Each spring Friends of the Rouge, in partnership with Rouge communities, brings volunteers together from across the watershed to work toward the common goal of improving the Rouge River for generations to come. This annual river clean up event, known as Rouge Rescue, began in 1986 with volunteers removing large quantities of trash from the river. As river sites improved public perception of the river shifted away from the thought that the river was just an open sewer and a place to dump trash. Today much of the event is focused on river restoration and volunteers work to remove invasive plants from the river corridor, install native plantings and stabilize stream banks to improve the health of the river.
Rouge Rescues of the past involved ripping out every log jam. Today we recognize the value of wood in the river and no longer strive to remove log jams. Instead wood is managed to reduce localized erosion, slow the force of the river's flow and provide habitat for fish and other organisms. Many Rouge Rescue work sites engage volunteers in managing the wood in the river using the Woody Debris Management 101 method to reduce stream bank erosion and create in-stream habitat.
The amount of trash removed during Rouge Rescue 2014 would fill nearly 7 garbage trucks. Invasive plant material removed would fill 59 garbage trucks!
This work accomplished through Rouge Rescue would not have been possible without dedicated volunteers, like you!