Training and Outreach

The IWR offers various training sessions, workshops, demonstrations, and webinars to help groups understand issues such as but not limited to invasive species, lake management, nonpoint source pollution, surface-groundwater interactions, low impact practices, and harmful algal blooms. Below are select training and outreach materials from some of these activities. You will also find training materials on how to use our various online tools.

Developing a Volunteer Monitoring Program

DSCN0579This online training module was developed with funding from the Great Lakes Regional Water Program through a grant from the National Institute on Food and Agriculture. It is freely accessible to the public and may be  taken at your own pace. The course covers the following:

1. An Introduction to Developing a Volunteer Water Monitoring Program
2. Setting Goals and Objectives
3. Understanding Elements of Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) Protocols
4. Recruiting and Training Volunteers
5. Collecting Reliable Data
6. Data Collection, Analysis and Data Management
7. Evaluating the Success of Your Program

Go to the modules

Effective Social Media for Great Lakes Organizations

This online social media series was created in coordination with partners at the University of Michigan School of Information as part of the Great Lakes Clean Communities Network (GLCCN), supported by the Great Lakes Protection Fund. It was designed specifically with non-profit organizations in mind and contains a wealth of information about how organizations can become more effective and efficient with bringing far-reaching attention to their environmental and conservation efforts using social media.

Watch the social media video series

Winter Maintenance for Michigan Roads


The Great Lakes Regional Water Program provided funding to develop a winter maintenance handbook and training program for Michigan. The Michigan program is based off of successful efforts in Minnesota. The handbook and training cover topics such as salt and snow storage, anti-icing, de-icing, calibration, chemical processes, integrating liquids into your winter maintenance program, Michigan success stories, and environmental protection. The handbook and training materials are available for download using the link below.

Learn more about winter maintenance in Michigan

Edge of Field Monitoring

The Institute of Water Research helped coordinate a webinar to review the NRCS Edge of Field Monitoring program. The webinar featured speakers from the Michigan NRCS Office and Wisconsin USGS Science Center. A recording of the webinar is below, in addition to reference documents.

Edge of Field (EOF) Monitoring Webinar

EOF Monitoring Watershed Map

EOF Water Quality Data (201)

EOF Water Quality System (202)

EOF Presentations (PDF)

IWR Online Tools Training

This section contains various training materials for our online tools including manuals, presentations, online videos and tutorials.



eWatershed (formerly ELUCID) is one of our Watershed Analysis tools. The most recent system was developed for the Flint River Watershed through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project funded by the EPA. Several training sessions were held for field staff, watershed professionals and other stakeholders involved with the project. Use the links below to download copies of these training materials.

Download the Flint eWatershed tutorial or training presentation.

Download the Flint middle school lesson activity.

Download a white paper about the Flint eWatershed system.

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Great Lakes Watershed Management System (GLWMS)

The Great Lakes Watershed Management System (GLWMS) is one of our decision support tools and allows you to model BMP or land cover change scenarios on the fly. Through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project funded by the EPA, the IWR was able to hold training sessions on the Great Lakes Watershed Management System (GLWMS) in May 2014. Materials from these activities are available below. Materials are also available from a 2015 training session as part of the Saginaw Bay Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Finally, the video provides an overview of how the GLWMS has been used by the Gratiot County Conservation District and contains a live demonstration from March 2015.

Additional training opportunities may be available by The Nature Conservancy in coordination with the Michigan Agri-Business Association and the IWR through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program project funded by the USDA NRCS.

Download the 2014 GLWMS tutorial or presentation.

Download the 2015 RCPP GLWMS quick guide or presentation.

Watch a GLWMS demonstration by the Gratiot County Conservation District

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High Impact Targeting (HIT)

High Impact Targeting (HIT) is one of our decision support tools that examines erosion and sediment loading across the entire Great Lakes Basin.

With support provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Detroit District, the IWR developed training materials for HIT as part of a joint project with the Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University. Download these materials below.

The USACE Buffalo District is currently providing training on HIT through their Sediment Transport Analysis and Regional Training (START) program. If you are interested in hosting or participating in one of these training sessions, please contact Michael Voorhees at

Download the manual or glossary.

Download the presentation.

Watch the video tutorial series.

Sensitive Areas Identification System (SAIS)

The Michigan Sensitive Areas Identification System (SAIS) is an online mapping and reporting tool that identifies and maps sensitive areas on farm fields. This online system can be used by producers to assist in identifying ecologically sensitive areas that may be prone to soil erosion by wind or water, leaching of nutrients, or other risk factors. A training was offered in the summer of 2016. Training and other materials are available below. This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 68-5D21-15-22.

Download the 2016 quick guide and presentation.

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Social Indicators Data Management and Analysis (SIDMA)

The Social Indicators Data Management and Analysis (SIDMA) system is a powerful surveying tool to assess social indicators. This online project management aid, developed as part of the Social Indicators Planning and Evaluation System (SIPES) project, allows users to easily create surveys with vetted questions, and analyze and compare results.

With support from the EPA Region 5 and the Great Lakes Regional Water Program, the IWR developed a ten-part online tutorial series on how to use SIDMA, available here. Topics covered include developing and customizing surveys,  inputting responses, and analyzing and comparing response data.

Download the SIPES handbook.

Watch the video tutorial series.

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