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River Restoration

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. 

Riparian (waterfront) landowners must recognize their property is part of a larger system and log jams, bank erosion, and flooding are natural processes.  Establishing a buffer zone of native plants, managing (rather than removing) woody debris and using soft bioengineering techniques to stabilize banks will all help to reduce erosion and improve water quality for us and the fish and wildlife that depend on the river.

Our actions impact water quality whether we live along the river or not.  The Rouge River is an urban river.  Much of the land is covered by buildings, roads, parking lots and houses.  These impervious surfaces prevent rainwater and snow melt from soaking into the ground.  To prevent flooding on our roads and in our neighborhoods rainwater is collected in catch basins on streets and parking lots and is piped to nearby streams, carrying with it pollutants picked up along the way.  The result is a flashy river system where water levels rise rapidly during and after wet weather which scours stream banks and increases sediment in the stream. 

What can you do to help improve water quality?

Landscaping practices, proper waste disposal, and home, yard and car care have an impact on water quality in lakes and rivers.  Here's how you can help protect the Rouge River and Western Lake Erie.    


Upcoming Events

Rouge River Work Party (printable flyer)

Saturday, October 4, 2014, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Allen Drive Park
park and access the site from 1056 Allen Drive, Northville, MI 48167

Volunteer help is needed to work in the river to help reduce streambank erosion.  This work will help protect habitat for fish and other life in the stream by reducing sediment from entering the water and filling in habitat.  

Participants should dress for outdoor work.  Clothes and shoes may get wet and dirty.  Sunscreen, bug spray and hats are recommended.  Gloves will be provided.  No experience necessary. 

Sorry the event is full - registration is closed.  

Maintaining Native Gardens (printable flyer)

Workshop and Forum

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Farmington Hills City Hall (Council Chambers)
31555 Eleven Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48336

Learn how to care for native gardens.  Share tips and lessons learned to strengthen your skills and help help others.  Our goal is for you to achieve the best results from the work that you invest in caring for your native gardens. 

Lunch provided.  Register early space is limited.  Register by calling 313.796.9621 or complete the form online.  

(Past Workshops)

Naturalizing the Home Garden:  A Native Garden Design Workshop for Beginners 

Four workshops were held early in 2014 to teach residents of the Rouge River drainage area how to improve the river by gardening with native plants.  

Workshop Presentations

Green Landscaping for Clean Streams - Creating a Vision for your Native Landscape by Cyndi Ross, Friends of the Rouge

Native vs. Non-native and Garden Desgin Presentation by Tonya Hunter, Alliance of Rouge Communities

Case Study I: Going Native by Annette DeMaria, Bloomfield Resident and Alliance of Rouge Communities

Case Study II: Going 100% Native by Drew Lathin, Novi Resident and Owner of Creating Sustainable Landscapes, LLC 

The River Restoration Program is funded, in part, by:

The Bloomfield Hills Garden Club (Branch of the National Women's Farm and Garden Association)