by Dr. Jo Latimore
Have you heard of the Secchi Dip-In? Since 1994, it’s been a demonstration of the potential of volunteers to gather environmentally important information on our lakes, rivers, and estuaries. Our Michigan data will be included in this international effort to track changes in water quality.
CLMP volunteers collect water transparency data on nearly 300 Michigan lakes every year using a device called a Secchi disk. This 8″ disk with black and white quadrants is lowered into the water, and volunteers note the depth at which the disk disappears from their view. Changes in water transparency can indicate problems such as pollution, lake bottom disturbance, or nuisance algae growth.
Through cooperation with the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), Secchi transparency data collected by CLMP volunteers will be included in the Secchi Dip-In – and our volunteers won’t have to do anything extra. NALMS staff will access our data through the MiCorps website, and add them to the international collection of Secchi Dip-In data that are added to the Water Quality Portal, which is the public database where federal, state, and tribal agencies and all contribute their data.
In this way, the data that our CLMP volunteers collect will be valued and used by researchers and managers around the world!