Stormwater and Watershed Information

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Fort Gratiot Storm Water Program
Fort Gratiot is a proud member of the Northeastern Watersheds Group. As part of this group, Fort Gratiot partners with St. Clair County, local municipalities and school districts to meet federal regulations from the Clean Water Act requiring improvements in storm water quality.  Fort Gratiot and the Northeastern Watersheds group are committed to protecting, enhancing and celebrating our rivers. Please visit www.sccwater.org for more information about local efforts to improve water quality within our community and to check out the activities offered to families to help support these clean water initiatives.

Events
The Sturgeon Festival is held the last Saturday in May each year in neighboring Port Huron. The 2014 event saw 2,800 visitors!

The Sturgeon Festival is a one-day, family-friendly event centered on providing close encounters with the “Giants of the Great Lakes.” Browse a dozen indoor & outdoor displays with hands-on activities, drop-in a workshop, touch a live sturgeon and other native fish, or take a ride on our exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise.

Sturgeon are phenomenal to see up close because they reach enormous size – weighing up to 150 pounds, growing over 7 feet, and living over 100 years. The St. Clair River ecosystem supports the largest remaining population of free-ranging threatened lake sturgeon. Over 10,000 lake sturgeon call underneath the Blue Water Bridges home which makes it possible to see these majestic fish if given the opportunity. At the Sturgeon Festival, we are bringing this unique opportunity to thousands of families each year.

Lake sturgeon populations have declined since the early 1900’s, not just from historical over-fishing, but from habitat alteration and increasing pollution levels, and as a result were added to the Threatened Species list in Michigan. In recent years, the lake sturgeon has made something of a comeback due to completion of numerous spawning reefs in the St. Clair River. Sturgeon can be used as a spotlight species to gauge the health of the river, and with sturgeon numbers slowly on the rise we are assured that the health of the St. Clair River is also improving. A sustainable fish population and healthy river system is not only important for our health but it means increased recreation opportunities and tourism for the Blue Water Area.

Sturgeon Fest is leveraging Port Huron’s unique natural resources to help shape and revitalize its physical, social, and economic character. We want the Sturgeon Festival to catch your attention to the qualities of our community’s natural resources because when you enjoy a place for its special attributes it instills a sense of pride. Are you ready for your close encounter with this prehistoric freshwater fish?

Click here to visit the Sturgeon Festival website for information and updates.

Summer Lawn “Watershed” Care
What can you do to help keep our rivers and watersheds cleaner? Let’s look at your summer chores or activities that have an impact on the stormwater runoff from your yards. Here is a list of what you can do to keep our rivers, stream, lakes and Great Lakes healthy:

  1. When you fertilize your lawn or gardens use only phosphorus free fertilizers (As of January 1, 2012 a Phosphorus ban went into law in Michigan).
  2. When applying fertilizers, keep a minimum 10 foot buffer zone from ditches or curbs. This prevents the fertilizer from getting into storm drainage systems.
  3. Fertilize only in the fall for a healthy lawn in the spring.
  4. When mowing your grass do not blow grass clippings into the street or ditch. Do not dump grass or leaves into storm drainage systems or county drains. When these materials decompose they take the oxygen out of the water that goes to our rivers. These materials also add nutrients that cause algae growth.
  5. Do not dump materials or liquids down the catch basins in our streets. All of these storm drains go directly to our rivers, streams, lakes and ultimately to our Great Lakes. What you dump in the drains is what you will be swimming or fishing in this summer. The Drains are only for the Rains!