Gathering Samples, Collecting Data, Building Knowledge

Our Chemistry and Flow Program is conducted for organizations and municipalities in the Middle Huron Partners, Livingston Watershed Advisory Group (WAG) and the Alliance of Downriver Watersheds (ADW) to better understand nutrient and contaminant loading dynamics in the Huron River Watershed. The program also aims to identify pollutant loading hot spots and evaluate collective progress of best management practices designed to minimize stormwater-related impairments. Our long-term goal for this program is to evaluate progress toward improving overall water quality within the Huron River Watershed.

Learn About Chemistry and Flow Monitoring volunteer opportunities and sign up here.

Click here for Chemistry and Flow Volunteer Resources

The Chemistry and Flow Monitoring Program was developed in response to community interest in increasing the data available on nutrient contributions to the Huron River and its lakes and tributaries. The data are intended to lead to a better understanding of pollution from non-point and stormwater sources in subdrainages of the watershed. An improved understanding of sources helps our community partners in the Middle Huron Partners, Livingston WAG, and ADW focus and track pollution reduction efforts as they strive to meet pollution limits in Ford, Belleville, Strawberry, Brighton, and Ore lakes, as well as bacteria limits for sections of the river and Honey Creek.

Our Chemistry and Flow Monitoring Program is designed to complement monitoring conducted by municipalities, universities, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and others. The sites are sampled for nutrients, bacteria and background chemistry twice monthly from April to September. Data are collected from stream locations that facilitate the establishment of relationships between land cover and ecological stream health.

Our extensive monitoring program takes place in the Upper, Middle, and Lower sections of the watershed. For more information on each of these sections and what we are doing in each one, dive in here.

Chemistry and Flow Monitoring Sites

The Program began with monitoring in the Middle Huron as a 2002 field season pilot, during which only six sites and four months were studied. In 2003, four additional sites were added to the program and all ten sites were studied for five months. In 2007, storm events were targeted at four sites (Allens, Traver, Malletts and Swift Run), where fixed water level sensors were established. This was done to provide additional data on nutrient conditions during high-flow events. At the end of 2008, two additional sites were added in Livingston County to provide an upstream comparison with another nutrient-enriched watershed. With the addition of grants from EGLE, more frequent site visits and storm monitoring were added, as well as sampling of “investigative” sites to identify potential pollutant hot spots. Storm monitoring is being conducted thanks to the donation of an autosampler by the City of Ann Arbor.

The Program expanded throughout the Chain of Lakes area (Livingston County) in August 2010, during which 8 sites were added. Storm monitoring is being conducted thanks to the donation of an autosampler by the Livingston County Drain Commissioner’s Office. The program continues with funding from the Livingston WAG. In 2012, the program is expanding to the ADW in Wayne County, with assistance from Wayne County environmental staff and direct funding from the ADW.

Program Partners

Realization of the monitoring program requires ample resources, from providing volunteer training and coordination to analyzing water samples and entering and interpreting the results. Many friends of the Huron River dedicated their time, expertise and equipment to the project. The Program team is grateful for the generous contributions from the following partners who enabled the continuation and growth of this important research and stewardship program.

  • City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant provides analysis of all water samples for Washtenaw County monitoring.
  • South Huron Valley Utility Authority provides analysis of all water samples for Wayne County monitoring.
  • City of Brighton Wastewater Treatment Plant provides analysis of all water samples for Livingston County monitoring.
  • Livingston County Drain Commissioner’s Office provided field equipment.
  • University of Michigan, Occupational Safety and Environmental Health Department provided sample containers through 2005.
  • Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority previously provided analysis of water samples for Wayne County monitoring.
  • Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority in Wyandotte previously provided analysis of water samples for Wayne County monitoring.

Data & Reports

Washtenaw County:

Wayne County:

For past reports, please visit our Resource Library or contact Kelly McCabe.


The Chemistry and Flow Monitoring Program is currently funded by local government agencies working together towards watershed management through the Middle Huron Partners, Livingston WAG and ADW.

The program was previously funded from 2010 through 2011 as part of a TMDL Implementation Planning grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, through EGLE’s Storm Water Program.

More Information

For addition information, contact Kelly McCabe at