The Rouge Green Corridor flows through Birmingham, Beverly Hills, and Southfield in southeast Oakland County.
Meandering through the southeast corner of Oakland County, the main branch of the Rouge River paints a green band through neighborhoods and business districts. This urban river, with clear water flowing over smooth rocks and past shady wooded banks, has changed since the time of European settlement, but still provides a haven for wildlife and people to enjoy.
Over the past 15 years, efforts at improving the river’s water quality have paid off. Monitoring of the water quality in this stretch of the river has shown dramatic improvements in bacteria levels and dissolved oxygen levels- both indicators that investments in stormwater management and combined sewer overflow facilities are paying off. These accomplishments have inspired a new name — the Rouge Green Corridor. This segment of the Rouge River, and its tributaries, runs through Birmingham, Beverly Hills, and Southfield. In the last several years. the communities have directed attention beyond water quality to focus on stewarding the overall habitat of the Rouge Green Corridor. Recent inventories of the Corridor by biologists show that the river and its adjacent woods support five kinds of turtles, two kinds of snakes, and seventeen species of mammals. Aquatic invertebrates found in the corridor include flathead and small minnow mayflies and net spinner caddisflies. Several uncommon plant species, including the Special Concern species Twinleaf ( Jeffersonia diphylla) reside in the Corridor. The Corridor also has the largest and most diverse population of freshwater mussels in the Rouge Watershed. Threats to habitat along the corridor are many and varied, so a concerted effort to inventory and plan for habitat preservation and improvement is necessary.
Phase I of the Project (Rouge Green Corridor Identity Project) was funded in part by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency via the Rouge River Wet Weather Demonstration Project. The project developed a logo and identity for the Rouge Green Corridor, and applied these identity tools in a self-guided tour brochure and a large-scale educartional map and stewardship guide.
Phase II of the Project (Rouge Green Corridor Urban Habitat Conservation & Stewardship Project) was funded in part by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and has the following goals:
1. Prepare a plan to manage habitat along the Rouge Green Corridor.
2. Create a landscape-scale green infrastructure plan.
3. Create a river corridor-scale detailed natural resource inventory and management plan for the terrestrial and aquatic resources.
4. Conduct four habitat improvement demonstration projects to be used for public outreach initiatives communicating the habitat inventory, habitat plan, green infrastructure plan, and the role of active stewardship of river corridors in urban areas.
5. Conduct a workshop to educate private riparian landowners on ways to manage habitat on their land.
City of Birmingham
City of Southfield
Village of Beverly Hills
Friends of the Rouge (FOTR)
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office (WRC)
Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services (OCPEDS)
Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy
Southeast Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA)
Source: Oakland County Michigan