(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
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
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.