Five citizen groups and school classes in suburban Maryland are among 14 area groups to receive special small grants through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government (COG) to get more people involved in cleaning up the region's rivers and streams.

The groups received average grants of $300 from the Environmental Protection Agency to help focus attention on COG's efforts to improve water quality here. Winners were selected by a citizen participation subcommittee of COG's Water Resources Citizen Advisory Committee, which advises COG on water quality and water supply projects.

The following Nature Center and Lathrop Smith Environmental Education Center in Derwood, Md., will use the grant for an interpretive display along the center's near a model of an old-fashioned covered bridge, emphasizes the need to work together to improve water quality and restore out water resources.

The Neighborhoods Uniting Project in Brentwood received the grant for a program aimed at cleaning up the area's water resources in the project's 12-town community. In addition to water conservation, the project included a hike along the C&O Canal to encourage elementary and junior high school students to see first hand the extent of pollution of the Canal and Potomac River. A visit to Lightship Chesapeake is also planned to view the condition of the water and learn how to take water quality samples. Young people in the community also viewed films on water quality and conservation.

Project R.I.S.E. (Rockville Institute for Science Enrichment) of the Rockville Department of Recreation received a grant to purchase equipment to measure biochemical oxygen demand in community fresh water. The equipment was used by Rockville teenagers and their parents. The funds were also used to help prepare a "living" display, with 80 gallons of water and turtles and fish, of student-collected data from the study.

The Seneca Valley High School Conservation Club in Germantown received a grant for water and soil testing equipment and a field day at the Little Bennett Regional Park, where club members have worked to improve the environment. Club members will conduct water tests and explain results.

The Upper Rock Creek Civic Association was given a grant for preserving the water quality of Upper Rock Creek by measuring the ability of trout to spawn and survive there. The project will involve Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Future Farmers of America and 4H Club members in developing a stream management program. Other organizations will be contacted to train survey teams, which will be assisted by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Maryland Department of Fish and Game. In the fall, the data will be refined and analyzed by adult members of the association, assisted by school science teachers and students who collected the data.

Cub Scout dens throughout the metropolitan area have also participated in the environmental awareness program by visiting their nearest body of water to observe its condition and making recommendations to their local park district or authority.