Detroit Metro Times
From Lake Huron to Lake Erie, efforts to protect southeast
Michigan’s waterways have gained new muscle with the creation
of the Greater Detroit Riverkeeper program.
of it as one sprawling network of clean-water activists
coming together under one big umbrella group, which in
turn is linked to the Waterkeeper Alliance, an affiliation
of 89 programs in North and Central America. The entire
effort is the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program
for the environment, with participants protecting their
local waters and the communities that depend upon them.
official recognition from Waterkeepers is a big deal.
Or, as Riverkeeper program director Jim Moran says,
“It’s a ratification of our goal.”
ratification came this summer, but the big public kickoff
will come later this month when Waterkeepers founder Robert
F. Kennedy Jr. flies in for two days of events.
Detroit Riverkeepers are charged with protecting an area
that includes the Detroit, Rouge, Huron, Ottawa, Raisin
and Clinton rivers; as well as the Canard and Little rivers,
and Turkey and Big creeks in Canada.
is one of our biggest functions,” explains Moran. “We
see ourselves as the glue that holds together lots of
that may sound bureaucratic, Moran says the local Riverkeeper
program, like its brethren elsewhere, intends to be a
hands-on group of activists, with boats on the water keeping
close watch on all things aqua.
will be out there on the river, talking to people,” explains
Moran. “The Riverkeeper’s job is to be a first-hand advocate
for the river, checking into things, so we can tell on
a day-to-day basis what’s changing.”
in the area on Oct. 25 and 26, Kennedy will have a busy
agenda. Plans for his first day here include a speech
in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. The following
day begins with a breakfast hosted by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle followed later
in the day with a VIP boat ride on the lower Detroit River.
full schedule of events can be found on the Web at www.detroitriver.org.
You can also phone for info at 734-327-0019.