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Shakey Water Sentinels Info

Sulfide Mining Baseline Water Monitoring: Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Come join us! 

Announcing Fall 2009 Water Monitoring by Shakey River Sentinels, Stephenson, Menominee County

Help Wanted Friday October 2 from Noon to 4pm & Saturday October 3 from 9am to 3pm !


· Bug collecting teams needed for the 7 stream sites
· Base camp bug pickers/identifiers needed
We will meet at N9710 River Rd.
Come both days or come for only one. Stay all day or stay as long as you are able.  PLEASE COME AND HELP!

We must continue to develop baseline data for our streams if they are to be protected. It will only happen with your help.

Contact Ron Henriksen (906-753-2966) or Keith West if you can help out in any way.


The Shakey River Sentinels need your help on autumn water monitoring days in streams west of Stephenson, Michigan, to collect baseline water quality information.  Equipment and training are provided, no experience is needed. 

Background:  In 2006 the Shakey River Sentinels began a new water monitoring project in Menominee County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The Shakey River flows to the Menominee River (which flows to Lake Michigan north of Green Bay), and is under threat from future mining for zinc and gold from sulfide ores, which chemically react to form sulfuric acid when exposed to air and water.  The ore body is situated close to the ground surface, and it plunges deep into the ground, too, so that a mine may need to be both an open pit and a deep underground mine, increasing risks from exposure to rain and snow.

The water monitoring involves the collection, identification and counting of benthic macroinvertebrates, various water-dwelling spineless organisms such as mayfly larvae, stonefly larvae, craneflies, scuds, and many others, all large enough to see without magnifying.  Many of them are familiar to fly anglers.  Benthic means they live and gather food from the bottom of streams.  In 2007 we implemented the project quality assurance plan in full, and grew the number of sites to 7.  Our data are available on the Michigan Clean Water Corps website, just enter “Menominee” in the county pull-down box.

Why do water quality monitoring when faced with a sulfide mine? Baseline water quality monitoring should be conducted early in the process because it's important for affected residents and citizens to know more about the watershed than the MDEQ, and more than the mining company and their consultants.  Here in Michigan, sometimes the MDEQ will use mining company (or other corporate) data as a surrogate for their own, so even the agency accepts company data with very few questions.  When citizens conduct their own monitoring, they're better equipped to scrutinize reports and permit applications, and they will better recognize water quality problems when they occur.  Contact Conservation Director Anne Woiwode to learn more. 

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