A Chance to Make a Difference

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator

About 40 years ago, America had a tremendous pollution problem in its waterways.  Why?Well, some businesses made it common practice to dump toxins and garbage into our lakes and streams – even the groundwater.  As a result, no one wanted to go near them.

Rivers should not catch on fire

Close to home, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire twice (1952/1969) and Lake Erie was declared dead.  Something had to be done.

So in 1972, the Federal Government revised the Clean Water Act, which gave the law its current shape.  For those history buffs, the statute was originally enacted in 1948.  In plain english, the goal of the Act has been to make our waters “swimmable and fishable.”  It’s important to understand how far we have come.

Unbelievably, only one-third of America’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters were considered fishable and swimmable back in 1972 .  Today, approximately two-thirds of our waters are healthy.  No doubt, the country has made great progress in reducing pollution.

Here in the City of Auburn Hills, we are now seeing more anglers catching trout at both Riverside Park and River Woods Park along the Clinton River.   An increasing number of kayakers and canoers are visiting our City to begin their journey down the river.  Their quest is often rewarded with some wonderful views of wildlife.

However, even with these improvements many challenges remain and we must continue to work together to protect clean water for our families and future generations.  Everyone has an impact on our waters and we are all responsible for making a difference.

How can you help?  The City of Auburn Hills is having its annual Clinton River Clean Up on Saturday, September 8th from 8:30 am until 12:30 pm.

Volunteers will meet at River Woods Park (N. Squirrel Road, just south of M-59) and then will disperse to cleanup sites along the river.  Folks are advised to wear work clothes and sturdy shoes, as well as gloves.

This is one day everyone – residents, businesses, and community organizations alike – can help make a difference and keep our waters clean.

Volunteers from last year’s Clinton River Cleanup

So, this is a great volunteer opportunity for a variety of different groups from businesses, universities, high schools, religious organizations, boy and girl scout troops, neighborhood groups, and other civic-minded folks.   You can make a huge difference in a short period of time.

Mark your calendars and let us know if you can help.  For more information, please contact Shawn Keenan by phone at 248-364-6926 or by e-mail at skeenan@auburnhills.org.  We would love to see you there!