Rouge Rundown - May 31, 2023 - New Detroit Park | Appreciation Event | New Volunteer Ops | River History and More!
Rouge Rundown – May 31, 2023 – New Detroit Park | Appreciation Event | New Volunteer Ops | River History and More!
May 31, 2023 ROUGE RUNDOWN
Clean Water Act Setback in recent Sacket Case
Last week’s Supreme Court decision was a major kick in the gut for the last 50 years of clean water protections. In a major environmental case, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision in the Sacket case severely limited the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act over wetlands, significantly limiting the extent of ‘waters of the United States.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’ made this statement about the decision: “In the last 50 years, the Clean Water Act has transformed our nation’s waterways, cleaning up and protecting rivers and wetlands that were unrecognizable before these safeguards were put in place. With this decision, the Supreme Court has significantly undermined those protections that we depend on to keep our waters safe and healthy for the Americans who depend on them and the ecosystems they sustain. As the wife of the man who helped author the Clean Water Act as the Rouge River in my home state was literally on fire, I know firsthand how essential these regulations are to the well-being of people and wildlife, and I will never stop fighting to defend our most precious natural resource.”
With springtime weather in full force, Friends of the Rouge is inviting you to join in some special volunteer opportunities that support a cleaner Rouge and a healthier Southeast Michigan! Thank you for supporting the planting of 13,000 new native tree saplings, the next big phase of the Lower Rouge Habitat Restoration project is to protect the trees with lightweight weed mats. For large groups and individuals, these will be fun days to spend along the banks of your beautiful Rouge River.
Volunteers can join Friends on upcoming Wednesdays and Fridays during the month of June.
You can be a part of a unique rain garden project at LaNita’s Pocket Park Rain Garden Planting Event! LaNita’s Pocket Park was brought to life to memorialize LaNita, the cornerstone of her community and family. This memorial park on Hartford Street in Detroit will provide a beautiful space for visiting pollinators and people, and now will help reduce flooding too.
There is a morning and an afternoon opportunity on June 17 for volunteers – space is limited, so sign up today!
You are Invited: Member & Volunteer Appreciation Event & Award Ceremony
Friends – a cleaner Rouge River is possible because of you! Please join the celebration for YOU and the amazing Friends like you who act and stand for a better future. This free event is on Thursday, June 22 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the Warrendale Park Pavilion, 23300 W Warren Avenue, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127. Remarks begin at 6:30pm. See you on the River!
Join Friends of the Rouge and Motor City Canoe and Kayak Rental for a special Dry Dock Pop Up and Demo Day at the Canton River Days Festival, a celebration for National Trails Day. The event will take place at the Morton Taylor Trailhead in Canton from 9am – 1pm. Try a canoe or kayak on the Lower Rouge River Water Trail for free! See the Rouge River Watershed Terrain Model and blueway and greenway trails plans. No registration is required. All paddling participants are required to wear a personal floatation device. Hope to see you there!
Introducing two new opportunities for you to volunteer for a clean water future! You are invited to spruce up some beautiful, hard-working rain gardens in Redford – on June 2nd and 9th. One rain garden is a respite for pollinators, songbirds, and the employees at the Redford Water Department. The other is a lush rain garden in the well loved Claude Allison Park.
Do you want to learn more about what a rain garden is and how it can rescue you and your yard? Join us for the Rain Gardens to the Rescue educational workshop series held Wednesdays from May 31 to June 28, 6-8pm at Kemeny Recreation Center in Southwest Detroit! Workshops will teach what a rain garden is, all the benefits they bring, and walk you through all the steps to plan and design your very own garden for success. These in-person classes are FREE and open to the public! Sign up to join the class TODAY!
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updated their Eat Safe Fish Guide this week. This guide can help people make choices to balance the health benefits of eating fish while reducing their consumption of chemicals like Mercury, PCBs and PFOS increasingly found concentrated in our local fish.
Rouge specific guidelines are found by county. In the Rouge, Oakland County has specific guidelines for Long Lake (p. 56), the Upper branches of the Main Rouge River (p. 59) and Walled Lake (p. 61). Wayne County (p. 83-85) has guidelines for parts of all four branches of the Rouge. The Rouge has an amazing variety of fish despite its long history of pollution. You are invited to reference this guide to stay healthy and/or practice catch and release.
Friends of the Rouge welcomes Maggie Lobbig to the team as one of the new Restoration Assistants! Maggie is currently working towards her Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan while working part time as a Visual Resource Management Design Consultant at Argonne National Lab in Chicago. Her ultimate goal is designing inclusive landscapes that focus on the ecological restoration of rivers and wetlands. She also holds a BA in Geography and Urban Studies from Macalester College in Minnesota, and worked as a GIS specialist for the City of St. Louis before moving to Ann Arbor for her MLA.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she grew up on the Ozark rivers and always feels a deep connection with the water wherever she lives. She has enjoyed getting to know the hydrological context of Ann Arbor since moving there two years ago, and looks forward to learning more about the Rouge River while connecting with the Detroit community. Welcome Maggie!
Watershed Wanderings – History on the River
A massive waterwheel turns alongside Northville’s Water Wheel Center. Once the home of a Ford Motor Company valve plant, the Center sits next to the Middle Rouge River. Though no longer supplying power for the building, the rebuilt wheel still turns in a small “mill race” (or water channel) that flows from the river.
In his day, Henry Ford believed in producing all vehicle components locally and in-house. Consequently, he built more than twenty small, parts-manufacturing plants across southern Michigan. Collectively, these small factories were known as The Village Industries, and six – each with a corresponding river dam and/or water wheel – were built along the Middle Rouge River. During their heyday (in the early 1900’s) Ford’s Village factories served as hubs of employment and education for their local communities. Today, the original factories have been repurposed and many of the dams removed. But in Northville, this historic waterwheel offers a glimpse into Metro-Detroit’s industrial heritage.