App notifies road commissions of hazards to rivers

Michigan

NEWAYGO, Mich. (WOOD) — Cars drive over them, fish swim beneath them and everything that happens in between can become problematic at times. 

Road-stream crossings, one often closely impacts the other. Trout Unlimited has developed a new app that can help both the river and the road with your help.

Collecting useful information for researchers has been simplified. All you need is a smart phone, an app and a geo-stamped picture.

The app is called Survey123 for ArcGIS. A survey within called RIVERS is where the data collection happens.

“If folks have a tool where they can effectively document and share issues, those issues are more likely to be addressed and more likely to be addressed in a reasonable timeframe,” said Trout Unlimited Eastern Angler Science Coordinator Jake Lemon. “It’s up to, often, up to citizens to alert authorities when these types of issues are occurring.”

The app only simplifies the reporting process and it’s already led to change in Newaygo County.

“Our reaction time really is, really dependent on how soon the public gets to us,” Newaygo County Road Commission Managing Director Kelly Smith explained. “We’re up on the road. So, we see the impact that washouts, rain events, traffic and just basic use have on the roads. Unless we’re made aware of the impact our roads are having on those habitats, we’re really not aware.”

The quicker issues like pollution, river blockages and erosion are addressed, the safer the roadway and river will be.

Smith explained how the app helps reduce the report time. 

“It lessens them having to call multiple agencies to find out who are they supposed to contact, but also it streamlines us getting notified,” Smith said. “Things like these are a tremendous resource because we all have cause and effect on environment and can be better stewards.”

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