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If you live in MI you live in a watershed

Have you ever been asked if you live in a watershed? Only to realize you aren’t sure, because you don’t really know what a watershed is. This is not uncommon. The term watershed is not historically well-known; however, it is starting to make its way into our conversations. Why? Let’s start with defining what a watershed is.

ARC One Water Video

A watershed, also referred to as a drainage basin, is the land area that delivers rain and snow/ice melt to a stream or lake. Watersheds are divided by a ridge of high land which serves to separate two (or more) areas drained by different river systems. So, do you live in a watershed? Absolutely! Everyone who lives in Michigan, lives in a watershed.

Which Rouge River Sub-watershed Do You Live In?


Rouge watershed in Michigan

Location of Rouge River Watershed in Michigan

Main 3-4 subwatershed Middle 3 subwatershed Lower 2 subwatershed Lower 1 subwatershed Middle 1 subwatershed subwatershed Upper subwatershed Main 1-2 subwatershed subwatershed

Wayne, Washtenaw and Oakland County residents live in the Rouge River Watershed (and sometimes more than one!) Click on the area you live in above to see which sub-watershed you are in.

So why is this important to know? No matter where you are at any given time, you are in a watershed, and your actions directly impact the health of that watershed. Additionally, the health of that watershed impacts you, everyone around you, and even the communities downstream. When rain and snow/ice melt travel across the land (watershed) and through storm drains, it is called stormwater or runoff. As this runoff travels it picks up trash, contaminants, sediments and dissolved substances along the way until it discharges into the nearest water body. Small streams join to form rivers and flow across sloping land, eventually flowing into a lake. These bodies of water impacted by runoff provide recreational opportunities, habitat for wildlife, and even drinking water for communities. By keeping our cars from leaking, litter off the streets, and properly disposing of animal and chemical wastes we are being good stewards by protecting not only the health of our watershed but also ourselves and everything downstream.

Keep your eye out for road signs around town letting you know that you are in the Rouge River watershed! In the last few years the ARC has added or replaced 141 new signs to area roads (see map of new sign locations). If you see a road sign - let us know! The more people that know they live in a watershed the better! Your actions while in that watershed have an affect on water quality! Learn ways to protect it!


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Phone | 734-768-2180

46036 Michigan Ave., Suite 126 | Canton, Michigan 48188