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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. 

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?

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.