DETROIT— Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) applaud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent awarding of a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant of $1,834,555 to the Alliance of Rouge Communities (ARC) for habitat restoration projects at Colonial Park and Venoy Dorsey Park along the Lower Rouge River in Wayne County, Michigan. The agency has long identified the Rouge as an Area of Concern (AOC), one of 43 areas experiencing severe environmental degradation identified by the United States and Canada in the Great Lakes basin, so its decision to put a meaningful amount of funding into restoring it is a welcome one by the Congresswomen representing its surrounding communities.
“This funding is a critical step toward ensuring our Rouge River communities no longer suffer the poor water quality and flooding they have faced for decades,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “I look forward to seeing the meaningful difference the ARC will make with it. In the meantime, I will continue fighting to hold the EPA and corporate polluters accountable for actions in direct contradiction with this one so that the much-needed progress toward a clean, healthy environment in Wayne County and beyond is not delayed.”
“This critical support will restore wetlands to improve fish and wildlife habitat while also reducing flooding with natural wetland management,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “Another excellent example of the great work of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supporting communities and jobs in our region. By taking care of our region’s natural resources, GLRI creates good paying jobs and protects the health and beauty the lakes and surrounding waterways have to offer.”
“The ARC appreciates EPA’s continued partnership with our fourth recent GLRI habitat grant,” said ARC Chair Doug Moore. “This grant will go to supporting our efforts in restoring beneficial uses of the Rouge River to the area residents. The ARC was set up to provide an institutional mechanism to encourage watershed-wide cooperation and mutual support towards efforts like this. It is our member organizations, like Wayne County on this project, that make that happen. Without Wayne County providing the public land and EPA providing the grant funding we would not be able to make this type of impact.”
According to an EPA press release, the ARC will use GLRI funding to create and restore wetlands at Colonial Park and Venoy Dorsey Park in the highly urbanized Rouge River watershed. Both parks are used for recreation but are prone to frequent flooding. The new and enhanced wetlands will help manage floodwater and provide more habitat for fish and wildlife. Invasive plant species will also be treated and native species will be planted. Overall, the projects are expected to provide six acres of new wetlands, three acres of improved wetland habitat, five acres of native tree plantings and a half acre of new native meadow habitat.
For more information about Rouge River AOC, including the latest news on restoration projects and partnering organizations, click here.