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      Water quality grants available

      The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says it will award $250,000 in grants for water quality monitoring projects.

      Local government agencies and nonprofit groups are eligible to apply for grants. Projects that get funding must be for areas other than beaches.

      The department also plans to divide up $50,000 into grants for volunteer stream monitoring. The program is offered under MiCorps, a statewide network of volunteer monitoring groups.

      Participants study benthic invertebrates, which are animals without backbones such as insects, snails and crayfish found on stream bottoms. They also keep an eye on habitat characteristics in streams and rivers suitable for wading.

      Data collected by the volunteers helps state and local officials protect water resources.