(Benthic Macroinvertebrate Monitoring)
What is a Bug Hunt?
Do you ever wonder about what lives in the river besides fish and turtles? Come to one of our Rouge River Bug Hunts and see for yourself the amazing variety of aquatic insects, crayfish, snails and clams (technically known as benthic macroinvertebrates: animals without a backbone that live in the streambed) that make up the bottom of the river food chain.
Volunteers visit sites throughout the headwaters of the watershed and search for mayflies, stoneflies and other aquatic invertebrates. The presence or absence of these streambed creatures reflects the quality of the water and habitat.
Friends of the Rouge has been managing this program since 1998. We recently learned that our past funding source will not be able to continue in 2018. If you would like to support this program, visit our fundraising page. Since learning of this in December 2017, we have raised over $3050 from individuals as well as major support from Washtenaw County Water Resources Commission, Waste Management and the Erb Family Foundation.
How do I volunteer?
Bug Hunts are held in April and October. No prior experience is necessary but you do need to pre-register to be assigned to a team. Children five and older are welcome when accompanied by a participating adult. Groups of six or less can sign up together.
Once you have attended one event, you might consider increasing your level of involvement by attending training and learn to assist a team at future events.
What is a Stonefly Search?
In the winter we hold a Stonefly Search that is similar to the Bug Hunts except we only look for one type of bug. Stoneflies are very sensitive aquatic insects that hatch from streams in winter.
Friends of the Rouge volunteers have been collecting data on benthic macroinvertebrates (“bugs”) since 1998. We use protocols and forms developed by the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) for Stream Monitoring. MiCorps is the organization that oversees volunteer monitoring for the state of Michigan.
We have 143 sites (view a map of sites). Most sites are sampled every season for three years and then sampled on a rotating basis every few years. Wayne County Department of Public Works Water Quality Management Division samples additional sites and provides the data to FOTR. Schoolcraft College also monitoring a site on their campus.
Check out our map of sites.