Sam Greco, HFCC physical plant engineer, is spearheading the College’s involvement in the clean-up. Greco seeks volunteers to help with this effort. Each year this effort averages between 40-50 volunteers.
To date, Greco has enlisted the help of Boy Scout Troop 1127 out of Dearborn, as well as several HFCC faculty and staff members. The College will provide hot dogs, chips, and beverages for those involved in the clean-up.
The Rouge River runs 127 miles throughout Metro Detroit, flowing into the Detroit River at Zug Island, which is the boundary between River Rouge and Detroit. The Rouge River’s watershed – roughly 467 square miles – includes 48 municipalities and drains into a large portion of central and northwest Wayne County, as well as Oakland County and Washtenaw County. The majority of the entire drainage basin is in urban and suburban areas with more than 50 miles flowing through public lands.
HFCC is no stranger to the preservation of the Rouge River. In 2004, the College received a $708,300 Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) matching grant from the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to preserve and enhance the Rouge River watershed as a natural ecological, recreational and historical resource for Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Detroit and several Downriver communities.
The grant allowed the College to implement an innovative plan to reduce the impact of storm water run-off from HFCC’s main campus parking lot into the Rouge River, which helped curtail erosion of the riverbank at Kingfisher Bluff. The river and the bluff run along the western edge of the main campus.
The water run-off into the Rouge introduces a number of contaminants, including salt and oil, which degrades the water quality. Erosion of the riverbank causes excess sediment to flow into the river.
“The College realizes the importance of raising the awareness of the Rouge River watershed through as many means possible. It has also cooperated with several other organizations in an effort to preserve the Rouge River. The work we’re doing is very worthwhile and for a good cause, especially since the Rouge River is an important natural resource that is beneficial to everyone and enhances the quality of life for area residents and visitors,” said Greco.
Greco said that volunteers should come dressed to get dirty and recommends they wear sturdy work boots. Work gloves and tools will be available.
For further information and/or to volunteer, contact Greco at 313.845.9604 or via email at [email protected].
PHOTO CUT LINE: HFCC's Kingfisher Bluff on campus overlooks an area of the Rouge River.