Hubbell, Roth & Clark engineer Prasad Gullapalli talks to a tour group Feb. 28 in Sterling Heights about Clinton River improvement projects, such as removing debris and taking steps to stop shoreline erosion.

Hubbell, Roth & Clark engineer Prasad Gullapalli talks to a tour group Feb. 28 in Sterling Heights about Clinton River improvement projects, such as removing debris and taking steps to stop shoreline erosion.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Local water officials tour Clinton River

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 1, 2019

 The Clinton River Watershed Council said the tour group included local officials interested in learning more about water issues.

The Clinton River Watershed Council said the tour group included local officials interested in learning more about water issues.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Local and county officials recently paid a visit to gain water resource knowledge and to hear how Sterling Heights officials and a federal grant contributed to improving the Clinton River.

The Clinton River Watershed Council, in partnership with Michigan State University, held a two-day Michigan Water School Workshop Feb. 27-28. During the event, Oakland and Macomb county officials learned about water resources, quality and management, as well as their connection to the economy and policy. 

According to organizers, the workshop involved around 24 official participants, as well as around 16 staff members and presenters. 

Although the Michigan Water School Workshop took place in Madison Heights, CRWC Program Manager Kathleen Sexton said it included a field trip to the Clinton River in Sterling Heights. 

The workshop’s Clinton River tour was slated to include the Edison Court area to show off the results of a recent river habitat restoration project. The 9-mile restoration along the river in Sterling Heights and Utica came courtesy of a $4.5 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant.

Sexton called the river field trip a demonstration of putting principles into action.

“This project did do sediment reduction, and it always increased fish habitats,” she said. “These are principles the people are going to be learning about in the project. They also will be learning how to write and request certain grants getting the financing for these projects.”

According to the CRWC, the effort made the environment a friendlier habitat for fish and wildlife by working to “reduce sediment by 230,000 tons” and by introducing 24 new log vane structures, the latter of which are used to control the water flow and protect the riverbanks.

Sterling Heights City Development Director Jason Castor said before the tour that the guests would likely see a couple of locations where the restoration projects were completed, where woody debris blockages were removed to open up the river. He said the new river now lets fishers use it as a natural resource in the summer.

“The Clinton River has been underutilized, I would say, for a long time,” Castor said. “And (we’re) bringing it to the forefront and saying it’s now navigable through Sterling Heights for the first time in a long time and introducing another recreational opportunity in the city, which was not previously available.”

Sexton said the workshop was made possible through a grant provided by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family
Foundation, which funds environmental initiatives, including those dealing with the Great Lakes. Over the next couple of years, the program’s organizers hope to hold seven more similar workshops in southeastern Michigan. The Huron River Watershed Council, the Friends of the Rouge and the Friends of the Detroit River also intend to get involved in workshops in their areas, she said.

Sexton said the next workshops involving the CRWC will be held in December 2019 and June 2020.

Find out more about the Clinton River Watershed Council by visiting www.crwc.org or by calling (248) 601-0606. Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.