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All wet? Volunteers are needed to keep an eye on health of marshes

Volunteers throughout Michigan are being recruited to monitor marsh bird and amphibian populations as part of a unique bi-national research program.

Since 1995, trained volunteer citizen scientists have been monitoring bird and amphibian trends in Great Lakes marshes under the direction of the Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP), a research program of Bird Studies Canada. Through the work of volunteers, the MMP provides valuable information on population trends and wildlife and habitat recovery to government, research and policy groups.

An initiative of the MMP is to further develop monitoring in Areas of Concern (AOC)—areas with environmental degradation affecting its beneficial use—to provide species and population information to AOC committees. The goal is improving environmental quality and delisting these sites. To accomplish this, the MMP, with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is seeking enthusiastic and motivated individuals to become volunteer surveyors and regional coordinators in Michigan regions, including: Detroit River (Detroit area), Rouge River (Holland/Grand Rapids area), St. Clair River (Port Huron/Marysville/St. Clair), and Saginaw Bay (Saginaw area); and other AOCs in the Great Lakes Basin.

Local volunteer coordinators provide not only local knowledge but also context and passion to monitoring activities in their area. Coordinators may be professional biologists, educators or amateur naturalists with an interest in conserving wetlands and their bird and amphibian inhabitants. Regional coordinators are trained by MMP staff to recruit volunteers, organize and lead training workshops, and provide mentoring and assistance to volunteers as needed.

If interested in participating in the MMP as a coordinator, contact Ryan Archer at rarcher@bsc-eoc.org, or to become a volunteer surveyor, contact Kathy Jones at aqsurvey@bsc-eoc.org. Visit the website at www.birdscanada.org/mmpmain.html.
RELATED TOPICS: water protection
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