Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program

Contact: Marcy Knoll Wilmes 517-342-4348

Citizen-based volunteer monitoring has been a long-term element in Michigan's inland lakes monitoring history.  The Self-Help program was initiated in 1974.  This program was expanded in 1992 in cooperation with the Michigan Lake and Stream Association, Inc. and renamed the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP).  The CLMP continues as a foundation program under the recently formed Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps), Michigan's volunteer surface water monitoring network.

The primary purpose of the CLMP is to help citizen volunteers monitor indicators of water quality in their lake and to document changes in lake quality over time.  The CLMP is a cost-effective process for the DEQ to increase the baseline data available for Michigan's inland lakes as well as to establish a continuous data record for determining water quality trends in lakes.  The CLMP goals are:

  • To measure baseline water quality and document water quality trends on participating lakes. 
  • To educate the public in lake ecology, lake management practices and in procedures for collecting water quality data. 
  • To build public support for lake quality protection and to encourage sound lake management practices. 
  • To increase baseline water quality data for inland lakes statewide

The CLMP provides volunteers with sampling methods, training, workshops, technical support, quality control, and laboratory assistance to monitor lakes for indicators of nutrient enrichment and lake productivity.  CLMP volunteers monitor for water clarity, total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen and temperature, and aquatic plants.  Long-term monitoring of these parameters on a consistent and regular basis provides the data needed to recognize changes in lake productivity. 

Data collected in the CLMP are stored in the Data Exchange Network on the MiCorps web-site.  Annual data summary reports are prepared by the DEQ and its CLMP partners. 

Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) 

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) was created in 2003 through an executive order by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm to assist the DEQ in collecting and sharing water quality data for use in water resources management and protection programs.  The DEQ contracted with the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) to assist in establishing MiCorps.  The GLC is partnering with the Huron River Watershed Council and Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc. to develop, implement, and administer MiCorps, under the direction of the DEQ and with the advice of a steering committee.  The mission of MiCorps is to network and expand volunteer water quality monitoring organizations statewide for the purpose of collecting, sharing, and using reliable data; educate and inform the public about water quality issues; and foster water resources stewardship to facilitate the preservation and protection of Michigan's water resources.  MiCorps builds upon existing volunteer monitoring programs established by the DEQ, including the CLMP and the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program.  The program solicits, organizes, and trains volunteers around the state to participate in water quality monitoring activities.  The program provides training for the CLMP and Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program; disseminates methods for accurate data collection; implements effective quality assurance practices; facilitates data reporting and information sharing on-line; and provides a forum for communication and support among volunteer monitoring groups in Michigan. 

Related Links 

Annual CLMP Summary Reports
Individual Lake Reports
MiCorps: Michigan Clean Water Corps 
Lake Monitoring: The Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program
CLMP Monitoring Procedures and Documents 
Become a Volunteer 
MiCorps Data Exchange 
MSU Report - Monitoring and Predicting Concentrations of Cyanobacterial Toxins in Michigan Lakes 
EPA Volunteer Monitoring Home Page 
The Great American Secchi Dip-In 
Michigan Lakes and Streams Association (MLSA) 
MSU Extension 
Michigan Sea Grant Extension 
Understanding Lake Data 
Understanding Lake Ecology