Biological and Habitat Assessment of the Lower Rouge River, Michigan, 2018

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5009
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
By: , and 



A key component of evaluating the success of habitat remediation projects is determining preremediation conditions, biotic and abiotic, to establish a baseline and compare with postproject conditions. The Rouge River, Michigan, is a Great Lakes Area of Concern with a listed Beneficial Use Impairment related to loss of fish and wildlife habitat. A biological and habitat assessment was completed in the lower Rouge River, focused along a nearly 7-kilometer stretch of river that includes a concrete channel anticipated to be removed by 2022, to determine prerestoration conditions. Surveys documented the presence and quality of physical habitat, presence of herpetofauna, and quantified macroinvertebrate and fish assemblages at 12 sites (3 upstream from the concrete channel, 6 within the concrete channel, and 3 downstream from the concrete channel). Macroinvertebrate assemblages were dominated by Chironomidae and Oligochaeta for June and September. The electrofishing catch per unit effort was driven by Notropis atherinoides (emerald shiner) catches in June and emerald shiner and Dorosoma cepedianum (gizzard shad) catches in September. Graptemys geographica (northern map turtle) was the most common reptile observed throughout the lower Rouge River. No submergent macrophytes were discovered, and riparian vegetation was sparse in the concrete channel section. No sites scored “excellent” (total score greater than 154), upstream control sites scored “good” for overall qualitative habitat assessments (total score 105–154), and all concrete channel and downstream control sites were ranked as “marginal” (total score 56–104) or “poor” habitat (total score 0–55). Results from this assessment can be used to compare with postremediation projects in the lower Rouge River.

Suggested Citation

Roseman E.F., Fischer J., DeBruyne R.L., and Jackson, S.A., 2020, Biological and habitat assessment of the lower Rouge River, Michigan, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5009, 54 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Photographic Monitoring of Streambanks
  • Qualitative Habitat Assessment
  • Quantitative Vegetation Habitat Assessment
  • Site-specific Depth and Velocity Characteristics
  • Site-specific Water Quality Characteristics
  • Herpetofauna Assessment
  • Qualitative Macroinvertebrate Assessment
  • Fisheries Electrofishing Assessment
  • Fisheries Minnow Trap Assessment
  • Discussion
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Biological and habitat assessment of the Lower Rouge River, Michigan 2018
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5009
DOI 10.3133/sir20205009
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description Report: viii, 54 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Michigan
Other Geospatial Lower Rouge River
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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