Did you know that Oakland County is the starting point of five different watersheds? Thanks to the glaciers that retreated from the area some 11,000 years ago, they left behind hills and valleys. The glaciers also carved out holes that became the thousands of lakes and five major rivers that start in the heart of Oakland County—the Clinton, Flint, Huron, Rouge and Shiawassee Rivers! What’s even cooler is our great state of Michigan is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes and all five supply water. We live and work in a special place in Oakland County.
With this privilege of abundant water resources right by our back doors comes an important responsibility—how can we each do our part to keep our freshwater resources clean and healthy for generations to come? The health of our local lakes, streams and rivers is intricately tied to how we treat the land that drains into them. For example, when it rains or the snow melts and the ground cannot absorb any more water, all that excess water (we call it stormwater runoff) drains to the closest waterway without any sort of treatment. This runoff water may contain substances—such as nutrients, grease/oil, trash, bacteria and viruses, synthetic chemicals and pesticides—that can harm the quality of our water and the wildlife that depend on it. These substances can close swimming beaches, kill aquatic life or encourage algae to clog our waterways, which doesn’t look very appealing and can be harmful to wildlife and humans alike.
The good news is this pollution is completely preventable with a little awareness and education.
The Water Resources Commissioner’s Office works daily to teach others about how we can all do our part to protect our waterways from pollution. We can start by following several “Simple Steps to Clean Water.” You can dive deeper into each of these recommended practices through our interactive StoryMap.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help, please reach out to the staff at the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you ever witness possible contamination of our waterways, call Oakland County’s 24-Hour Pollution Hotline at 248-858-0931.
Remember, on World Water Day and every day, we only want “Rain in the Drain!”