There is good news about the health of the River Raisin.
The DEQ’s Office of the Great Lakes announced significant progress in the River Raisin’s environmental recovery downstream.
The River Raisin’s headwaters are at Vineyard Lake. From there, the small stream flows to Brooklyn and begins picking up steam where Goose Creek (which flows under M-50 near Brooklyn Ford) enters.
By the time the river gets to Manchester it has widened considerably, and when it reaches Monroe County it is a full-fledged river before flowing into Lake Erie.
However, there has been problems downstream.
In Monroe County, the River Raisin was designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern in 1985 due to severe environmental degradation from industrial and municipal pollution.
Areas of Concern are locations within the Great Lakes Basin that suffered “significant environmental damage.” They are defined by beneficial use impairments – specific ecological problems that must be addressed to achieve recovery.
This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the River Raisin is on the road to recovery by removing its Loss of Fish & Wildlife Habitat and Degradation of Fish & Wildlife Populations beneficial use impairments. While that sounds like a mouthful, what that means the fish and wildlife habitat in the River Raisin has vastly improved and can support healthy populations.
According to the DEQ, the restoration was made possible due toover $6.5 million from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The habitat restoration projects were implemented by the City of Monroe and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and included eight projects to remove or retrofit dams from the 1930s to provide a passage for fish, as well as four wetland restoration projects in Sterling State Park, which is located in Monroe.