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EGLE staffers busy sampling surface waters to assess Michigan's water quality

EGLE biologist sampling for aquatic insectsBiologists, toxicologists, and engineers with EGLE's Water Resources Division (WRD) pull on their waders every summer to assess Michigan's water quality. Staff sample surface waters (lakes and streams) to evaluate their condition, measure trends, gauge restoration projects, and identify emerging water quality problems.

WRD staff are passionate about the work they do and look to improve Michigan waterways one step at a time. Surface water monitoring in 2020 was a busy field season that started in June and ended in September; however, there are some of the programs that sample year-round. Biologists sample Michigan's streams for macroinvertebrates (aquatic bugs) looking for their abundance and diversity to give us clues about the water quality.

In 2020, staff sampled 151 macroinvertebrate sites statewide. In addition to this work, there was water chemistry monitoring (73 sites), harmful algal bloom monitoring (31 sites), E. coli monitoring (123 sites), fish contaminant monitoring (48 sites), PFAS surface water sampling (287 sites), sediment sampling (7 projects) and nutrient expression sampling in rivers (9 sites) and lakes (12 sites). That's 741 locations in one summer!

Photo caption: EGLE biologist sampling for aquatic insects.

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