EPA highlights progress in Rouge River Area of Concern
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week highlighted the recent progress being made in the environmental restoration of the Rouge River Area of Concern, including the imminent completion of several habitat restoration projects.
“Thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and support from our local and state partners, we are making and will continue to make significant progress restoring the Rouge River Area of Concern,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager Debra Shore.
The Rouge River watershed contains the most heavily populated and industrialized area in southeast Michigan, which over many decades resulted in the degradation of natural habitat and high levels of contamination in the river’s sediments.
Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and collaboration between EPA’s state, local, and other federal partners has resulted in the recent or imminent completion of nine habitat restoration projects and will, in the next few years, lead to the cleanup of contaminated sediment in the river itself.
Success In Restoring Degraded Habitat in the Rouge River AOC:
EPA, in consultation with its state and local partners, has completed or will complete in the near future the following nine habitat restoration projects within the AOC at a total cost of approximately $12.7 million:
- Nankin Lake Restoration (Livonia) – With funding from GLRI, Wayne County dredged 35,000 cubic yards of excess sediment that had accumulated in Nankin Lake. The 5.2 acres of restored habitat will provide valuable spawning, nursery, and forage habitat for fish and other aquatic species of all life stages. The project is substantially complete by the end of 2022 with some site restoration activities continuing into spring 2023. (Project Cost: $3,501,332)
- Lola Valley Park Wetlands (Redford Township) – With GLRI funding, Wayne County and the Alliance of Rouge Communities created and restored approximately 13 acres of wetland habitat and riparian habitat. Habitat restoration included enhancing existing forested and emergent riparian wetlands by controlling invasive species and planting native species to increase plant diversity. The project is substantially complete with planting continuing into spring 2023. (Project Cost: $965,562)
- Bell Creek Park Wetland (Redford Township) – With GLRI funding, Wayne County and the Alliance of Rouge Communities created 2.6 acres of meadow wetland and completed invasive species removal and restoration activities for 6.45 acres of wetland. The project is substantially complete with planting continuing into spring 2023. (Project Cost: $827,939)
- Sherwood Park Wetland (Westland) – With GLRI funding, Wayne County and the Alliance of Rouge Communities restored wetland hydrology and created 5.8 acres of wetlands and replaced an existing culvert with a larger, 75-foot long by 8-foot-wide flat bottom culvert. A total of 7 acres of habitat was restored. This project is substantially complete. (Project Cost: $777,185)
- Colonial Park Wetlands habitat restoration (Inkster) – With GLRI funding, the Alliance of Rouge Communities created wetlands in maintained lawn areas by establishing wet meadow habitat and depression wetlands to provide 3.7 acres of restored habitat and better manage floodwaters. This project is substantially complete. (Project Cost: $955,000)
- Venoy Dorsey Park Habitat restoration (Inkster and Westland) – With GLRI funding, the Alliance of Rouge Communities created and restored wetlands in the park by establishing depression wetlands to hydrologically connect existing wetlands. In addition, 150 linear feet of streambanks were stabilized and restored in portions of the park. Overall, 9.8 acres of habitat have been created or restored. This project will be substantially complete by the end of 2022. (Project Cost: $879,000)
- Tamarack Creek Stream and Wetland Project (Southfield) – With GLRI funding, the Alliance of Rouge Communities restored 2.2 acres of wetlands, 1,950 ft of stream corridor, managed invasive species, and installed 20 habitat structures. This restored habitat will benefit valuable fish and wildlife and improve hydrology. Overall, 4.6 total acres of habitat has been restored. This project was completed in the winter of 2021. (Project Cost: $2,349,514)
- Johnson Creek Fish Hatchery Park Habitat (Northville) – With GLRI funding, the Alliance of Rouge Communities restored 1,250 linear feet of streambank along Johnson Creek, planted 80 native riparian trees in the park, connected 0.5 acres of backwater habitat to the creek, and restored 0.5 acres of riparian habitat to create deeper water for fish and to filter stormwater before it enters the pond. This project was completed winter of 2020. (Project Cost: $958,625)
- Rouge Oxbow Project Phase III (Dearborn) – With support from GLRI, the Alliance of Rouge Communities and Wayne County reconnected and restored 2,700 linear feet of Oxbow Wetland and 0.4 acres of new habitat in a critical area of the Rouge River concrete channel to connect the Oxbow through an open channel, providing habitat, resting locations for migratory fish, recreational opportunities, and restored wetland areas. Previous phases included National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Henry Ford Museum as partners. The project was completed by the end of 2020. (Project Cost: $1,500,590)