Rouge River Mystery Oil Spill

State TrusteeState of Michigan
AO Bureau

Also Known As

Detroit River

Incident Type




Case Status



Rouge River, Detroit River



Contaminants of Concern Include


Affected DOI Resources Include

Migratory Birds, DOI Managed Lands

Case Description

Following a heavy rain event, a mixture of diesel fuel and lube waste oil was observed the morning of April 9, 2002, in the Rouge River. In the late evening of April 12, 2002, or the early morning of April 13th, another oil spill occurred after a heavy rainfall. It appeared the oil came from one of the combined sewer outfalls on the River Rouge (Baby Creek Outfall). This release was trapped in the River Rouge due to booming at the mouth, preventing further releases oil into the Detroit River. This spill was significantly greater than the first release.

Oil released during the first spill impacted approximately 17 miles of shoreline in the United States and almost 10 miles on the Canadian side of the Detroit River, including approximately 1 mile of shoreline at the Lake Erie Metropark where oiled marsh vegetation was cut and removed.

Over the course of the spill, oiled birds and reptiles were observed, including ruddy ducks, buffleheads, mergansers, scaup, coots, mallards, Canada geese, and one dead and two rehabilitated turtles.

Additional case information can be found on the FWS trustee's website at:

Credit: USFWS

Page 1 of 1

Case Documents

 Document TypeDocument NameDocument Date


 Factsheet Factsheet on Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan  


 Assessment Plan Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan 09/14/2015
 Assessment Plan Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan - Appendices 09/14/2015


 Claim Assessment Claim 11/02/2005

Map View

Case Contact

East Lansing Ecological Services Field Office

East Lansing, MI | (517) 351-2555 |

If you have any problems, suggestions, or comments about our website please notify

Content Protected Copyright © 2023 NRDAR. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written consent of NRDAR is Strictly Prohibited.