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Rouge River

Contact Information

US EPA RAP Liaison
John Haugland
(haugland.john@epa.gov)
312-886-9853
U.S. EPA, GLNPO
77 West Jackson Blvd. (G-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604-3590

State RAP Contact
Michelle Selzer
(selzerm@michigan.gov)
517-241-3731
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Water Bureau
525 W. Allegan Street
P.O. Box 30273
Lansing, MI 48909

Rouge RAP Advisory Council Chair
Bill Craig
(envirowhc@sbcglobal.net)
248-476-5127
20050 Milburn
Livonia, MI 48152

Local Coordinator
Rich Badics
(rbadics@yahoo.com)
734-995-5869
Michigan Statewide Public Advisory Council Representative
5611 Wagoneer Court
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Frequent Acronyms

You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Rouge River AOC Boundary Map

Rouge River AOC Boundary Map (PDF) (1pg, 159K)

Rouger River shape file (ZIP) (120K)

Background

The oldest and most heavily populated and industrialized area in southeast Michigan is located within the Rouge River Watershed. The Rouge River has four main branches totaling 125 miles of waterways primarily flowing through Wayne and Oakland counties, with some headwaters in Washtenaw County. The Rouge drains a 438 square mile area that includes more than 400 lakes and ponds, and more than 50 miles of parkland along its banks. The river winds its way through 48 communities and provides recreational opportunities for more than a million people. The lower four miles of the river are maintained as a shipping channel from the turning basin to the river's mouth at the south end of Zug Island.

Rouge River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) priorities include the elimination of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), nonpoint source pollution control, industrial discharge pretreatment, peak storm water discharge reductions and contaminated site restoration.

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Beneficial Use Impairments

The Rouge River Watershed covers 1,210 km2 in southeastern Michigan. It includes sections of three counties and encompasses 48 municipalities with a population of 1.5 million people. Degradation of the Rouge River is representative of that found in many urbanized and industrialized areas within the Great Lakes Basin. Over 50% of the land-use is residential, commercial, or industrial, with increasing development pressures in the headwaters. Despite the urbanized and industrial areas within the watershed, there are over 80 km of publicly-owned riparian (i.e., land/bank adjacent to a watercourse) parklands within the northern and western portions of the watershed consisting mainly of suburban and rural land uses. Urban storm water discharges, CSOs, nonpoint source pollution, and municipal and industrial discharges all contribute to the Rouge River Area of Concern (AOC) beneficial use impairments (BUIs).

For further information on Rouge River BUIs, see the RAP documents listed in the Significant RAP Milestones section.

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Delisting Targets

The 2004 Rouge River RAP Revision (PDF) (153pp, 3.9MB) includes initial delisting criteria for several of the identified BUIs, some of which may be ready for formal delisting in the near future. The Rouge River RAP Advisory Council (RRAC) has received funding from the Great Lakes Commission to refine delisting criteria to reflect knowledge of the BUIs. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is working with the RRAC to evaluate the current delisting criteria for consistency with Michigan's statewide delisting guidance (PDF 508Kb, 61 pages) RAP Development and Status

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RAP Development and Status

The Rouge River RAP was completed in 1989 and has been heralded as a model for community involvement and public support. The RAP was updated in 1994 and 1998, and revised in 2004. Since 1999, the RRAC has also been using a progress report card as a mechanism to help celebrate implementation of remedial projects, make mid-course corrections, provide public accountability, and further develop the RAP. The RRAC released the 2005 Rouge River Report Card in October 2005.

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Significant RAP Milestones

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RAP Implementation

Recent progress and achievements

Current projects and outlook

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RAP-Related Publications

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Community Involvement

The Rouge River RAP is a watershed-wide effort that is led by the MDEQ in partnership with other stakeholders. The institutional structure includes: MDEQ staff with responsibilities to implement the RAP and assess restoration progress; a Rouge Program Office created for the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project; technical advisory groups; a Rouge River Steering Committee to oversee implementation activities with the Voluntary Stormwater Permit; and the RRAC to advise the MDEQ and assist in updating and implementing the RAP. The RRAC includes representatives of industry, environmental interests, citizens, universities, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, local and county governments, and parks and health departments.

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Photos

Aerial view shows how the Rouge has been channelized and paved -- presenting a number of fisheries and wildlife habitat issues and challenges

Aerial view shows how the Rouge has been channelized and paved -- presenting a number of fisheries and wildlife habitat issues and challenges

Oil and gas slicks, debris and other pollutants are some of the causes of several beneficial use impairments in the Rough River Area of Concern

Oil and gas slicks, debris and other pollutants are some of the causes of several beneficial use impairments in the Rouge River Area of Concern.

Oil and gas slicks, debris and other pollutants are some of the causes of several beneficial use impairments in the Rough River Area of Concern

Oil and gas slicks, debris and other pollutants are some of the causes of several beneficial use impairments in the Rouge River Area of Concern.

Landscape view of the mouth of the Rouge River, with the Ford Rouge plant on the left

Landscape view of the mouth of the Rouge River, with the Ford Rouge plant on the left.

There are still fragments of viable habitat remaining in the Rouge River watershed

There are still fragments of viable habitat remaining in the Rouge River watershed.

There are still fragments of viable habitat remaining in the Rouge River watershed

There are still fragments of viable habitat remaining in the Rouge River watershed.

The Habitat Committee of the Rouge RAP Advisory Council selects exceptional people and projects that have preserved, protected or restored habitat in the Rouge River watershed and presents awards to them at an annual December celebration

The Habitat Committee of the Rouge RAP Advisory Council selects exceptional people and projects that have preserved, protected or restored habitat in the Rouge River watershed and presents awards to them at an annual December celebration.


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