Located near the second largest metropolitan area in Michigan, the Rogue River is an extremely important trout fishery in southern Michigan. The lower portion of the river is fabled for its excellent steelhead runs. The eastern tributaries host significant brook and brown trout populations. The river is an important economic engine---based on a recent Department of Natural Resources survey, the Rogue River brings in $485,000 per year to the local communities in angling trips alone.
However, the watershed is experiencing pressures from growth and development, resulting in rising summer water temperatures and excessive sediment input. Developed areas impact surface and groundwater resources in the watershed by generating large amounts of pollution from runoff and storm sewer discharge and eliminating porous surface for groundwater recharge. Activities that reduce groundwater or increase the delivery of warm surface runoff will have negative impacts on the Rogue River’s ability to support coldwater species.
TU is helping local governments develop and implement improved planning policies to protect rivers and is increasing opportunities to reconnect and restore local river systems by identifying fish barriers and areas of habitat loss in the watershed, and is engaging the community in watershed efforts through community events and the creation of a citizen monitoring program to help determine the conditions of their homewaters.
Since 2010, TU has helped four local municipalities work towards adoption of new or improved planning policies to promote river protection. We've also assessed 200 barriers to fish mobility in the watershed and prioritized in a larger Lower Grand River fish barrier assessment strategy. We're also working on addressing stormwater runoff in the area and implementing best management practices for area municipalities to use. We've just received a $105,000 grant to look at the effects of stormwater runoff.
We've engaged 600 people in 13 community events where over 25 volunteers have been trained as citizen monitors to collect crucial data in the watershed.