Why We Are Here: Earth Force’s long standing partnership with General Motors prompted the GREEN program’s establishment in Rouge River watershed.
The Rouge River Watershed is within the metropolitan Detroit region, with a history of automotive growth and decline . There are over 1.5 million people in 48 municipalities throughout the watershed. Over the three county span (Washtenaw, Wayne and Oakland), the land is more than 50% urbanized, with less than 25% remaining undeveloped as natural habitat. The Rouge River watershed drains 467 square miles, including 126 miles of river and numerous tributaries. The main concerns in the watershed are runoff from paved surfaces, as well as combined sewer overflow, which discharge during heavy rainfall. Some core environmental justice issues in Detroit are water access, water utility rates and water pollution for low-income residents.
This is an incredibly diverse watershed, including large Arab American, African American, Mexican American and Polish neighborhoods
Demographics: Detroit Community Schools - 81% of all students served are receiving free/reduced lunch
28.3% of families were below poverty level throughout Detroit.
According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the racial composition of Milford was:
• White: 15.39%
• Black or African American: 77.20%
• Native American: 0.32%
• Asian: 1.55%
• Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.01%
• Some other race: 3.94%
• Two or more races: 1.59%
• Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 7.08%
Source: American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. "Detroit, Michigan - ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2006-2008". Factfinder.census.gov. link. Retrieved 2010.
What We Are Doing: Our partner, Friends of the Rouge, organizes the Rouge Education Project, a water monitoring program integrated with GREEN, throughout Detroit and surrounding suburbs. We are currently looking to work with six new schools through the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMIS). We’ve applied for a NOAA Great Lakes Bay-Watershed Education and Training Program grant to develop a summer institute with Detroit schools and SEMIS. We hope to engage our GM mentors in this work, as Detroit is the headquarters for the General Motors Corporation, and the home of the Detroit-Hamtramck Volt Assembly Plant.
Earth Force History in this Community: Friends of the Rouge is a non-profit started in 1986 to raise awareness about the health of the Rouge River in Southeast Michigan, and is one of the first GREEN programs with a 25 year history of water monitoring. Their mission is “To promote restoration and stewardship of the Rouge River ecosystem through education, citizen involvement and other collaborative efforts, for the purpose of improving the quality of life for the people, plants, and animals of the watershed” (www.therouge.org). For over twenty years, four participating GM facilities within the Rouge River watershed have been active in promoting Earth Force in its regional GREEN program. General Motors environmental engineers and policy advocates at GM headquarters continue to make this site an exciting community based partnership.
Number of Youth: 0
Number of Educators: 0
Participating Partners: Friends of the Rouge – www.therouge.org
General Motors – www.gm.com
Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition - http://semiscoalition.org/
Participating School Districts: Detroit Community Schools - http://www.detcomschools.org/