LANSING — State Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) introduced a bill today to establish CrowdHydrology citizen science in Michigan. The program would engage the public in water-surface monitoring using stream staff gauges in the state’s watersheds. The bill, House Bill 4402, will help encourage the installation of staff gauges, which are often costly and difficult to obtain a permit for, by allowing them to be placed in Michigan’s watersheds without a permit.

“I am proud to take up the fight to bring CrowdHydrology to the Great Lakes State, especially as we celebrate World Water Day today,” said Lasinski. “This legislation, which was originally spearheaded by my predecessor, state Rep. Gretchen Driskell, will not require any state money to implement, and will allow the public to be more engaged in protecting our environment by gathering data to measure our state’s water levels and understanding watershed patterns.”

CrowdHydrology is an interactive program that partners with the U.S. Geological Survey to allow for the collection of hydrology-related data around the country. Staff gauges are placed in inland lakes, streams and creeks, as well as in high-traffic parks or along hiking trails. Each gauge instructs passersby to send the current water height via text message to a number listed on the gauge.

“By encouraging Michigan residents to be citizen scientists, we not only become more aware of our own ecosystem, but we increase our understanding of the nature that surrounds us,” said Lasinski. “It is important that we all take part in caring for our environment, and I believe bringing CrowdHydrology to Michigan is a strong step toward preserving it for future generations.”