Our Work‎ > ‎

River Restoration


How we care for the land impacts water quality in our local lakes and rivers. The River Restoration program teaches residents of the watershed how to manage their land to improve water quality and to provide wildlife habitat through hands-on projects and educational events. 

Riparian (waterfront) landowners must recognize their property is part of a larger system and log jams, bank erosion, and flooding are natural processes. Establishing a buffer zone of native plants, managing (rather than removing) woody debris and using soft bioengineering techniques to stabilize banks will all help to reduce erosion and improve water quality for us and the fish and wildlife that depend on the river.

Our actions impact water quality whether we live along the river or not. The Rouge River is an urban river. Much of the land is covered by buildings, roads, parking lots and houses. These impervious surfaces prevent rainwater and snow melt from soaking into the ground. To prevent flooding on our roads and in our neighborhoods rainwater is collected in catch basins on streets and parking lots and is piped to nearby streams, carrying with it pollutants picked up along the way. The result is a flashy river system where water levels rise rapidly during and after wet weather which scours stream banks and increases sediment in the stream.              


Landscaping with Native Plants
Adopt Green Landscaping for Clean Streams practices 
Greenacres: Landscaping with Native Plants, EPA
Step-by-Step Guide to Planning & Planting Rain Gardens in Detroit
Rain Garden Templates, full sun
Garden design for mostly sun

Native Plant Identification
Seedling Identification Guide of Native Prairie Plants
Newcomb's Wildflower Guide
Michigan's Flora I, II and III by Edward G. Voss

Sources of Native Plants
Michigan Native Plant Producers Association

Plant Selection
Native Plant Nursery Searchable Database
UCONN Rain Garden App/Website

Garden Design

Garden Maintenance
Common Weed Seedlings of the North Central States, MSU

Invasive Plant Information
Invasive Plants Field Guide, MNFI
Midwest Invasive Species Information Netowrk

Riparian (water front) Living
RCM Principles and Practices
Woody Debris Management 101
Woody Debris Management 201

Here's what you can do to protect the Rouge River:

Major projects within the River Restoration Program

Growing Sustainable Water Solutions: Rain Gardens to the Rescue Program  
Partners:  Sierra Club Great Lakes Program & Keep Growing Detroit  
Funded by:  The Erb Family Foundatiion

Collaborative Invasive Species Control within the Rouge and Detroit River AOC's, Wayne County
Partners:  Multiple partners, Wayne County Dept. of Public Services
Funded by:  A Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant from the US EPA in the amount of $653,756 to Wayne County Department of Public Services supports this project to control invasive plants. 

Rouge River Green Infrastructure Education, Installation and Marketing
Partners:  Communities in the Johnson Creek and Tonquish Creek Subwatersheds
Funded by:  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Nonpoint Source Program

Funded by:  Alliance of Rouge Communities

The River Restoration Program is funded, in part, by: