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Middle 1 Subwatershed
Overview


What is a Subwatershed and where's the Middle One?

What's important about the Middle One Subwatershed?

How can I visit the Rouge River in the Middle One Subwatershed?

What are some of the problems in the Middle One Subwatershed?

How will these problems be fixed?

Vision of the Middle One Subwatershed?

Are there any goals in place for achieving this vision?

How can I get involved?

 

What is a Subwatershed and Where's the Middle One?

The Rouge River Watershed is approximately 466 square miles and includes all or parts of 48 communities and 3 counties. To manage this large area more effectively, local units of governments decided to divide the whole Rouge River Watershed into seven Subwatersheds based on the 4 main branches of the Rouge River - the Main branch, the Upper branch, the Middle branch, and the Lower branch - and certain political jurisdictions.

One of these seven Subwatersheds is the Middle One Subwatershed. Check out the map below. Do you live, work, play in, or travel through in any of these areas?

If you do, then, your actions impact the Middle One Subwatershed, or part of the land area that is drained by the Middle branch of the Rouge River.

The Middle One Subwatershed is approximately 81 square miles, or almost 20% of the whole Rouge watershed. A typical township is only 36 square miles, so the Middle One Subwatershed crosses several political boundaries as it carries water to the river. In fact, as you'll see on our Participating Communities page, the Middle One Subwatershed crosses over parts of 13 local communities and 3 counties!


What's important about the Middle One Subwatershed?

Even more important than the Subwatershed's size is it's location with regard to the River. The Middle One Subwatershed is considered one of the "headwaters" of the Rouge River, or where the river starts to flow. The protection of these headwater streams and tributaries are crucial to the quality of water downstream in the Middle Three and Main 3-4 Subwatersheds.

Several tributaries drain the headwaters of the Middle One Subwatershed including Johnson Creek, the only cool water stream in the Rouge River system that supports a trout fishery and an endangered fish called the Redside Dace.

The Middle One Subwatershed is unique within the Rouge River Watershed because it represents a developing area with more than 50% of the total land area still attributed to open space and agricultural land use. This means that although the urbanized areas of the Middle One Subwatershed may need cleaning up or restoring, there is a lot of opportunity to simply protect natural resources - wetlands, woodlands, open space - that exist in the less developed area of the Subwatershed...

Protecting these natural resources and open spaces is important because new residential and commercial development is occurring at a fast pace, especially within the eastern half of the Subwatershed.

 

How can I visit the Rouge River in the Middle One Subwatershed?

It's easy... Several recreational facilities are located within the Middle One Subwatershed including Maybury State Park and Wayne County's Middle Rouge Parkway. Northville Downs Race Track, five golf courses, and several parks exist within the Cities of Northville and Novi. Recreational activities offered by these facilities include fishing, picnicking, golfing, walking biking and exploring. If you happen to get a good photograph of the River while you're out there, please submit it to our Photo Gallery!

 

What are some of the problems in the Middle One Subwatershed?

The quality of surface waters within the Middle One has been quite good compared to other downstream subwatersheds; although, increased sediment laden and nutrient rich runoff is becoming more of a problem as new development occurs. The Rouge Program Office (RPO) has prepared a State of the Rouge River - Middle One Subwatershed report which illustrates in color the general conditions of the Middle One streams with regard to fishing, wading and body contact, and aesthetics. Other reports of interest are the Middle One Subwatershed Management Study, Existing Conditions of the Middle One Rouge River Subwatershed, and the Johnson Creek Reconnaissance Survey.

These studies, along with an ongoing management planning effort, show that while the Middle Rouge is in fairly good condition, there are significant water quality, water quantity and habitat concerns in the Middle One Subwatershed. In general, the major problems have thus far been identified as the following:

  • Stream bank erosion
  • Sedimentation
  • High peak discharge rates, high runoff volumes and flooding
  • Channelization of streams
  • Loss of stream bank vegetation
  • Non-point source pollution
  • Algae blooms in impoundments
  • Illicit connections and failing septic systems
  • Loss of wetlands
  • Rural road storm water control
  • Increased impervious surfaces
  • Loss of aquatic habitat

 

How will these problems be fixed?

The 13 communities and 3 counties in the Middle One Subwatershed have been working together for several years to come up with solutions to the above problems. Their working group, called the Middle One Subwatershed Advisory Group, or SWAG, produced a vision statement to guide them through a plan to restore and protect their part of the Rouge. The following is the stated vision of these collaborative partners for the Middle One Subwatershed:

 

Vision of the Middle One Subwatershed

The vision for the Middle One Subwatershed protects and preserves existing natural features, including headwater streams and their associated aquatic life, riparian buffer zones, floodplains, wetlands and other open spaces. The protection and preservation of these natural features will minimize impacts from increases in impervious cover.

The vision for the Middle One Subwatershed includes protection and enhancement of the scenic quality associated with local streams. Maintaining or enhancing the riparian buffer zone with native vegetation, protecting stream banks from erosion, and supporting other efforts to protects water quality are all important to high scenic quality.

Related to the vision of high scenic quality is the issue of improved recreational opportunities. Enjoyment of recreational activities such as bird watching, photography, nature walks, and fishing is influenced by scenic quality and water quality. The Middle One Vision proposes enhanced opportunities for recreational activities associated with the local waterways.

To accomplish this vision, the communities within the Middle One Subwatershed will develop new methods to improve public understanding and appreciation of watercourses and open space within the Subwatershed. The communities will work towards protecting, and in some instances, restoring, stream water quality and enhancing the aesthetic character and recreational opportunities associated with the surface waters within the Middle One Subwatershed.

 

Are there any goals in place for achieving this vision?

.The Middle One Subwatershed Advisory Group (SWAG) has begun the process of achieving the above vision by identifying and prioritizing goals for short term and long-term management of the Middle One Subwatershed. This goal setting is an ongoing and iterative process. Some of the general goals set thus far are as follows:

  1. Develop a storm water management plan for compliance with the Clean Water Act.
  2. Develop plan for preventing, minimizing and reducing pollutant loading and flow variability which produce unacceptable impacts.
  3. Maximize opportunity for recreational uses by inhabitants of the Subwatershed.
  4. Enhance and preserve a healthy and diverse ecosystem compatible with land uses within the Middle One Subwatershed.
  5. Develop a plan to minimize the negative impacts of excessive flooding on adjacent property including erosion.
  6. Establish water quality/quantity monitoring program to evaluate progress.

 

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in helping to restore and protect the Rouge River in the Middle One Subwatershed, there are many ways to get involved. See the How to Get Involved page of this Web site for ideas...

 

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Last Updated: 8/13/02

Please address all comments and suggestions about the contents of this Web page to rougeweb@co.wayne.mi.us.

The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project is funded, in part, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants #XP995743-01, -02, -03, -04, -05, -06, -08 and C-264000-01.