office of Equity and Engagement - City of Grand Rapids
Erhardt Construction