ARC ACCOMPLISHMENTSEstablished a model for cooperative watershed approaches to storm water management that resulted in a new statewide watershed permit option for meeting federal and state storm water discharge requirements Funded technical support and facilitation for seven Subwatershed Advisory Groups that developed and implemented individual subwatershed management plans that have become state and national models for cooperative storm water management Prepared and distributed materials/information/ideas among members that have reduced the cost and increased the effectiveness of pollution control efforts Reduced the cost of compliance with storm water permits through the development of templates for required reports, and support of joint activities including the development and distribution of informational and educational materials Supported extensive cooperative river monitoring to determine the effectiveness of various pollution control activities (the river monitoring program is the most extensive in the state and perhaps one of the most extensive in the nation) Completed three comprehensive surveys of watershed residents to evaluate the effectiveness of public information and education efforts Organized and presented workshops for elected and appointed officials and the general public Provided training for agency employees on required illicit discharge detection and elimination efforts Advocated on behalf on members in support of passage of Watershed Alliance legislation and in discussions with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to improve the efficiency of permit requirements and increase the effectiveness of storm water discharge permit requirements Addressed the concerns of the U.S. District Court that has overseen the pollution control efforts in the Rouge River since the early 1970s Documented measurable improvements in the Rouge River and restoration of beneficial uses Formed the first Michigan Watershed Alliance under a state law developed and modeled after the cooperative agreement designed by Rouge watershed communities On April 12, 2011 the ARC received its 501(c)(3) designation letter (effective April 2009) from the IRS Rouge River Watershed Management Plan prepared (Final - June 21, 2012) Revised the ARC's Bylaws and they were adopted by the Full ARC on November 7, 2012 and Ratified by ARC Membership in April 2013 Developed Collaborative Plans for PPP, PEP, IDEP and TMDL to meet community MS4 Permits Successfully completed more than 25 federally-funded habitat restoration projects totalling more than $18 million in the Rouge River watershed
KEY EVENTS IN THE ROUGE RIVER'S PROGRESS1987 – The International Joint Commission designated the Rouge River as one of the 43 most polluted areas in the Great Lakes 1989 – The first Rouge River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) was completed and endorsed by a majority of the watershed communities that has been updated periodically (2005 RAP Update) 1991 – The United States District Court, at the urging of local communities, facilitated a phased process for correcting combined sewer overflows (CSOs) affecting the river 1992 – With the bipartisan assistance of the Michigan congressional delegation Wayne County received the first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant for the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project (Rouge Project) 1994 – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan strongly urged the 48 local public agencies within the Rouge River watershed to adopt a more comprehensive approach to control pollution from sources other than CSOs under the authority of the Michigan Drain Code 1994 – As an alternative to the Michigan Drain Code Inter-County Drain Authority proposed by the U.S. District Court, and to comply with the pending U.S. EPA storm water regulations, a group of local agencies and communities within the Rouge River watershed proposed a watershed-based approach to the control of pollution sources related to storm water discharges 1997 – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality adopted the unique watershed approach to storm water management developed and proposed by local agencies participating in the Rouge Project that would subsequently become a statewide alternative for meeting Phase II federal storm water discharge requirements 2001 – A drafting committee, representing watershed communities and the three counties in the Rouge River watershed developed the framework for a new watershed organization that would assist the local governments meet the requirements of their watershed-based, storm water NPDES discharge permits 2003 – Thirty-eight cities, townships and villages and three counties within the Rouge River watershed formed a partnership to address their storm water permit requirements under the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing the Rouge River Watershed Local Management Assembly 2005 – The Rouge River Watershed Local Management Assembly supported the passage of state legislation to authorize local governments to form watershed alliances that was subsequently signed into law January 3, 2005 as Act No. 517, Public Acts of 2004 2006 – The Alliance of Rouge Communities was formed under the new state laws and held its first meeting in January 2011 - The Alliance of Rouge Communities received IRS 501(3)(c) designation. (effective April 2009) 2012/2013 - Updated Bylaws adopted by the Full ARC on November 7, 2012 and Ratified by ARC Membership in April 2013. Future revisions were done in 2014 and 2020.
The Preamble to the 2005 Alliance of Rouge Communities Bylaws provides a narrative description of the events leading to the formation of the Rouge River Watershed Local Government Assembly and its transition into the ARC.
Funding for these activities as well as for the staff support of the ARC and its committees is raised through assessments to members based upon an allocation formula that gives equal weight to the population and land area for community contributions and a similar weighted assessment for non-community, public agency members. Local contributions are used to match grant dollars that currently represent nearly fifty percent of the annual ARC budget.
By of August 2007, 40 communities, three counties and the Wayne County Airport Authority had adopted the ARC bylaws. Today, in 2020, 35 communities are members along with three counties (Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw), the Wayne County Airport Authority and 3 educational institutions (Henry Ford College, Schoolcraft College and the University of Michigan-Dearborn). The ARC also includes several Cooperating Partners including Cranbrook Institute of Science, Friends of the Rouge, Great Lakes Water Authority, Rouge River Advisory Council, SEMCOG. Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority and The Henry Ford.
This web site serves as the primary tool for disseminating information about the ARC. The web site is intended to provide information to all members on the status of activities and actions, provide interested citizens and organizations the ability to monitor progress of the ARC, learn more about the Rouge River Watershed and identify meetings they may like to attend.