Funding and ParntersIn 2002 funding from CMI and the Rouge Project restored 13 acres of aquatic wetland and upland habitat and hydrolically reconnected the oxbow to the Rouge River. In 2005 Ford Motor Company funded the restoration of the southeast open cut connection of the Oxbow to the Rouge River. In 2015 the Alliance of Rouge Communities (ARC) received approximately $256,000 in grant funds provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for design. In 2016 the northeast open cut connection of the Oxbow to the Rouge River began through a portion of an almost $8.7M GLRI grant received by Wayne County for 3 projects (the Oxbow at The Henry Ford, Nankin Lake, and the Fishway at the Henry Ford Estate) Grant #GL-00E02040-0. Partners in this project include the U.S. EPA, GLRI, NOAA, The Henry Ford, Wayne County, the ARC and the Rouge River Advisory Council (RRAC)
Where and WhenThe Oxbow is located at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan along the Lower Branch of the Rouge River. Project design and construction began in 2002 and completed in 2019.
Native plants and seed mixes chosen for the Oxbow Restoration Project enhanced habitat for wildlife and increase opportunities for wildlife viewing. Native plants installed along rivers and streams provide food and shelter for a variety of insects, amphibians, reptiles, songbirds, mammals and fish. The open cut helps maintain a healthy population of prey species for many resident fish, which can help to produce big and healthy recreational sport fish. The Oxbow serves as a nursery spot for younger fish and the reconnection to the Rouge River can provide more access to the young fishes residing in the Rouge River seeking nursery habitat. The project provides benefits to a number of native amphibian and reptile species by providing turtles in the river cover and refuge in the backwater area of the Oxbow. The natural shoreline and muddy bottom of the Oxbow will provide habitat that can be used for foraging, cover, breeding and nursery, and overwintering refuge that the Rouge River in this area does not provide. The Oxbow Restoration Project included the installation of habitat features that benefit amphibians and reptiles such as basking logs, woody aquatic structure, hibernacula sites, and nesting locations. The Oxbow Restoration Project benefits birds, mammels, insects and pollinators with improved habitat.
Summary of Overall Restoration Activities
Photo Gallery of the Northeast Open Cut
Aerial view of closed off oxbow
Project area prior to cut to the Rouge River
Work begins to connect Oxbow to the Rouge River
Channel cut to the Rouge River
Finished project conntecting the Oxbow to the Rouge River