Winterize your rain barrel to prevent cracking due to cold weather by storing it in your garage, shed or basement and reattach your downspout.
This winter, plan a rain garden to include Michigan native plants which slows runoff and provides added filtration before entering the Rouge River.
Recycle your holiday greenery, such as your tree instead of throwing it in the trash. It’s better for the environment.
Use less salt by shoveling early and often to protect the Rouge River. If you do need salt, choose an environmentally-friendly alternative. Check out our brine recipe.
Attend a Friends of the Rouge Winter Stonefly Search close to your community to help gauge the health of the Rouge River.
Use your local car wash to keep your car clean. When the buildup on your car melts, it sends the road salt, oil and other pollutants to the storm drain which end up in the Rouge River.
Pour greasy or oily food waste into a jar and put it in the trash to prevent blockages in sewer pipes which can send sewage backward into homes or out manholes into streets and the Rouge River.
Use a broom to sweep fertilizer and grass clippings back onto your yard so it doesn’t wash into the storm drain and the Rouge River.
Don’t feed the geese because the concentration of droppings adds excess nutrients and harmful bacteria to the Rouge River.
Install a rain barrel to capture rainwater for your garden or disconnect downspouts and direct them into gardens.
detention ponds which will enhance water quality, minimize algae blooms and encourage wildlife habitat. Pick up after your pet to prevent the bacteria from washing into drainage ditches and storm drains which go straight to the Rouge River. Waterfront property owners should plant trees, shrubs, taller grasses and wildflowers between the shoreline and upland areas to minimize the amount of pollutants entering the waterway. Maintain your septic system by having it inspected every 3 years by a licensed contractor and having your tank pumped every 3-5 years.
Use slow release, phosphorus-free fertilizer and don’t fertilize right before it rains or along any body of water to help protect the Rouge River. Dispose of your boat waste properly, keep bilges clean with absorbent sponges or pads, and inspect boats and trailers for plant debris and zebra mussels. Keep storm drains clear of debris to prevent storm sewer blockages and minimize the amount of pollutants entering the Rouge River. Minimize use of your washing machine, dishwasher or shower during times of heavy rain because it stresses the sewer system.
Plant a tree to provide a natural filter to the Rouge River and to reduce stormwater runoff, flooding and erosion. Do not put “disposable wipes” down a drain or toilet, they do not dissolve and will cause blockages in sewer pipes. When winterizing your pool, spa, or fountain allow the chlorine to dissipate for several days before draining it to a landscaped area not a storm drain which leads to the Rouge River. Mulch your grass and leaves to use as a natural fertilizer which limits the excess nutrients from yard waste entering the Rouge River.
Pour or scrape greasy or oily food waste into a container or jar before putting in the trash to prevent blockages in sewer pipes which can send sewage backward into homes or out of manholes into streets and the Rouge River. Report illegal dumping to the Rouge River to your local municipality to prevent contamination to our groundwater supply. Call: Wayne Co - 888-223-2363, Oakland Co - 248-858-0931, Washtenaw Co - 734-222-3800, Macomb Co - 877-679-4337, St. Clair Co - 277-504-SWIM. Use non-toxic cleaning alternatives such as white vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals entering the Rouge River. Attend a workshop on native landscaping or septic system maintenance to learn how you can protect the Rouge River or volunteer at a bug hunt or Rouge Rescue with Friends of the Rouge in your community.