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The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project Eighteen Years of Documented Success

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The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project (Rouge Project) was provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate that a watershed-wide approach to restoring and protecting an urban river system by using a cooperative, locally based approach to pollution control could restore a highly polluted urban river. More importantly, they were given the funds to document their success.

The Rouge Project took a more holistic approach and considered the impacts from all sources of pollution and use impairments in receiving waters by using known watershed management techniques. The traditional piecemeal approach of focusing only on sources of pollution or a group of sources had not achieved the desired results nor did it achieve the acceptance of the residents of the watershed. The Rouge Project demonstrated several very important elements of using the watershed management approach including the need to: analyze all of the various sources of stressors to the water quality problems in a watershed-physical, chemical and biological; establish a hierarchy of pollution sources in a watershed-point sources and nonpoint sources-based upon the adverse water quality impacts of those sources; and keep reinforcing, at a watershed level, the concept of prioritizing the control of those sources and the other stressors to get desired environmental protection; recognize it may take a long time to correct some of these pollution sources or other physical, chemical or biological stressors so it is important to prioritize the control programs to get the maximum environmental improvement as soon as possible; critically assess the cumulative watershed impacts to quantitatively assess the physical, chemical and biological processes and then fashion the watershed-based solutions to prevent treating the symptoms rather than effecting a cure.

This Presentation includes summaries on millions of data points including chemical, biological and physical parameters that document the water quality benefits of the massive investment in the Rouge Project.
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Keywords: CSO control; Lake Restoration; Measures of Success; SSO control; Streambank Stabilization; Urban Storm Water

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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