Rouge Burn Anniversary Celebration

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Marine Pollution Control

8631 West Jefferson Avenue

Detroit, MI 48209

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On October 9, 1969 near the Rouge Plant and Zug Island, sparks from an acetylene torch ignited oil and wooden debris in the Rouge River - sending flames 50 feet into the air. Ten pieces of Detroit Fire Department equipment and 65 men fought the fire. The burning Rouge River, together with others of its time, symbolize the peak of societal indifference to pollution, and were accepted as the cost of doing business.

This historic fire became a catalyst for the transformation of the watershed, drawing public and political attention to the environmental crisis and inspired transformational legislation such as the Clean Water Act of 1972 led by the late Congressman John D. Dingell.

The Rouge River’s remarkable 50-year recovery from a health hazard of 1969 to a regional asset of today, took collaborative efforts of political, municipal, business, private citizen, and non-profit partners alike.

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019
Location: Marine Pollution Control, 8631 West Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48209
*guests will be asked to take the free shuttle from designated parking location.
Time: 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
*boat tours/open bar/music begin at 4:00 p.m., strolling appetizers begin at 6:30 p.m. and speakers begin at 7:00 p.m.

The event will feature:
  • Keynote speaker Martin Doyle, author of “The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade its Rivers."
  • Remarks by Dr. John Hartig, author of "Burning Rivers" and "Bringing Conservation to Cities: Lessons from Building the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge" and most recently "Waterfront Porch: Reclaiming Detroit's Industrial Waterfront as a Gathering Place for All"
  • Remarks by Lester Graham, Michigan Radio host of The Environment Report, and also hosts Stateside on Fridays
  • Remarks by Joel Howrani-Heeres, City of Detroit, Director of Sustinability
  • Remarks by U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Talib
  • Live entertainment by jazz quartet, Straight Ahead
  • Visit from Detroit Fire Boat ENGINE 16 "Curtis Randolph"
  • Short boat tours for guests of the Rouge River old channel around Zug Island - with a look at the EPA/Honeywell funded Great Lakes Legacy Act sediment cleanup project
  • Open bar with all Michigan-craft beer/wine and a special event edition brew from Downey Brewing Co.

Other confirmed dignataries in attendance:
  • Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López, City of Detroit, District 6
  • Terry Campbell, Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
  • Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Michigan House of Representatives, District 8
  • Lisa Hicks-Clayton, Dearborn Heights City Council
  • William Miller, Oakland County Commissioner
  • Jim Nash, Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner
  • Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr., City of Dearborn
  • Karen Whitsett, Michigan House of Representatives, District 9
  • Paul Yauk, State Trails Coordinator, Department of Natural Resources
  • Chris Matus, Regional Director with U.S. Senator Gary Peters
  • Regina Strong, EGLE Environmental Justice Public Advocate
  • Mayor Oliver Wolcott, City of Plymouth

We would be honored to have you join us as we celebrate the recovery of the Rouge River with a forward look to the next 50 years of a healthy river.
To learn more about the event, you can visit the Rouge Burn Anniversary Celebration web-page.


A celebration of the renewal of the Rouge River with a forward look to the next 50 years of a healthy river!


We hope you can make it!

Cheers,

Friends of the Rouge


Date and Time

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Marine Pollution Control

8631 West Jefferson Avenue

Detroit, MI 48209

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