Michigan Creates Volunteer Corps to Monitor Waterways

What do you do if you’re a budget-strapped state with no money to pay for water-quality monitoring? Sign up the seventh graders, of course. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) signed an executive order this week to create the Clean Water Corps, which will enlist volunteers, some of them students, to help the state’s Department of Environmental Quality monitor the status of lakes, rivers, and streams. “The DEQ simply lacks the resources to go it alone,” said department chief Steven Chester. Cyndi Roper, director of the Michigan environmental organization Clean Water Action & Clean Water Fund, sees the corps as a mixed blessing. “It’s always good to get citizens involved in monitoring and protecting local waterways,” she said — but not at the expense of making funds for water protection a state priority.