Friends of the Rouge Launches “RainSmart” Campaign

DEARBORN — A local nonprofit environmental group launched a new campaign June 7 to help local residents reduce dirty water runoff in their neighborhoods.

The Friends of the Rouge’s “RainSmart” campaign will offer services to help homeowners in neighborhoods surrounding Johnson and Tonquish creeks do their part to control this runoff.

“Flooded basements, flooded streets, and dirty creeks share a common cause, and that’s too much dirty water runoff during big storms,” said Matthew Bertrand of the Friends of the Rouge. “Rain gardens are a way to make a difference with all these problems at once.”

A rain garden is a garden “with a job to do” — controlling puddles and keeping basements dry by soaking up water running off of roofs, driveways, walkways, and other hard surfaces. Rain gardens usually feature native wildflowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Rain gardens help prevent floods and pollution in Rouge River. They capture water that might otherwise carry lawn chemicals and mud into the river. Friends of the Rouge has set a goal of helping install rain gardens on 36 properties by fall of 2019.

The RainSmart campaign will focus on neighborhoods in Northville, Canton, Plymouth, Westland, and Salem Township. The Friends of the Rouge will offer the following services to residents of these communities:

The RainSmart Challenge. The Friends invite local residents to watch how rain and melting snow flows across their property and share what they see to enter the RainSmart Challenge at Those who do will be entered into a drawing for a free rain barrel and a RainSmart home visit.

RainSmart Workshops. Homeowners can attend free workshops to learn more about the benefits of rain gardens on their property, and how to get started. The next Living Lawns and (Rain) Gardens workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon June 16 at the Plymouth District Library, 223 S. Main St. For more information, go to

Expert Help and Financial Support. Friends of the Rouge will offer expert assistance and rebates to help up to 12 homeowners install rain gardens on their property.

Master Rain Gardener Workshops. More advanced green thumbs can attend in-depth workshops on rain garden design, so they can become resources for their neighbors. The first master rain gardener workshop will be held at 9:30 a.m. July 12 at the Plymouth Township Hall, 9955 N. Haggerty, Plymouth.

The Friends of the Rouge set a goal of helping homeowners plant 1,000 rain gardens by 2025. Homeowners can learn more at: