Protecting our Water: Friends of the Shiawassee River

Protecting our Water: Friends of the Shiawassee River

With over 36,000 miles of rivers and streams running throughout the state, Michigan is known for its plentiful freshwater and recreation opportunities. Over the years, many citizens and local groups have taken it upon themselves to serve as caretakers to protect these precious freshwater resources.  One such group is the Friends of the Shiawassee River (FOSR), which has been doing excellent work for over 20 years.

The mission of the FOSR is to help the community care, share, and enjoy the Shiawassee River.  The FOSR is committed to improving the environment, promoting the responsible use of, and enhancing the appreciation of the Shiawassee River throughout its watershed.  The FOSR is a nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors and supported by a dedicated group of volunteers and generous donors. 

Merit Laboratories is a proud supporter of the FOSR, donating analytical laboratory testing services for drinking water samples for local residents and sponsoring the FOSR newsletter. Michael Goergen, President at Merit Laboratories, volunteers his time as a board member with the group.  

The FOSR is always looking for volunteers that share in the group’s commitment to the Shiawassee River.  There are several ways to volunteer, including:

  • River Clean-Ups: Community volunteers and members remove trash and debris found in and along the river.
  • Stream Monitoring Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling: There are six upcoming dates in late April and early May. With an emphasis on collecting high-quality data, groups of volunteers from around the watershed are trained to collect samples of benthic macro-invertebrates (water bugs). The data collected each year builds a long-term record that assists local and state governments, research institutions, and other community organizations gain a better sense of river health and to recognize pollution problems.
  • Invasive Species Removal: Specifically focused on the removal of invasive species that pose a threat to the river's ecosystem, including Garlic Mustard.
  • Planting Events: Encouraging reforestation of the Shiawassee riverbanks by increasing the amount of vegetation buffers along streams and ditches through community tree planting events. The increased vegetation along the river helps reduce sedimentation and nutrient loss, while improving water quality. 

To learn more about how you can volunteer with the FOSR, please visit the group’s volunteer page or contact them at 989.723.9062.