The Detroit District of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is considering restoring a channelized section of the River Rouge between Michigan Ave. and Rotunda Rd. in Dearborn, according to the USACE website.

An open letter by Jim Galloway, Chief of the Planning Office of the Detroit District of the USACE, encouraged citizens, public groups, and agencies to submit responses to a draft of a “Detailed Project Report” (DPR) on the restorative plans by November 7. According to the letter, the “proposed project would restore valuable aquatic and terrestrial habitats to nearly a mile of [the] concrete channel.”

A section of the river was channelized by the Federal government to reduce the risk of flooding to surrounding areas, which “resulted in the removal of the greenbelt and the entire riparian ecosystem along [that] course of the river,” according to the DPR. The USACE project could help restore wildlife and make the area more attractive in general by removing the concrete banks and replacing them with a “soft-engineered” shore – a more natural riverbank lined with native plants. Combined with ongoing clean-up efforts throughout the River Rouge, the area could eventually attract public recreation in the form of public parks, canoeing, and kayaking.

The DPR states that the “alternative plans considered in this Detailed Project Report (DPR) and Environmental Assessment (EA) all basically employ the removal of the channel’s concrete lining to the Normal Water Surface Elevation (NWSE), with various amounts of bank excavation to enhance the riparian habitat and floodplain.”

The full report can be read here.

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