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.
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
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.