313.792.9900 | Fax: 313.593.0231
Photo of a Ray of Light while canoeing on the Rouge River

Welcome to Friends of the Rouge, an effort on the River's Behalf

Welcome to Friends of the Rouge, an effort on the River's Behalf

Friends of the Rouge has been working to promote restoration and stewardship of the Rouge River watershed for 30 years. We invite you to join us and get involved in our programs and projects.

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Johnson and Tonquish Creeks

Simple Steps for Clean Creeks—Cut Pollution With a Survey

Simple Steps for Clean Creeks—Cut Pollution With a Survey

Live in Plymouth, Canton, Northville, Salem, or Westland? Invest 15 minutes of your time today by taking our survey to improve water quality in Johnson and Tonquish Creeks. Your response helps promote a clean, healthy Rouge River.

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Photo of shipping at Benson Ford by Phil Szanto

Ecosystem of the Rouge River ~ diverse and vibrant

Ecosystem of the Rouge River ~ diverse and vibrant

The Rouge River Watershed drains 467 square miles. It has four major branches with 126 river miles and numerous tributaries. There are over 1.35 million people in 48 municipalities.

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rouge rescue

Our Services

Friends of the Rouge in ACTION

Rouge Rescue

Rouge Education Project

River Restoration

River Monitoring

Rouge River Water Trail

Our annual river clean up

Starting in 1986, volunteers removed large quantities of trash from the river. As sites improved, public perception shifted from the river as an open sewer and a place to dump trash to its restoration, including invasive plants removal, installation of native plantings, and stabilization of stream banks.

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School-based environmental education

We involve elementary, middle, and high schools from across southeastern Michigan. Students learn about the Rouge River in class, and then perform hands-on scientific exploration of the river on a field trip to its banks. They are encouraged to take action to restore and protect the river.

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How we care for the land

How we care for the land impacts water quality in our local lakes and rivers. The River Restoration program teaches residents of the watershed how to manage their land to improve water quality and to provide wildlife habitat through hands-on projects and educational events.

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Residents become citizen scientists

This program engages residents to become citizen scientists, collecting data about the health of the watershed through biological indicator species (bugs, frogs, fish, etc.) that reflect the long-term health of the watershed. As water quality improves, bugs frogs and fish are returning.

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Along 25 miles of the Lower Rouge

FOTR is currently working with local partners to develop a water trail on 25 miles of the Lower Rouge from Canton to the Detroit River. Much of the river corridor is protected within Wayne County Parks, making it ideal for the development of launches and amenities.

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Volunteer to Make a Difference

Friends of the Rouge began as a volunteer organization, so volunteerism sits at the core of mission to serve the Rouge River watershed.

Become a Member

Be part of the legacy. Support the vital work we do by helping us meet critical milestones for programs that make a lasting impact of the Rouge River watershed’s health.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Get involved! Support our diverse programs through sponsorships that have the power to make real and lasting change for the health of the Rouge River watershed!

Networking to Build Community

Our community stakeholders, partners, and alliances make our watershed healthier! Thank you to all who make a difference by caring about the Rouge River.

Financial Transparency

We adhere to all federal and state regulations, produce annual financial audits, submit all reporting documents in a timely manner with clear accounting methods and record keeping.


Curious about something in the Rouge? We may already have an answer to commonly asked questions regarding our organization or the watershed. Check out our FAQs HERE.

FOTR Happenings

Free Press Marathon

Detroit Free Press Marathon 40th Anniversary October 13-15, 2017 Friends of the Rouge charity partner Once you choose Friends of the Rouge as your...
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Voices for the Rouge

  • Guardian - BOSCH logo
  • Guardian - Erb Family Foundation logo
  • Guardian - LUSCH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics logo
  • Protector - ITC logo
  • Protector - Dresner Foundation logo
  • Protector - GM logo
  • Steward - ADS logo
  • Steward - Consumers Energy Foundation logo
  • Advocate - MAEP logo
  • Advocate - Norfolk Southern logo