Common issues among the Rouge River, Clinton River, and
the U.S. portion of the Detroit River Areas of Concern are
combined sewer overflows, storm water runoff, contami-
he Water Quality Board held its 149  meeting in
nated sediment, and habitat loss.  Other issues include
Romulus, Michigan on March 6-7, 2003.  The WQB
illicit connections and septic system failures.  The WQB is
took advantage of the opportunity to consult with
impressed by the commitment of the local citizenry for the
personnel involved with the Rouge River, Clinton River and
restoration of all three Areas of Concern, including
Detroit River Remedial Action Plans.  The intent was to
education and outreach to secure public involvement,
learn how successes to date had been achieved, today’s key
support, and stewardship.  However, the Remedial Action
issues, factors that inhibit progress, and how the WQB
Plans are at dramatically different points in their work:
could help advance restoration and protection of these
three rivers.  The WQB also was interested in connections
The Rouge River Remedial Action Plan is well orga-
among the three Areas of Concern.
nized and, thus far, funded for planning.  More than
$920 million (USD) has been spent, but an additional
In addition to a tour of selected remediation sites, courtesy
$700 million is needed for infrastructure improve-
of the Wayne County Department of Environment and Ford
Motor Company, the WQB received informative presenta-
ments to comply with permit requirements and
tions and accompanying background material:
corrective action agreements.
After a two-year hiatus, the Clinton River Remedial
Successes and Challenges in the Rouge River Area
Action Plan is now part way through the planning
process.  The Remedial Action Plan does not at present
of Concern.  Kurt Heise, Chair, Remedial Action Plan
provide specifics or priorities in regard to major
Advisory Council and Director, Wayne County Department
problems and their resolution.  Funds are required to
of Environment;  and Joe Rathbun, Michigan Department
support the planning process.
of Environmental Quality.
The U.S. portion of the Detroit River Remedial Action
Status of the Clinton River Area of Concern.  Mark
Plan appears to be at the initial stages of the planning
Richardson, Chair, Public Advisory Council and
process.  Funds are required to support planning.
Assistant Prosecutor, Macomb County Prosecutor’s
The Canadian portion of the Detroit River Remedial
Office;  and Jessica Pitelka Opfer, Executive Director,
Action Plan has implemented a number of remedial
Clinton River Watershed Council.
Detroit River -- U.S. side.  Jeannine Ansley, Chair,
Remedial Action Team Steering Committee.
The driving factors for all three U.S. Areas of Concern is
Detroit River -- Canadian side.  Douglas Haffner,
achievement of compliance with federal and state regula-
University of Windsor and member, Detroit River
tory requirements.  Although restoration of beneficial uses,
Canadian Clean Up Committee.
as called for in the Agreement, are considered, this does
not appear to be a driving force for the Remedial Action
The WQB also had the opportunity to engage in informal
and candid discussions.
A key requirement for the Rouge River, Clinton River, and
the U.S. portion of the Detroit River Remedial Action Plans
Findings of the Great Lakes Water Quality
is funding, as appropriate, to plan and implement remedial
actions, but forthcoming state budget cuts will further
impact local governments’ ability to do so.  The monies are
The WQB presented the following findings and advice to
required to meet regulatory requirements;  the Rouge River
the IJC on May 8, 2003.
Remedial Action Plan has considered but has not costed out
the additional funds required to restore beneficial uses.
The key points emerging from the consultation were the
Another key need for the three Remedial Action Plans is
more active engagement and direction by the federal and