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Newburgh Lake
Returned to a Resource for All to Enjoy!


Newburgh Lake (photo taken by Michael Previous)

A Lake Reborn
By: Bill Semion, Michigan Out-of-Doors Magazine, Michigan United Conservation Clubs

State Lifts Consumption Ban on Three Types of Fish in Newburgh Lake
Good news! On August 13, 2003, the State of Michigan declared that certain species of fish in Newburgh Lake can be safely consumed.

For many years, Newburgh Lake had offered excellent recreational opportunities for the citizens in the Rouge River Watershed. Newburgh Lake was created in the early 1900s. Over the years, sediments accumulated which significantly degraded the recreational quality of Newburgh Lake. Shallow water depths resulting from the sediment accumulation and nutrient-rich water led to excessive growth of aquatic plants. Moreover, some of these sediments contain toxic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that entered the food chain and contaminated the fish which resulted in a potential human health hazard associated with fish consumption. To eliminate this possible hazard and other water quality problems, it was necessary to remove the contaminated sediments. This lead to the Newburgh Lake Restoration Project which focused on the following objectives:

  • Eliminate PCB fish advisory
  • Enhance water quality
  • Enhance recreation

Planning for the restoration project began in 1993 followed by the final design being completed in 1996 with construction starting in April 1997 and completion in October 1998.

The most challenging phase of the project was the excavation and removal of 558,000 tons of sediments, much of which was contaminated with PCBs. Beyond sediment removal, 7 acres of fish spawning beds and habitat structures were built throughout the lake bottom; 10 acres of beneficial aquatic vegetation were planted in constructed shoal areas; 28,000 pounds of PCB contaminated fish were eradicated and removed from the lake and its adjacent waterways; over 30,000 fish of various species were restocked; and numerous shoreline and infrastructure upgrades were made to enhance the recreational use of the surrounding park area.

For a brief, two page summary of the Newburgh Lake Restoration Project click on the following: Newburgh Lake Restoration Project Profile. To obtain additional details on the pollution problems that existed in Newburgh Lake, see What was the Pollution Problem?. To see a brief description of the overall restoration plan see What was the Restoration Plan?. Shortly after the restoration project was completed, the Rouge Project developed a summary document of what had been accomplished in the Lake restoration along with projections of what anticipated changes would occur over the next three years. That document can be viewed at How Newburgh Lake Has Changed. For photographs of the project see Newburgh Lake Photo Library. Individuals need to take an active role in eliminating future pollution problems in Newburgh Lake. For information on that subject see Our Actions Affect Newburgh Lake. By clicking on Reports, access is obtained to detailed technical reports on the Newburgh Lake Restoration Project. Within the listing are the following reports: "Newburgh Lake Restoration", "Sediment Remediation Techniques, Review of Existing References with Application to Newburgh Lake", and "Wayne County Newburgh Lake Restoration Project Final Construction Report".

Newburgh Lake Restoration

Last Updated: 1/14/2005

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, -07 and C-264000-01.