By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

The recent MLSA webinar on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) featured Lynn Henning, Regional Associate of Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) as one of the presenters about water quality.

Lynn’s presentation featured an overview of the SRAP Water Rangers program that provides invaluable information and tools to document, ground truth, and leverage resources that hold water polluters accountable to state and federal environmental laws. The program can also establish a baseline to assess future changes should they occur.

If you are accepted into the SRAP Water Rangers program, experts will come to your community or meeting with you online, and provide you and your neighbors free training that will include:

  • Training and background on the importance of water monitoring;
  • Training on the proper science-based methods of obtaining and handling water samples to ensure integrity in the sampling;
  • Information and training on using certified labs for testing; and
  • Boots-on-the-ground practical training, which will include using indicator test strips to determine whether more aggressive sampling may be warranted. The focus is on measuring ammonia, phosphates, nitrates, and E coli bacteria.
  • If necessary, guidance can also be provided to develop stream flow rate monitoring.

While MiCorps’ Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) and Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) remain the key monitoring programs for lake and stream riparians, Water Rangers can be a supplemental source of important data. This is especially true if there is a CAFO near you or if your area is being considered for future CAFO operations. Water Rangers can also assist in identifying an animal feeding operation that is operating “under the radar.” For example, Iowa has feeding operations that regulators did not know about and this could be true for Michigan. The program can also develop historical baseline data.

For more information on special water monitoring and the SRAP Water Rangers program, contact Lynn at lynnh@sraproject.org or 517-605-7740. You also can obtain more information at the FAQ page of the SRAP website.

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