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Local Officials Can Explore Rouge River Watershed through Michigan Water School

The Erb Family Foundation and Pure Oakland Water are partnering with Michigan State University Extension and Rouge River Watershed Council by offering scholarships to help elected officials protect local water resources.

Watersheds in Michigan often cross multiple political jurisdictions and often suffer from complex water quality, quantity and policy issues that impact the overall physical and economic health and well-being of citizens. As a result, decisions made regarding local water resources should be a multi-jurisdictional collaboration to insure that water quality protection activities have the most successful outcomes.  Michigan Water School brings together local officials and staff. Local and state water organizations, departments and groups to engage in a variety of educational activities, discussions and tours to learn, network and begin the process of jointly making decisions about local water resources.

The next Michigan Water School is being held in the Rouge River Watershed.  Michigan Water School, is a joint effort between Michigan State University ExtensionMichigan Sea Grant and local organizations. This policy-neutral, fact-based program is being held in partnership with the Rouge River Watershed Council on September 26 and 27, 2019, at the Northville Township Hall, 44405 Six Mile Rd., Northville, MI 48168. 

Rouge River Watershed

The River Rouge is a 127-mile river southeast Michigan. The 467-square-mile watershed includes all or parts of 48 municipalities and a total population of more than 1.35 million. It drains large areas of central and northwest Wayne County and southern Oakland County as well as a small area in eastern Washtenaw County. It flows into the Detroit River at Zug Island. Nearly the entire drainage basin is in urban and suburban areas. The river has diverse residential and industrial development while still having more than 50 miles of the River Rouge flow through public lands, making it one of the most accessible rivers in the state.

Supporting Michigan’s water strategy

The State of Michigan and most Michigan Tribal Nations have each outlined a water resources strategy with priority measures that support and provide an understanding of water principles, values, and concepts including water stewardship and data-driven decision making. Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Water School: Essential Resources for Local Officials supports the state’s water strategy. This two-day training/tour will provide elected and appointed officials and their staff at all governmental levels a better understanding of their role in protecting their water resources.

Water School features a combination of in-class presentations, hands-on learning activities, interactive demonstrations and field tours. The program includes sessions on local water issues in the community and region, water quantity, water quality, economics, finance, planning, and water policy issues as well as a half-day field tour to enhance classroom content through highlighting innovative practices in the Rouge River Watershed.

Scholarships available

The cost for the two-day program, which includes all materials, lunches, refreshments and tour transportation, is $175 per person. Two different scholarships are now available:                         

  • Through an Erb Family Foundation grant, MSUE is able to provide scholarships to the first 20 people who request one. Scholarships are awarded on a reimbursement Individuals must include full payment at registration. The scholarship amount is reimbursed upon completion of all program requirements. This scholarship is open to all participants on a first-come basis. 
  • Pure Oakland Water (POW), is supporting elected and appointed officials and their staff from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties through a full scholarship to attend the Michigan Water School. Pure Oakland Water is dedicated to protecting Oakland County and regional water resources through public education, community organizing, environmental advocacy and promotion of a sustainable future. POW chairman Jim Nash, who is also the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, sits on the Michigan Water School Advisory Committee. These scholarships for MSU Water School programs are available through September 30, 2019. Request a scholarship.

For more information or to request one of the scholarships, contact Mary Bohling, Extension Educator at (313) 410-9431. Deadline to register for the Rouge River Water School is September 16, 2019

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