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DATE: October 1, 2004

"Rouge River Restoration Celebration" set for Rouge 2004 meeting in Dearborn on Oct. 15

DEARBORN---Elected officials, environmental professionals and community leaders will meet for a "Rouge River Restoration Celebration" at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn on Oct. 15.

The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

The celebration is part of the annual meeting of Rouge River watershed stakeholders who have worked together for a number of years to clean up the river and expand the region's understanding of the Rouge as a recreational and environmental asset to the community.

"We're going to hear a lot of serious hard facts about how what once was the most polluted rivers in the country has become much cleaner over the past 20 years," according to Edward Bagale, vice chancellor for government relations at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and co-chair of the Rouge River Gateway Partnership. "And we're going to talk about how the progress we've made so far can show us the way to make even more progress in the future."

The Gateway Partnership is a coalition of businesses, cultural and academic institutions and governmental agencies along the Rouge River.

"We have made a lot of progress making the river cleaner over the last 10 years, and the coalitions that have been built are a model of political cooperation that hold a lot of promise for our common future," Bagale said.

Among other topics, the meeting will describe the "Assembly of Rouge Communities," a group representing the more than 40 municipalities in the Rouge River watershed.
The program will feature presentations by Steven Chester, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Bharat Mathur, acting regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region V.

Other speakers will include Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido, and members of the state's congressional delegation, including Debbie Stabenow, John Dingell, Joe Knollenberg, John Conyers, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Thaddeus McCotter.

The meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Those planning to attend should call (313) 593-5140, or send an e-mail to ebagale@umich.edu.

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