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In this paper, we propose MICRO (MInimum cost routing with optimized data fusion), an energy-efficient routing protocol for event-driven dense wireless sensor networks. The proposed routing protocol is an improvement over PEGASIS, which exploits a new cost function for energy balancing among sensor nodes and uses an iterative scheme with optimized data fusions to compute the minimum-cost route for each event-detecting sensor node. Compared to the previously suggested PEGASIS routing protocol, the MICRO protocol substantially improves the energy-efficiency of each route by optimizing the trade-off between minimizing the total energy consumption of each route and balancing the energy state of each sensor node. It is demonstrated that the MICRO protocol is able to outperform the LEACH and the PEGASIS protocols with respect to network lifetime by 100 - 300% and 10 - 100%, respectively.