Rouge Rundown – February 22, 2023 – Paddling Trips | Spring is for Frogs | Stonefly Report | FOTR is Hiring | Winter Rain Gardens and More!
February 22, 2023 ROUGE RUNDOWN
Spring is Coming and so are the Frogs!
In a few weeks, frogs will start to emerge from vernal ponds like the one pictured above. Vernal ponds or spring ponds are critical for the early calling frogs like wood frogs and Midland chorus frogs because they do not support fish that eat frogs, eggs and tadpoles. Look for vernal ponds in your nearby woods and sign up for the annual frog and toad survey to learn more about them. The final training session is this Saturday – it is not too late for you to be a part of this year’s survey!
Frog & Toad Survey Training Part 2: Survey Instructions—Saturday February 25, 10:00-11:30 am.
Your End-of-Winter Paddle Trip is just around the corner! Please join Friends, March 18 from 9:30am – 12:30pm, to paddle the Lower Rouge and celebrate the kickoff of the paddling season! The trip will go from the Dearborn Hills Golf Course to Ford Field Park in Dearborn and will feature a bonfire, hot cocoa, and a dry bag giveaway.
Stoneflies Continue to Survive in Your Rouge River
Thank you to the hardy volunteers who searched for stoneflies in January – and found them at 15 of 41 sites (marked with blue stars on above left map). Stoneflies were found mainly in the Johnson Creek and Lower branch tributaries—with one in Minnow Pond Creek, an Upper branch tributary. Volunteers also tested the River for road salt. The Lower branch and much of the Johnson Creek had acceptable levels (green dots on above right map). In contrast, the Upper, Walled Lake, and Middle branches all had chloride (salt) levels harmful to aquatic life.
Stoneflies are one of the most sensitive aquatic insects found in your River and can only survive in creeks that are clean and cold. In the Rouge, they are mainly found in the headwater streams—areas currently undergoing rapid development that threatens the survival of these sensitive creatures. You are invited to explore the findings through the full report link below.
On February 15, FOTR staff and board members attended a Plymouth Township Planning Commission meeting where a proposal for a Planned Unit Development to build a new horse racing track facility along the Johnson Creek was approved. Residents can provide input and comments on the details of the site plan by emailing the Planning Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Board of Trustees at Group-BoardOfTrustees@plymouthtwp.org
Do you ❤️Clean Water? This time of year, do you notice a lot of high-pressure ads telling you what productsyou have to use to get that enviable emerald-green lawn that we are supposed to have? What these ads don’t tell you is the damage these products do to your yard’s ecosystem and your Rouge River.
Volunteer to support Friends of the Rouge paddling trips and keep paddlers safe! Receive complementary shuttle service and FOTR gear for your support. Volunteers must own a kayak/PFD, have experience paddling the Lower Rouge River, and commit to a minimum of 2 paddle trips.
You are invited to join FOTR’s 2023 Board Meetings to learn more about the work you make possible. Meetings are held on Wednesday evenings from 5:00-6:30pm. View the calendar below and register to attend!
Your Rouge, Your Story: “The Middle Rouge” by Douglas Wallace
Doug and Sandy Wallace share their story of the Middle Rouge over time through adventures featuring Ironwood timber and blue clay – along with their experiences leading bug hunts and creating the Pollinator Garden at Merriman Hollow. Click the link below to read Doug and Sandy’s full story on a life together intertwined with the Middle Rouge through stewardship, creatures, and exploration.
Over the past several years, FOTR has helped homeowners, businesses, cities and schools install rain gardens to better manage stormwater and provide natural habitat. But, what of rain gardens in the winter – once pretty plants fade and snow covers the ground?
The good news is that rain gardens work hard all year long. Even on a snowy day, the pictured garden is doing its job. Salty, oily snowmelt from the surrounding parking lot collects in the garden (see melted snow area where run-off has pooled) rather than draining to the river. Additionally, dried plant stalks, purposefully left uncut, serve as safe, over-winter lodging for insects.
In our urban watershed, the land has been sliced and diced into tiny fragments. Restoration efforts require widespread communal participation, and every garden, in every yard, counts – including yours!