Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve established a Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) with the help from volunteer Chauncey Moran for the Yellow Dog River Watershed in 2004 and it continues to run today. In 2012, we joined the Michigan Clean Water Corps aka MiCorps and created another VSMP for the adjacent Salmon Trout River Watershed.

The VSMP program incorporates: volunteer participation, stream habitat assessment, macroinvertebrate collection, and ultimately our biological assesment results in a stream quality score. The stream quality score can be used in combination with chemical analysis to thoroughly assess water quality and identify impacts on the ground. The program runs twice a year for both watersheds and we are always looking for interested volunteers. No special skills or prior knowledge are necessary. Our staff will be delighted to train you.

Since our assessment of the Yellow Dog River began, we have continuously seen high total stream quality scores for the Yellow Dog River. Occasionally, inputs of sediment from washed out roads or culverts cause the total stream quality scores to drop. In those cases YDWP identifies the cause and reaches out to stakeholders, landowners, or decision-makers to address the issue. Likewise, the total stream quality scores for the Salmon Trout River have been high since 2012, indicating pure water, and sufficient habitats for sensitive species. We will continue to run the programs indefinitely with support from member donations.