Stream Monitoring and Cleanups

MiCorps Volunteer Stream Cleanup Program (VSCP) provides grants to local governments to enable them to host stream cleanups of humans trash (like tires, plastics, and other human caused rubbish.)  The grants pay for equipment, trash pickup, and volunteer appreciation items like food and t-shirts.

MiCorps’ Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) provides grants, technical assistance, and training to volunteer stream monitoring groups in Michigan to ensure that they are collecting reliable, high-quality data. Collectively, these stream monitoring organizations create a network of professionals and volunteers that are spread throughout Michigan.

You are never too far from a MiCorps-affliated group.  There is probably one near you.  They rely on volunteers to get things done! Find stream monitoring groups here:

Trainees review macroinvertebrate with MiCorps leaders at the annual stream monitoring training.

Grant Programs

Learn more about these specific grants by reviewing the Request for Proposal documents at

Stream Clean-up: These grants are under specific constraints as they are funded from Water Quality Specialty License plate from the Michigan Secretary of State. They can only go to local units of governments, and can not pay for staff labor but can pay for equipment, supplies, and other material needs. Clean-ups can only be done on streams, including rivers and creeks of all sizes, and are specific for cleaning up human trash, not for any type of woody debris clearing.  Past funded Cleanup grants are listed here:

Stream Monitoring: The VSMP includes a competitive grants program for macroinvertebrate monitoring and habitat assessment in wadeable streams and rivers. Local units of government and nonprofit entities are eligible to receive grant funding; there are three types of grants available, with a built in progression between them

  • Start-up: These grants are for organizations who seek to learn the MiCorps protocols of monitoring and set themselves up to submit successful Implementation Grant proposals in future years. There is a maximum amount of $5,000 per grant award for one-year projects under this funding area. Past funded Start-up projects are listed here:
  • Implementation: These funds support volunteer training and macroinvertebrate data collection for the purpose of assessing water quality that help state and local efforts to protect and manage water resources. Grants may be used to fund a monitoring coordinator and/or purchase water quality monitoring supplies. There is a maximum dollar amount of $20,000 per grant award for two-year projects under this funding area. Past funded Implementation projects are listed here:
  • Maintenance: These grants are for groups who are already monitoring with MiCorps procedures (and who typically already received an Implementation grant in previous grant cycles.) Funds can pay for staff time, equipment, and travel to MiCorps trainings and conferences, are a maximum of $2,000, and last for eight months. Current quality assurance plans are required to be eligible for this grant. Past funded maintenance grants are listed here:


Volunteers from the Flint River Watershed Coalition identify macroinvertebrates collected during their spring monitoring training session.


Technical Assistance

Stream Monitoring Documents: Visit our stream monitoring documents webpage to find everything you need to get started in volunteer monitoring, including suggested equipment and other tips. More resources on volunteer monitoring can be found throughout the site.

MiCorps-News email list: The MiCorps-News email list is an excellent resource for volunteer monitoring in Michigan. Sign up today to receive news and announcements geared toward volunteer monitoring program leaders, volunteers, and resource professionals on monitoring and water quality issues in Michigan.

Contact Us: MiCorps staff are always available to answer your questions. Feel free to call or email us anytime.

Volunteers from Northern Michigan University collect samples from Dexter Creek in Alger County.

Education and Training

Training Events and Materials: The MiCorps program offers training opportunities for both current and aspiring MiCorps volunteers. The MiCorps stream volunteer training focuses on monitoring stream habitat and macroinvertebrates.

MiCorps Conference: The annual MiCorps conference, typically held in late fall, provides education and training opportunities for volunteer monitors and program leaders.

More Information

Volunteer Stream Monitoring Grant Program Brochure (tri-fold style for 8.5 x 11 paper)

If you have any questions about the grant program or applying for a grant, please contact Paul Steen ( or subscribe to our email list to receive announcements and updates on these grant programs.