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The Rouge River Project
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1999 Public Opinion Survey

The Rouge project strategy to guide its public information and stakeholder involvement activities has significantly increased public awareness of the Rouge River watershed since its inception in 1992. In 1999, a telephone public opinion survey was conducted to evaluate the more recent success of the strategy and to guide further public involvement and education activities associated with implementation of Michigan's voluntary general storm water permit.

The growth of knowledge and awareness of the Rouge River and current restoration efforts among the public was very significant between 1993 and 1999. The 1999 survey confirmed many of the public opinions and perceptions found in a 1993 survey, with some important exceptions. In 1999, about one-third of those interviewed indicated that they believed that the most significant source of pollution to this urbanized watershed was due to industrial/commercial discharges. One- third believed municipal combined sewer overflows (CSOs) were the most significant, and one-third thought storm water runoff was the most uncontrolled source of pollutants. The Rouge Project spent considerable effort between 1993 and 1999 in providing information to the public on these very issues.

Few people in the watershed were aware (9 %)of the Rouge Project when the 1993 survey was conducted. The results of the 1999 survey, however, indicated that a significant portion (41 %)of the adults in the watershed are now aware of this cooperative local, state, and federal effort to restore the Rouge River. Many 1999 survey respondents also indicated that they had changed some of their individual actions, such as the type, amount, or application frequency of fertilizers, pesticides, and other garden chemicals.

With regard to the broader realm of environmental concerns, the results of the 1999 survey indicated that more people now rank environmental concerns in general higher in terms of public priorities than in 1993.

Overall, public concern about the environment, including water quality, within the Rouge watershed has increased significantly between 1993 and 1999. The Rouge River public opinion surveys have been highly effective in evaluating the success of public education efforts and in monitoring stakeholder optimism and support for river protection and restoration efforts.


Last Updated: 9/26/01

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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, -07 and C-264000-01.