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A watershed is an area of land that drains to a river system or a network of river systems. The City of Birmingham lies within the boundaries for two watersheds - those of the Clinton River and the Rouge River.

Clinton River Watershed

The Clinton River Watershed, located in southeast Michigan, covers 760 square miles and includes over 1,000 miles of streams in addition to the 80-mile-long main branch.  More than 1.4 million people in over 60 municipalities inhabit the watershed. Land use within the watershed is varied: the southern portion is urban, the middle section is made up of rapidly-developing suburbs, and the northern region is rural.  The southeast portion of Birmingham drains to the Clinton River, which then flows to Lake St. Clair.

While live fish couldn't be found from Pontiac to the mouth of the Clinton in the 1960s, a large, varied fishery exists today. Many people enjoy canoeing, fishing, boating and riverfront parks throughout the watershed.

The watershed, which drains urban southern Oakland and Macomb counties, is listed as one of the 42 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes.
Thanks to management efforts by lake associations, local government and the Clinton River Watershed Council have helped reduce nonpoint source pollution within the watershed.

Rouge River Watershed

Image of Quarton Lake from the skyThe Rouge River Watershed, located in southeast Michigan, runs through the most densely populated and urbanized land area in the state. The watershed is approximately 438 square miles in size and includes all or part of 48 municipalities in three counties, with a population of over 1.5 million.  There are over 400 lakes, impoundments, and ponds in the watershed.  More than 50% of the watershed is considered urbanized, mostly in the south and east portions. 

The Main Branch of the Rouge flows through the western portion of Birmingham, which then empties into the Detroit River and Lakes St. Clair and Erie.

The Woodland Indians were the first to settle in the rouge River Watershed (approximately 1700-1850) followed by the French, the British and finally by Americans. Because the Rouge supplied them with food, water, and a mode of transportation, all these early settlers depended upon the Rouge River for their survival.

Although pollution increased in the 20th century, from 1940 to the present there has been an effort to protect the quality of life along the Rouge River. To protect public health and the environment, the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1940, and over 50 miles of parkland adjacent to the Rouge River has been acquired for public use. Numerous federal, state, and local regulations have been implemented to protect water quality.

The Friends of the Rouge is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created in 1986 to raise awareness about the need to clean up the Rouge River in southeast Michigan. The City of Birmingham is a member of the Alliance of Rouge Communities.

Image of Rouge and Clinton watershed areas in Birmingham

Public Notice for Reissuance of MS4 Permit:

The State of Michigan is proposing to reissue NPDES Permit No. MI0059972 to the City of Birmingham Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), and the City is required to provide this Public Notice until June 2, 2021.

The public notice documents, including the draft permit, for the proposed Reissuance of NPDES Permit No. MI0059972 to the City of Birmingham for the City of Birmingham Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System are available via the Internet at https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us (select ‘Public Notice Search,’ then search for this public notice by entering the permit number or site name into the search field).  If you have any questions regarding this Public Notice, please contact me at GallagherK1@michigan.gov or 517-667-8321.  

Floodplain Information

For those looking for floodplain information on parcels, you'll find a copy of the FEMA floodplain maps at the City's Engineering Department. You may also find them posted on FEMA's website. Visit the site to create a custom FIRMette map - Simply use the "Products Search By" box on the upper left hand area of the website to search for a specific address.

You may also find floodplain information on Oakland County's GIS site. You may search for a specific property and then select "Display FEMA - DFIRM Map" to view floodplain information.