Rouge Rundown - March 8, 2023 - Paddling Trips | Spring Gardening | FOTR is Hiring | Winter Rookery and More!
Rouge Rundown – March 8, 2023 – Paddling Trips | Spring Gardening | FOTR is Hiring | Winter Rookery and More!
March 8, 2023 ROUGE RUNDOWN
Experience the Joy of River Exploration: Join Friends for the End-of-Winter Paddle!
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.
Rouge Community Scientists Find PFAS in Every Fish
In 2022, six anglers who eat fish from the river joined FOTR’s ranks of community scientists when they agreed to collect fish for PFAS testing. These anglers used a hook and line at 15 locations in the Rouge, Huron, and Detroit Rivers to collect one hundred fish as part of a partnership with the Ecology Center to test whole fish for these forever chemicals.
In late February 2023, the Ecology Center released the results of the PFAS testing, and they were sobering.
On March 16 at 5:30 pm, join a virtual webinar with scientists to discuss the results.
Start planning for spring gardening with helpful tips from Friends. You can help restore your river, take care of your ecosystem, and beautify your yard this spring! Preserve pollinator habitat by not “cleaning up” your winter landscape too early, and create new habitat by planting a native flower garden, tree, or rain garden!
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.
Friends of the Rouge is growing! If you are looking for a new job or career, you are warmly invited to consider these part-time roles, including: a Community Organizer, two Restoration Assistants, and a VISTA Education Coordinator!
Race Track and More Slated for Banks of Johnson Creek
Johnson Creek, a tributary of the Middle Rouge River flowing through Salem, Plymouth and Northville Townships is a jewel of the watershed. Spring fed, cold and clean, it is home to the endangered redside dace and more sensitive fish and aquatic insects than any part of the watershed. Up until recently, much of Johnson Creek was surrounded by farms and undeveloped land. All of that is changing and the creek is facing threats like never before.
Over 800 acres of land surrounding the Johnson Creek in Northville and Plymouth Townships once owned by the city of Detroit for prisons is being marketed for technology, research and industrial use as part of the “Michigan International Technology Center” being promoted by the state, county and local governments. Current plans for Plymouth Township include a horse race track and nearly a million square feet of warehouses.
Is anyone working to ensure that Johnson Creek will not be harmed by this development? Please reach out to your elected officials at the state, county and Plymouth Township and ask them to protect the Johnson Creek.
Your New Board Members: Welcome Gerry and Nick!
Gerry VanAcker (pictured above left) and Nick Leonard (above right) have joined the FOTR Board for 3-year terms. Gerry joins the board with leadership and fundraising experience as is the COO of the Detroit Zoological Society. Nick brings leadership and legal expertise to the board as the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. A warm welcome to Gerry and Nick for their commitment to a better Rouge River!
Watershed Wanderings: A Rookery in Winter
Silhouetted against a gray, winter sky, a dozen large nests dot the tree tops. High above the Rouge River, majestic great blue herons make their homes in this group rookery.
Commonly perceived as solitary creatures, great blue herons are most often sighted standing alone while hunting dinner in a quiet pool of water. When hunting, these regal birds arefiercely independent. Yet, when the hunt is done and a warm nest beckons, great blue herons gather together in communal harmony.
Tall and elegant, this beautiful bird is a survivor with a native range that spans most of the continent. So far, it has proven resilient against the never-ending march of human “progress.” Though as wetlands give way to concrete, the great blue heron clings to ever shrinking bits of habitat. It survives, but it needs our help. As stewards of the watershed, we can protect these majestic creatures and preserve their wetland homes.