City named WaterTown

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published July 7, 2015

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Aiming to maximize the potential of the Clinton River, the city has entered a partnership with the Clinton River Watershed Council as a WaterTown.

WaterTowns is a CRWC initiative designed to help cities create water-oriented community development. The Clinton River watershed covers approximately 760 square miles over four counties. The river and its tributaries flow through 60 rural, suburban and urban communities that have a combined population of more than 1.4 million people.

“Our communities are very important to us,” said Anne Vaara, CRWC executive director. “This is a way to reconnect with the communities — helping them get their citizens connected to the water.”

Rochester Hills is the CRWC’s newest WaterTown, joining Rochester, Mount Clemens, Clarkston, Clinton Township, Utica and Sterling Heights.

The Rochester Hills WaterTown effort will focus on green infrastructure development at Yates Park and Bloomer Park. Both parks are located off Avon Road, near Dequindre.

The CRWC will also develop signage for kayaking and canoeing at Yates Park and at Eagle’s Landing, which is located south of Avon Road, on Livernois.

“We are trying to embrace this concept in many different ways — recreation is certainly one of them,” she said. “Paddling, fishing and passive recreation like hiking and biking. You have a couple of really great (river) access points at Yates Park and Eagle’s Landing. ”

The CRWC developed the WaterTowns program three years ago and has conducted visioning sessions, operated kiosks at local events, and helped develop access points to the Clinton River in downtown Rochester and Mount Clemens, Vaara said. 

The program conducts ecological surveys and water quality assessments to help determine the condition of the Clinton River and smaller tributaries.

“We have to pay attention to stormwater and stormwater pollutants,” Vaara said. 

By a unanimous vote June 29, the Rochester Hills City Council approved the partnership to establish Rochester Hills as a WaterTown community.

“I’m excited to see you here tonight bringing us this project,” Rochester Hills City Councilwoman Stephanie Morita said to Vaara. “I’m sure it will be fantastic.”

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