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.
Major projects within the River Restoration Program
Growing Sustainable Water Solutions: Rain Gardens to the Rescue Program
Partners: The Sierra Club Great Lakes Program & Keep Growing DetroitFunded by: The Erb Family Foundation
Collaborative Invasive Species Control within the Rouge and Detroit River AOC's, Wayne County
Partners: Multiple partners. Wayne County Dept. of Public ServicesFunded by: A Great Lakes Restoration Initative grant from the US EPA in the amount of $653,756 to Wayne County Department of Public Services supports this project to control invasive plants.
Rouge River Green Infrastructure Education, Installation and Marketing
Partners: Communities in the Johnson Creek and Tonquish Creek SubwatershedsFunded by: The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Nonpoint Source Program
Green Infrastructure Workshops
Funded by: The Alliance of Rouge Communities
What can you do to help improve water quality?
The River Restoration Program is funded, in part, by:
Landscaping with Native Plants
- Intorduction to Green Landscaping for Clean Streams
- Creating Native Wildflower Gardens
- Rain Garden Guide
- Greenacres: Landscaping with Ntive Platns, EPA
- Garden design for full sun 1
- Garden design for full sun 2
- Garden design for full sun 3
- Garden design for mostly sun
Native Plant Identification
- Seedling Identification Guide of Native Prairie Plants
- Newcomb's Wildflower Guide
- Michigan's Flora I, II and III by Edward G. Voss
Sources of Native Plants
Invasive Plant Information
Riparian (water front) Living