Eight communities receive last of DEQ water quality monitoring grants

aboutDEQ_480120_7The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded over $300,000 in water quality grants to eight universities, local governments and nonprofit organizations across the state.

One of the grants is going to the Clinton Conservation District in Clinton County, to track E.coli contamination in the Upper Maple River using canines.

Alyssa Riley is an Aquatic Biologist at the DEQ. She said the dogs are trained to track human sources of E. coli.

“They will collect water quality samples and run source tracking to determine the source if its goose or human and then they can use the dogs to target where the human sources of E. coli are,” Riley said.

Another of the grants is going to the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. It plans to use the money to monitor E. coli and the presence of bacteria in Mitchell Creek in Grand Traverse County.

Sarah U’Ren is the program director at the Watershed Center. She said it’s important to monitor Mitchell Creek because it enters Lake Michigan near a beach frequented by tourists.

“We would be getting elevated readings of bacteria, specifically E. coli at Traverse City State Park and Mitchell Creek outlets right next to that park,” U’Ren said. “So that’s when we began looking at Mitchell Creek, specifically E. coli, to determine if that was the source of the elevated readings we were seeing at the beach.”

David Karpovich is the Director of the Saginaw Bay Environmental Science institute at Saginaw Valley State University. He said the grant will go towards efforts in Bad Axe Creek in Huron County.

“It’s known to have high bacteria, E. coli and also phosphorus levels and it’s known to be a major source of those impairments to the Pinnebog River,” Karpovich said, “so this will identify where the problems are because right now it isn’t clear.”

Karpovich works alongside Tami Sivy Bio-Chemistry Professor at the university on the project.

SVSU received the largest chunk of the grants.

Riley said the grants are important to ensure bodies of water the DEQ cannot get to during the year is addressed.

“We can’t get around to every water body every year and so its a way for us to work with the locals to address their sources of water that are near them,” she said.

The funding is being provided by the Clean Michigan Initiative-Clean Water Fund.

Riley said that fund, however, is now empty which means this will be the last round of water quality grants unless the fund is replenished.


DEQ Water Quality Grants