Indian Mill Creek, an urban watershed of the Grand River in Kent County, MI, is on the 303(d) list of impaired water bodies because of degraded fish communities. A survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ 2011) found the lower part of Indian Mill Creek contained a fish community that was dominated by white suckers and contained only 36 individuals that were captured by electrofishing. This section of the stream was not meeting the cold water fisheries designation even though the benthic community and habitat scores were acceptable. Upper reaches of the stream contained > 100 individuals that were 4% salmonid and met the cold water fisheries designated use. The source of the impairment was not identified in the survey.
Students from CA Frost Environmental Academy are actively engaged in monitoring the Indian Mill Creek and its tributary, Brandywine Creek. They installed leaf packs at Richmond Park and at a crossing on 6 Mile Road. After a few weeks, these bundles of leaves will become home to many different species of bugs in the creek. The bugs living in the stream can tell us how clean the water is. Some, like black fly larvae, are very tolerant to pollution. Others, such as mayflies and stoneflies, are very sensitive to pollution and can only be found in healthy streams. Students will identify the macroinvertebrates and then compare the water quality of the two locations.