Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) Restoration of the Rouge River

Detroit, Michigan, USA

The Urban Collaboratory is working with the USEPA and the Great Lakes Water Authority to identify locally funded wastewater projects that have the potential to provide the 35% local match for additional GLLA cleanup efforts on the Rouge. Specific water quality benefits will need to be linked to local GLWA projects in order to justify match requirements. The benefit of these Federal dollars to the region could well exceed $100,000,000 if the critical local match can be secured.

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Restoring the Rouge River

The Rouge River is located in southeastern Michigan and was designated as an Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1987. The boundaries include the main branch of the Rouge River, Upper Rouge River, Middle Rouge River, and Lower Rouge River. The Rouge River watershed drains 466 square miles into the Detroit River and encompasses 48 communities. The Rouge River watershed contains the oldest and most heavily populated and industrialized area in southeast Michigan. Over the years, sediment and water contamination from industrial development and discharge, combined and sanitary sewer overflows, and nonpoint source pollution have impacted sediment quality in the Rouge River.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act provides federal funding to accelerate contaminated sediment remediation in Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The Legacy Act was authorized in 2002 with the first appropriation in 2004. The Act was reauthorized in 2008. In this unique Federal cleanup program, industry typically partners with USEPA to undertake sediment remediation and then subsequent habitat restoration activities in Areas of Concern. Through the Great Lakes Legacy Act, the EPA pays up to 65 percent of the approved project cost. A minimum of 35 percent of the approved project cost must come from a non-federal partner.

Since 2010, USEPA has been working under a Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) partnership to investigate, design, and clean up a 0.75-mile stretch of the Lower Rouge River Old Channel (LRROC). The LRROC is a highly industrialized federal navigation channel. The multi-year cleanup effort is to be conducted in two phases. The first phase, conducted in 2018 and 2019, included the installation of a sheet pile wall along 2,500 feet of the shoreline. The second phase, which is anticipated to re-start in 2023, will include dredging and capping of contaminated sediment on the river.

In this project, the Urban Collaboratory is working with the USEPA and the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) to identify locally funded wastewater projects that have the potential to provide the 35% local match for additional GLLA cleanup efforts on the Rouge. Specific water quality benefits will need to be linked to local GLWA projects in order to justify match requirements. The benefit of these Federal dollars to the region could well exceed $100,000,000 if the critical local match can be secured.

https://www.epa.gov/great-lakes-aocs/rouge-river-aoc

Funding Source

USEPA

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