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antecedentes del proyecto

Localización del proyecto:El alcance del proyecto se extiende a lo largo del río Raisin desde la presa Nooney, en la desembocadura del lago Vineyard, hasta inmediatamente aguas abajo del puente Mill Street en Village of Brooklyn. El área de este proyecto está ubicada en su totalidad dentro del municipio de Columbia, condado de Jackson, Michigan.


Descripción del problema:La Presa de Brooklyn (BD) está regulada por el Departamento de Medio Ambiente, Grandes Lagos y Energía (EGLE) debido a la altura y el tamaño del embalse asociado. EGLE clasifica la BD como una represa de alto potencial de peligro ya que se esperan pérdidas de vidas y se esperan impactos severos si ocurriera una falla en la represa. BD, como se ve en gran medida hoy en día, se construyó en 1939 y se utilizó para suministrar energía hidroeléctrica a la planta de fabricación adyacente. La represa ya no se usa para suministrar energía hidroeléctrica, pero estuvo en funcionamiento en 2006. La represa es una estructura de tierra con un aliviadero de concreto de 32 pies de ancho con un terraplén de tierra que se extiende 300 pies a cada lado del aliviadero. La altura máxima del terraplén es de 22,5 pies y el aliviadero es de 18 pies de altura (EGLE Dam Safety Report 2016). La evaluación del río Raisin del Departamento de Recursos Naturales de Michigan (DNR) destaca la importancia de este tramo de alto gradiente del río Raisin, cerca de Brooklyn, para su salud y la vida acuática asociada. Los peces y otros animales acuáticos suelen ser más diversos y productivos en hábitats de alto gradiente. El informe establece que la longitud total del río Raisin es de 149 millas y solo el 5% tiene un hábitat de alto gradiente que se encuentra solo en las cabeceras y se localiza en Brooklyn y tramos pequeños en Manchester y Tecumseh. Gran parte del hábitat de alto gradiente ha sido inundado por represas y sus embalses, eliminando este hábitat único y productivo y fragmentando el río, por lo que no permite que los peces se muevan libremente a través del río.

 

Proyecto propuesto:Eliminación de la BD de alto potencial de peligro, restauración de aproximadamente 2,600 pies del río Raisin utilizando el diseño de canal natural (NCD) a través del embalse anterior, reemplazo del puente Mill Street y construcción de rápidos de roca natural sobre la presa Nooney.

 

Socios y colaboración:River Raisin Watershed Council, Jackson County Drain Office, Village of Brooklyn, DNR, Michigan Department of Transportation, EGLE, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Niswander Environmental, Green Watershed Restoration y Five Smooth Stones son socios clave.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Southeast Michigan Report Cards?

The Southeast Michigan Report Cards are a series of six documents that encompass the socioeconomic and environmental health of Southeast Michigan. The River Raisin, Detroit, Huron, Clinton, and Rouge Rivers and their watersheds are included, and the sixth document summarizes the results of the entire project. Report cards are data-driven, visually engaging documents that synthesize information from various sources and sectors, from water quality to household income. 

 

What geographic area is included in the report cards?

The watersheds of the River Raisin, Detroit, Huron, Clinton, and Rouge Rivers cover the Detroit and Ann Arbor metropolitan areas. 

 

What are the key take home messages?

The Southeast Michigan region is heavily developed and populated, with a long history of industry. These factors have impacted the environment: water quality is degraded in many areas, and forest coverage is declining. The relationship between human and environmental health shows in fish consumption advisories and the presence of E. coli in the water. The entire region faces challenges with stormwater management and associated flooding events, despite recent efforts and improvements. Aging infrastructure and more frequent storms exacerbate flooding issues, issues that will continue into the future as the climate changes. 

Why develop report cards in Southeast Michigan?

The report card serves primarily as a communication tool to provide a transparent, timely, and

geographically detailed assessment of the health of five rivers in Southeast Michigan and their watersheds; the Clinton, Detroit, Huron, River Raisin, and Rouge. These documents are targeted to the general public and a wide variety of stakeholders with grades that are easy to understand.

 

Why is the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science involved in creating the report cards?

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has been publishing report cards globally since 2006, and has created a process for creating report cards that result in inclusive, accepted, geographically detailed, and defendable report card results. Socio-Environmental health report cards synthesize data from various sources, distilling the key messages into an image-rich format that is easily accessible to a wide audience. The inclusive development process engages stakeholders and creates a shared vision for the future. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has created report cards with local partners for Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, Mississippi River, Guanabara Bay (Brazil), Orinoco River (Colombia), and Moreton Bay (Australia), among others.

 

What is the report card process?

The report card process consists of five key steps: conceptualize the system, choose indicators, determine thresholds (or goals), calculate scores and grades, and communicate results. Each step involves local agencies, organizations, and individuals from varying backgrounds (stakeholders) to ensure that the resulting score is reflective of real conditions.

Overall Health

How is Southeast Michigan’s overall health?

The entire Southeast Michigan region includes five regions. The River Raisin, Detroit, Clinton, Huron, and Rouge rivers were assessed separately. The overall region’s health is moderate, receiving a score of 49%, which is a C. 

 

How is Clinton River watershed health?

Overall, the Clinton River and its watershed are in moderate health, receiving a score of 51%, which is a C.  

 

How is Detroit River watershed health?

Overall, the Detroit River and its watershed are in moderate health, receiving a score of 44%, which is a C-. 

 

How is Huron River watershed health?

Overall, the Huron River and its watershed are in moderate health, receiving a score of 58%, which is a C+. 

 

How is River Raisin watershed health?

Overall, the River Raisin and its watershed are in moderate health, receiving a score of 54%, which is a C. 

 

How is Rouge River watershed health?

Overall, the Rouge River and its watershed are in poor health, receiving a score of 36%, which is a D+. 

Report Cards

How were the report card indicators selected?

Report card indicators were selected through a collaborative process involving various stakeholders including citizens of the river basin, scientists, natural resource managers, and government representatives. 

 

Who was involved in creating the report cards?

The report cards were produced by the Clinton River Watershed Council, Friends of the Detroit River, Huron River Watershed Council, River Raisin Watershed Council, Friends of the Rouge, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Funding was provided by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. Council Fire, LLC was integral to developing economic indicators and consulted on economic data analysis. Over 100 stakeholders from 65 organizations contributed to the project.

 

Where were the data sourced from? 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Federal Emergency Management Agency; Detroit Bird Alliance/Audubon Society; Friends of the Rouge; Friends of the Detroit River; Huron River Watershed Council; Clinton River Watershed Council; River Raisin Watershed Council; Google Earth Engine; Implan; Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Water Quality Monitoring Council; Trust for Public Land; U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Geological Survey; and Your Economy. To find more information about the data and analyses used, please refer to the methodology.

 

How were thresholds determined?

Thresholds for each indicator were determined based on scientific consensus, goals set by government and non-governmental organizations, and consultation with subject matter experts and other stakeholders. More information on the specifics of each indicator can be found on the website. 

 

How were the scores calculated?

Scores for each indicator were calculated by comparing measured conditions with thresholds. Scores were set to a scale of 0% to 100%; like a school report card, the percentage is represented by a letter grade. 

 

What do the scores mean?

A 0% score indicates an indicator in very poor condition, and a score of 100% signifies an indicator that meets the threshold, and is therefore considered to be in very good condition. Scores are also translated to a letter grade scale (A, B, C, D, and F), with a 100% score equating an “A” grade and a 0% score receiving a grade of “F”.

 

Are these report cards going to continue in the future?

After creating a report card and understanding current status, it is useful to repeat the report card on a time scale of every year, or every 2, 3, or even 5 years. By tracking the scores over time, trends can be determined and progress can be measured. The hope is that these report cards will continue, but the exact mechanism has not yet been determined.

 

Where can I get more information?

The report card website has detailed information on the methodologies, indicators, and

scoring. 

 

Clinton River Report Card

Detroit River Report Card

Huron River Report Card

River Raisin Report Card

Rouge River Report Card

Southeast Michigan Report Card

Photo by Annabelle Robinson

Specific Indicators

Income Equality

What does the income equality indicator measure?

Income equality is based on the GINI coefficient, a value of the gap of household income between higher and lower earners. The data comes from the US Census and gives us a picture of economic disparities between different communities. It is scored at the county level.

What do the income equality scores mean?

Overall, there is a large gap between the higher and lower earners in Southeast Michigan. The scores were poor or very poor in all five regions. This means there is a disparity in the amount of income in the region between communities.

River Economy

What does the river economy indicator measure?

The river economy indicator measures the change in river related jobs and the change in income per river job from 2019–2020. This indicator helps us understand whether river-related businesses are growing or declining in the region.

What kinds of river-related businesses were included?

River-related businesses were selected by stakeholders and included businesses from farming, utilities, construction, manufacturing, retail, transportation, real estate, service industry, tourism, and government sectors. 

Why are some scores for river economy so low?

While this is a river economy indicator, a lot of sectors cross into other areas and can be reflective of more than just the river area. The data from 2019–2020 also includes some negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy. Also, because this indicator measures changes in the river economy, it does not reflect the overall impact of the river to the local economy. For example, the Detroit River is a major contributor to the economy, but experienced large declines in the number of jobs and income, resulting in a poor score despite the overall economic value added by the river.

Fish Consumption

Why is the score for the Huron 24% when the entire river is closed to fish consumption?

PFAS contamination is affecting the safety of eating fish in the Huron. This is a newer issue and the fish consumption advisories in the Eat Safe Fish Guide 2022 from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service had not updated their guidelines when the scoring was complete..

 

What dates does the report include?

The dates are from 2022 and before, but updated guidance is being developed that should be released in the near future.

Specific Indicators

Farmland

Why is farmland important?

Agriculture is essential to Michigan’s economy and is a fundamental way of life for many people in the region.

What does farmland include?

The percent change in agricultural land cover from 2016 to 2019. Agricultural lands include cultivated crops and pasture/hay fields.

What about urban farming?

Some urban farming may not be captured in this indicator, but it is happening in Detroit and Rouge regions. This provides opportunities for people to grow their own food and have access to fresh food in food deserts.

Flooding

Does the flooding indicator include the severity of the flood events?

No, it only includes the number of flood events.

Sewer Overflows

What does the Sewer Overflow score mean?

The score reflects whether any raw sewage was released from the combined sewer overflows (CSOs) or sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in a watershed. These scores serve as an indicator of overall wastewater infrastructure, but do not capture all of the potential impacts of wastewater issues. For example, this score does not reflect potential issues associated with excess nutrients in permitted discharges of stormwater.  

What about the sewer pipe in my neighborhood?

This indicator only evaluates official CSO and SSOs identified by EGLE in their annual CSO, SSO, and Retention Treatment Basin (RTB) Discharge reports. There are other areas that also have discharges which are a problem.

 

Why do I hear that some counties are sending untreated sewage down the river but Clinton received a very good score?

Although the score is an A, it does not include permitted discharges of stormwater, which are a significant source of pollution.

Why aren’t you scoring volume?

After numerous meetings with partners and wastewater experts, including EGLE, it was agreed that there was unclear guidance on what is an acceptable volume of raw sewage to release into the environment. Instead, we set the goal of having no untreated raw sewage being released into streams and rivers from a given CSO or SSO. Achieving this goal in a fair and equitable manner will be challenging, but is necessary to protect people, communities, and ecosystems. 

 

Beach Access

This indicator only includes official beaches that fall under the EGLE BeachGuard program. There are many other beaches and swimming areas people use that are not included here. 

Why is the Rouge score NA?

There are no beaches or swimming areas in the EGLE BeachGuard program that fall inside the Rouge River watershed.

Water Category

Why are the Detroit River and Tributaries scored separately? 

The main stem of the Detroit River is the connection between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, which gives it a different character than the streams that feed into it. In order to capture the difference between those two areas, Detroit’s water quality indicators were divided into these two sub-regions. The Tributaries region used nitrate-nitrite data as a proxy for total nitrogen, and total suspended solids data as a proxy for turbidity data.

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Specific Indicators

Dissolved Oxygen

Why is there insufficient data for dissolved oxygen in the Rouge?

The water quality monitoring done in the Rouge has been sparse in the time period examined (2016–2022): only four sites, with three samples each. In the past, sampling in the Rouge indicated that DO issues exist, particularly in the lower portion of the river. Monitoring DO is needed in the Rouge at appropriate spatial and temporal scales to score this indicator.

Nitrogen

Why is the Raisin score so low?

Nitrogen pollution is an issue in the Raisin due to non-point source runoff. Stakeholders and communities in the region are working on this issue. While agriculture is contributing to nutrient runoff, many best management practices are being put in place to reduce runoff.

What is happening with the Ypsilanti Wastewater Treatment Plant and nitrate?

The Ypsilanti Wastewater Treatment Plant discharges treated effluent into the Lower Rouge River with very high nitrate levels, but this only affects the Lower branch of the Rouge River.

Where does nitrogen come from?

Nitrogen in water can come from a variety of sources, which can be classified as “point” or “non-point” sources. Point sources come from a single, easily identifiable point, such as a wastewater treatment plant. Nonpoint sources can come from across the watershed and include agricultural or lawn fertilizers. Both sources contribute nutrients to the water of the rivers. 

Phosphorus

Why are the scores for total phosphorus in the Detroit River and tribs so different?

The large amount of water moving through the mainstem of the Detroit River likely dilutes the phosphorus that is present in the smaller tributaries that drain into it. 

 

The Raisin is a priority watershed in the Domestic Action Plan for phosphorus by EGLE.

 

Where does phosphorus come from?

Phosphorus comes from a variety of sources. The erosion of rocks and sediment is the major natural source of phosphorus. Fertilizers applied to lawns or agricultural fields are the major human sources of excess phosphorus in our waters . 

 

Why does Huron have the best score and also has a TMDL for phosphorus?

The TMDL for the Huron is based on TP levels in Ford and Belleville Lakes, which are two impoundments along the river. Phosphorus levels in the Huron River and tributaries are comparatively quite a bit lower than other regional streams and have come down over time, but phosphorus levels in the impoundments remain high due to phosphorus in sediments there.

 

Other Questions

Is it safe to eat the fish from these rivers?

It depends on the type of fish and the water body it was caught in. Please refer to Michigan’s Eat Safe Fish guide to learn more.

 

Is it safe to swim in these rivers?

Yes, swimming, boating, and kayaking is usually safe but please refer to Michigan’s BeachGuard for potential swim advisories that can occur when routine water quality sampling indicates potential human health concerns.

 

How will climate change impact the health of Southeast Michigan?

This question was not directly addressed by these report cards, but restoring and protecting these rivers is essential to creating resilient ecosystems that support thriving and sustainable communities in Southeast Michigan.

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