The Dirt Doctors: Lesson Plans on Soil Erosion and Sediment Pollution
NW Wayne County, MI

Grantee: Wayne Co. Department of Environment Land Res Mgt Division
Basin Program Funds: $22,256
Non-federal Funds: $7,975
Project Duration: 07/2001 - 09/2002
Status: complete

Problem Statement
There is a need for instructional programs to educate students in the Rouge River watershed about the adverse impacts of soil erosion and sediment pollution upon a watershed. Making people aware that erosion and sedimentation are major problems is the first step in the solution to those problems.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, sediment is the number one water pollutant in the state of Michigan. The Rouge River Remedial Action Plan (RAM) of 1998 identifies sediment as a Rank 2 nonpoint source pollutant and outlines public education programs as part of the RAP goals. The RAP also indicates that contaminated sediments are a Rank 5 nonpoint source pollutant and lists public education as a goal. This program will be the first step in educating the public about how soil erosion and resulting sediment pollution are major problems facing our watersheds today.

The Wayne County Department of Environment developed a curricula program kit exploring soil erosion and the impact of sedimentation on watershed health, directed at elementary students and their parents. These lesson plan kits provide interactive presentations and demonstrations for educators. The project staff developed and created four lesson plans kits, which will be tested and revised as needed.

The kits were developed in November, 2001 and included lessons plans and demonstrations. A four-day pilot program was developed for Amerman Elementary School in the Northville School District and presented in spring 2002. The pilot program was delayed to give participating teachers more lead time for preparation. Efforts were made to ensure that lesson plans dovetailed with the existing elementary environmental education program offered by the Rouge Education Project, a multidisciplinary initiative offered to schools throughout the Rouge River Watershed and sponsored by Friends of the Rouge. Teachers were initially hesitant to approve presentation of any science curriculum not directly related to the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) program of study, but eventually participated.

Contact: John M. Jones, 734-326-3936


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner