Avondale Students Assess the Health Of The Clinton River

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

Just before the end of the school year, over 300 students and teachers from Avondale High School met with mentors from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the City of Auburn Hills at Riverside Park to assess the condition of the Clinton River.

The students conducted a variety of activities such as recording the type and number of organisms found in the river, conducting chemical assessments of the water, measuring the width, depth, and velocity of the river, and evaluating the condition of the river bank.

Avondale High School has been monitoring the health of the river for more than a decade through the Clinton River Watershed Council’s Stream Leaders Program.  The final results of all the data and information collected by the students this year indicate that the segment of the Clinton River flowing through Downtown Auburn Hills is in good condition.

For more information on how you can protect water quality, please visit www.auburnhills.org/stormwater.php

To learn more about the Clinton River Water Council’s Stream Leaders Program, please visit www.clintonriver.org.

River Day: Fishing + Family = Fun!

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

The fish were biting last Saturday, during the 15th Annual Auburn Hills Fishing Derby.  Sixty-seven kids (and their parents) braved the unseasonably chilly temperatures for a chance to catch one of the 850 rainbow trout that were released into the Clinton River at Riverside Park.

Volunteers from Vanguard Trout Unlimited assisted participants with fishing gear and helped unhook fish, which was helpful with many kids landing more than one fish that morning. One of the main reasons so many kids caught a trout that day was due in large part to the generous donations made by Detroit Metro Steelheaders, Clinton Valley Trout Unlimited and General Towing.  Their donation enabled the City almost to double the amount of trout released for the event.

While not every kid was fortunate enough to catch a trout, everyone walked away with a raffle prize. Prizes included tackle boxes, fishing nets, hats, Uncle Buck’s cheese curls and over 60 slightly used rod and reel combos donated by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.

If you missed the derby, there are still plenty of fish and time to test your fishing skills in downtown Auburn Hills Riverside Park or River Woods Park – both located along the banks of the Clinton River.

For those interested in becoming more involved in increasing and/or promoting the fishing opportunities in the area, please visit:

Detroit Area Steelheaders 

Clinton Valley Trout Unlimited

Vanguard Trout Unlimited

For information on what action you can take to protect our water resources and our resident trout population, please visit www.auburnhills.org/stormwater.php or www.crwc.org.

A special thank you to all our Fishing Derby sponsors and supporters.

10th Annual Paddlepalooza Makes A Splash

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

On the cool Saturday morning of June 2nd, 137 kayakers and canoers gathered along the banks of the Clinton River at Riverside Park, in Downtown Auburn Hills, for the 10th Annual Paddleplaooza.   All participants, young and old, were geared up to take the eight-mile trip that ends in Rochester Hills at River Crest Banquet Center.

This year, 20 men participated in the kayak race which was won by Rick Ensley.  The women’s kayak race was won by Gwenn Stevenson, by a 1.18-second margin.  She beat out the six other competitors in the race.  But the closest race of the day and in Paddlepalooza history occurred during the canoe race.  Of the ten teams that entered the canoe race – the team of Lynne Browning and Vince Schrank took home the first place trophy.  They crossed the line just 12 seconds ahead of the 2017 champions.

As for the race for the Mayor’s Challenge Cup – we’re pleased to announce that Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel and Erika McDaniel, successfully defended the Mayor’s Challenge Cup over Team Rochester Hills.  Auburn Hills holds an edge over Rochester Hills who had dominated the race during the first four years.

The remaining 90 paddling enthusiast took a more leisurely pace down the river to better enjoy the scenic views and wildlife often seen throughout the river’s riparian corridor.

Once paddlers reached the end, they all enjoyed a nice lunch on the patio of River Crest, while swapping stories and tall tales of their adventure down the Clinton River.

Race Results

Winners in the One Person Kayak Race – Men’s Division

  1. Rick Ensley (right) 1:16.10
  2. Gerald Dihle (center) 1:17.28
  3. John Carricle (left) 1:18.31

Winners in the One Person Kayak Race – Women’s Division

  1. Gwenn Stevenson (center) 1:25.10
  2. Kristy Jacobson (right) 1:25.30
  3. Stacy Miller-Serota (left) 1:25.10

Winners in the Two-Person Canoe Race

  1. Lynne Browning and Vince Schrank (right) 1:25.12
  2. David and Violet Fiddes (middle) 1:25.24
  3. Bryan Cook and Jeff LaBlank (left) 2:23.55

The Mayor’s Challenge Cup

Mayor Kevin McDaniel (center right) and Erika McDaniel (center right) – Team Auburn Hills and Mayor Bryan Barnett (center left) and Kenneth Barnett (center left) – Team Rochester Hills

To learn more about kayaking and canoeing the Clinton River and all the access points along it, please visit the Clinton River Watershed Council’s Water Trail webpage at http://www.crwc.org/paddling.

Thank you to all the sponsors and supporters:


1,200 Fifth-Grade Students Attend Clinton River Water Festival

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

Clear skies and sunshine greeted the 1,200 students that attended the 12th annual Clinton River Water Festival, which was held on the campus of Oakland University, on May 11th.  Each of the 52 classes, from 21 schools within Oakland County’s section of the Clinton River Watershed, attended five of the 50 sessions that were taught by some of the region’s top professionals, who have firsthand knowledge on the important role water plays in our everyday life.

Sessions included an assortment of topics including pollution prevention, spill response, green infrastructure, aquatic animals, water fowl, plants, lakes and streams, water cycle, hazardous waste, recreation,and more.   When students left the festival, they not only understood how important it is to keep clean but also how to keep it clean, which is knowledge that will last a lifetime.

A special thank you goes out to all the employees and representatives from the following businesses, organizations, municipalities and government agencies who volunteered their time to present or serve as guides at this year’s festival.

2018 Clinton River Water Festival Sponsors and supporters include Pure Oakland Water, Waste Management, Oakland University, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioners Office, Clinton River Watershed Council, Cranbrook Science Institute, and the City of Auburn Hills.

Paddlepalooza Reaches A Milestone

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

Paddlepalooza will reach a milestone this year – its 10th anniversary – on Saturday, June 2nd.   Over the past nine years, more than 1,000 kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts have participated in Paddlepalooza, an event organized by Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills to celebrate Clinton River and demonstrate the recreational value this scenic river has to offer.

Many paddlers return each year to take the 8 mile trip down the Clinton River with friends and family members. While some enjoy viewing the abundant wildlife during their excursion, others enjoy the competition of the kayak or canoe races.  Participants and observers agree that the start of the kayak and canoe races are some of the most entertaining parts of the event.

Those more familiar with this event know about “the race within the race.” Each year Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills enter a team or two into the two-person canoe race to win the coveted “Mayors Challenge Cup.”  Both Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel and Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett have each held the cup in victory over the years, but their competitive spirit pales in comparison to the passion they have for preserving one of this region’s most precious resources, the Clinton River.

If you enjoy kayaking and/or canoeing, come and join the fun.  We hope to surpass last year’s record attendance of 155 participants.  For more information about Paddlepalooza, please visit the following website: http://www.auburnhills.org/community/downtown/paddlepalooza/

Thank you to all the sponsors and supporters:

New Digs For The Auburn Hills Perennial Exchange

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Community Development Executive Assistant

Gardeners from Auburn Hills and twelve surrounding communities met last Saturday morning for their annual rite of spring – the Auburn Hills Perennial Exchange.  This year, the Beautification Advisory Commission (BAC) hosted the exchange on the back patio of the Auburn Hills Community Center – which provided a beautiful green, wooded backdrop.

To kick-off the planting/gardening season, participants received a gift bag filled with gardening goodies including flower seed packets and gardening gloves.  First-time attendees enjoyed talking with experienced gardeners to gain insight on the types of plants available, recommended planting environments and invasive species to avoid.

The Perennial Exchange is an annual event held by the BAC on the third Saturday of May.  Mark your calendars to take part in this fun and free event next year!

A Woman On A Mission

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Community Development Executive Assistant

Two like-minded organizations – Keep Michigan Beautiful (KMB) and the Beautification Council of Southeastern Michigan (BCSEM) – joined together this past Wednesday in Warren to share ideas and information about projects that combat litter in our communities.  I was excited to have the opportunity to attend this unique event on behalf of the City of Auburn Hills.  To start the conversation, they brought in a local expert to share her story.

Audra D. Carson, founder of two blight-busting organizations, shared incredible stories of her volunteer events that cleanup more than just litter.  Her focus is on discarded tires.  While that is not a big problem in some communities, it is in others.  It is a national problem in fact, and Audra has found a way to make a very positive impact in her area.  She shed light on this issue for the diverse audience of southeastern Michigan community representatives – as far-reaching as Midland.

Her company, De-tread, LLC is a non-profit youth initiative that fosters environmental stewardship, civic engagement, and creativity.  During a cleanup, her groups will take on an area, clean it, clear all discarded tires – except a few that they transform into an art installment.  Her efforts have led to growing awareness of this problem while teaching our younger generation to be good stewards of their environment and how to create and maintain welcoming spaces.  Her motto is to “Leave people, places and things better than we found them.”  She is truly inspirational, and all communities can learn from her example.

The key to successful clean-up events is (obviously) volunteers!  The Auburn Hills Beautification Advisory Commission (BAC) invites residents and businesses to get involved in cleanup efforts – whether it’s a small group of friends and family, co-workers or a coordinated event supported by our “Keep It Clean” program.

If you would like to coordinate or volunteer for a clean-up event, or if you want to share details and photos of a cleanup you’ve done, please call me at 248-364-6946 or send an e-mail to beautification@auburnhills.org.  We’d love to share your stories!

Together we make the City of Auburn Hills a beautiful place to live, work and play!