In Search Of….

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

The Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC) is looking for volunteer field researchers to help search for a rare macroinvertebrate called the Stonefly Nymph.  This creature measures about 7-12 mm long and is most active and easily found in January when the water temperature is very cold.


Finding a Stonefly in your local river or stream is a good indicator that the water quality is high and finding one in the Clinton River will go a long way in helping to dispel the myth that it is still polluted.

If you enjoy being outdoors in winter and would like to search for these telling macroinvertebrates, you can join the CRWC staff at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 21st for their annual Winter Stonefly Search.

Staff and volunteers will meet at the CRWC office at 1115 W. Avon Road in Rochester Hills.  From there, the group will split into teams and travel to 15 different sampling locations throughout the watershed, including Riverside Park in Auburn Hills.  Once teams have finished their site research, all will meet back at the office for pizza, snacks and hot beverages.


Everyone is welcome to join the search.  Participants can bring their own waders but the CRWC will have a few extra pairs on hand for those who choose to get in the water.  The search goes on regardless of the weather so dress warmly.


Registration is required by January 12th.  Please contact the CRWC office at (248) 601-0606 or e-mail to register or for additional information.

Don’t Fall Behind On Yard Clean Up

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

It’s that time of year when folks begin to prepare their yards for the long winter season.  Part of that preparation involves raking and disposing of the leaves that have fallen from the trees.


Unlike last year’s warmer than expected temperatures that attributed to the late leaf drop, this year’s colder November temperatures have resulted in trees losing their leaves well before December rolls in.  This is good news because this gives Auburn Hills residents time to rake, bag and dispose of their leaves and other yard waste before December 1, 2016 – the last yard waste pick-up date of the year.


Don’t get stuck with bags or piles of leaves in your yard.  Prepare to place your bags of leaves and other yard waste at the curb on or before December 1st.

“River Life” Art Project Recognized by Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc.

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Auburn Hills Parks and Recreation Director Brian Marzolf did just that, when he found that five trees lining the river bank in River Woods Park had been irreversibly damaged by a hungry beaver.

Auburn Hills Parks & Recreation Director Brian Marzolf with 2016 Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. Award

Auburn Hills Parks & Recreation Director Brian Marzolf with 2016 Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. Award for “River Life” art project

Brian enlisted the City’s DPW Department and Beautification Commission to take part in a creative solution that transformed the damaged tree trunks into works of art.   He commissioned Chainaw artist Scott Kuefler to create wood carvings that reflect the wildlife that lives in and along the Clinton River.  The carvings now serve as a point of interest on the riverbank for all to enjoy.

2016 Beautification Advisory Commission

2016 Beautification Advisory Commission

In October, Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting and recognizing beautification and restoration projects throughout the State of Michigan, presented the City of Auburn Hills with a Beautification Award for this “River Life” art project.


Carving in the likeness of “the culprit”

The Clinton River and our parks and trails are a source of great pride here in Auburn Hills.  A big thank you to Brian and all the parties involved in this special project.

A Simple Prescription For Clean Water

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Does your medicine cabinet have any unused prescription medicines in it that you no longer need or have passed their expiration date?  If so, do you know there’s a safe and easy way to dispose of your old and unneeded prescription medications that do not harm the environment?


The Auburn Hills Police Department is part of Operation Medicine Cabinet, a program that allows you to drop-off prescription drugs with no questions asked.  The benefits of the program are far-reaching, from preventing prescription drugs from entering our water system and environment to protecting our youth from the harmful misuse of prescription drugs.


Now it’s easier than it has ever been before.  The Auburn Hills Police Department installed a drop-off bin a couple years ago in the lobby of the Public Safety Building where you can safely dispose of your old medications seven days a week, no questions asked.

There are only five simple rules:

  • All drugs must be brought in sealed baggies and not in the prescription bottle
  • Only prescription drugs are collected
  • Needles are not accepted.
  • All liquids must be sealed
  • Inhalers and aerosol containers are not accepted

How simple is that?  Help keep our water, environment and our families safe.

Don’t Miss Your Best Chance For A Healthy Lawn

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Not too many people think about fertilizing their lawn in the fall and that’s too bad because now is the best time to give your lawn the nutrients it needs.   Fall is the time of year when you lawn slows its growth while the roots continue to grow and stay active.


According to the lawn care experts at Michigan State University your lawn will store the additional carbohydrates in their root system and use it next spring for a more robust “green-up”.  Another added benefit is that you won’t have to fertilize in the early spring, which often results in rapid top growth and more frequent trips around your property with the lawn mower.


So start a new trend this Fall and take out your lawn spreader one more time to prepare your lawn for a more healthy 2017.

River Clean-Up Volunteers Make A Difference

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Blue skies greeted a small group of volunteers during the Clinton River Clean-Up event held on Saturday, September 24th.  The ten community minded stewards scoured the banks of the river and the grounds of River Woods Park collecting a wide range of garbage and debris.

The efforts undertaken to improve the conditions of the one-half mile stretch of the Clinton River resulted in the removal of 14 bags of garbage.

The efforts undertaken to improve the conditions of the one-half mile stretch of the Clinton River resulted in the removal of 14 bags of garbage.

In addition to improving the environment, the time and efforts committed during the event not only helped improve the quality of life for the entire community but are also helping to prevent some of the harmful and long lasting effects trash and debris can have on our fish and other aquatic species.

Photos of a walleye with a cup lid stuck around it taken this year by an angler on Lake St. Clair.

Photos of a walleye with a cup lid stuck around it taken this year by an angler on Lake St. Clair.

The City of Auburn Hills would like to send out a special thank you to all the volunteers who participated in this year’s clean-up effort.

Help Improve The Health Of Your Local Waterways

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

It’s that time of year when volunteers from all around the Clinton River Watershed have converged on the Clinton River and its tributaries for the Clinton River Watershed Council’s annual Clinton River Clean Up.  Over the last 30 years a large number of residents and businesses volunteered their time to improve the health of the river by clearing log jams and removing a wide range of items, with the most interesting being a riding lawn mower.


The most common reason people volunteer their time to this most worthy event is that they want to help preserve and protect our water resources for our generation and future generations.  The good news is that all the past and present efforts are paying off.  What was once one of the most polluted rivers in Michigan is now clean enough to offer residents a wide range of recreational opportunities including fishing and kayaking.


So if you’re looking for an opportunity to further this effort to improve the health and recreational opportunities of the Clinton River, Auburn Hills will be hosting a clean-up on Saturday, September 24, from 9:00 am to noon at River Woods Park.  Volunteers are advised to wear work clothes and sturdy shoes, as well as a pair of gloves, if you have them.

For additional information please contact Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner by phone at 248-364-6926 or by e-mail at  Advanced notice of participation is appreciated but not required.

If you’re interested in hosting or organizing your own clean-up site, please visit the Clinton River Watershed Council’s website at