What is Organic Matter in Water?
Organic matter naturally enters water bodies when leaves fall, trees die and fall in, or when spring and falls heavy flows pull material in from the banks. In water, organic matter such as leaves and twigs make homes for macroinvetebrates (insects that live in water), which are the food sources for many fish species. The macroinvertebrates help to break down the leaves by tearing them and eating pieces. This helps the process of decomposition along. For decomposition of the remaining pieces of organic material to happen there needs to be bacteria present. Bacteria break down the matter and use oxygen to make their processes work. Organic matter can enter waterways in unnatural forms as well. When grass clippings or leaves get into storm drains, they directly enter water bodies. Often these grass clippings and leaves are from plants that do not naturally occur in Michigan, therefore making it difficult for macroinvertebrates and bacteria to break them down. If pet waste is not properly