MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – The Clinton River Watershed Council exists for one reason: to keep harmful pollutants out of our Metro Detroit waterways.
On Tuesday (May 30), the council partnered with a city in Macomb County for a unique project.
Under the sun’s harsh glare, volunteers in Center Line built gardens.
“It is definitely warm, but they guys have been working really hard today,” said Center Line Mayor Bob Vinson.
He was one of the volunteers.
“I won’t ask anybody to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” Vinson said.
They built rain gardens aimed at protecting the Clinton River.
They planted nearly 1,000 native plants on the four corners of a recently repaved city parking lot that used to be prone to flooding.
“This allows us to capture that water, for those pollutants to be filtered out with the plant and the soil before it goes back eventually into the river,” said Clinton River Watershed Council Executive Director Jennifer Hill.
The pollutants include oil from cars and salt in the winter.
The Clinton River watershed spans 760 square miles. It’s the most populated watershed in Michigan, with over 1.5 million people, according to the Clinton River Watershed Council.
The project is part of the CRWC’s Watertown program, which helps cities improve water quality.
“We have a lot of impervious surfaces here in the Clinton River watershed because it’s a highly populated area with a lot of development, so that means a lot of places where water can’t run into the ground,” Hill said.
Hill said that the gardens would make a big difference despite their size.
“This particular installation can trap 36,000 gallons of stormwater in one rain event, so a lot of water could be trapped by what are pretty small gardens,” Hill said.