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Citizen scientists
(pg 3 of 3)

Citizens of all ages can contribute scientific information to improve management of water resources and habitats. A small, rare fish, the Topeka shiner, was surprisingly found in a landlocked, manmade pool by an 11-year old budding scientist, Nick McClure. The Topeka shiner has been eliminated from most of its range leaving only isolated populations. This colorful little fish is state-listed as a species of special concern, and is a candidate for federal listing as an endangered species.

Because it is a headwaters species, in order to recolonize it must swim down one reach and then travel back up another, a difficult task. Fisheries researchers would not have surveyed this pond in search of the species, but thanks to Nick's sharp eye and scientific mind, the unique discovery was reported.

Many other citizens are surveying and monitoring other wildlife, such as the loon monitoring program and the frog and toad survey.

People who would like to check streams weekly can work on the Citizen Stream Monitoring Program with the water-quality experts at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Each volunteer checks a designated stream for transparency, appearance, suitability for recreation, and precipitation. This data helps the agency better understand how local land use is affecting water quality. Interested? Check out www.pca.state.mn.us/water/csmp.html.

There is also an active Citizen Lake Monitoring Program for people who enjoy working on lakes. For more information, see www.pca.state.mn.us/water/clmp.html.

Topeka shiner
See Nick McClure and a Topeka Shiner
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Shop smart
Go native
Farmers and food
Citizen scientists
Vital volunteers
Save energy
Reduce waste
Students of the stream
Innovative designs
Think big thoughts
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