Michigan State University students and faculty have the unique opportunity of living and working right alongside a fresh body of water, the Red Cedar River: a benefit that not many other college students living inland can enjoy.
“The Red Cedar River originates in Livingston County and flows north and then west for approximately 40 miles until it enters the Grand River in Lansing” (MSU Water).
One thing about the river that people may not realize is that there are drains all over campus that run directly to the river, which delivers untreated water into the Red Cedar. That means runoff from rain can carry fertilizers from the grass, oil or other car leaks from parking lots, or other things around the drains right to the river. “Storm water carries high concentrations of the pollutants with it, and this pollution can lead to the destruction of aquatic life, fish and wildlife habitats, and loss in the aesthetic values” (MSU Water).
The drains that go straight to the river without going to a treatment plant first are labeled with a stamp that says, “dump no waste, drains to water” to help make people aware of their behavior around the drain and to avoid excess pollution if possible. So, students should keep this in mind when they are doing things like washing their cars, dumping paint or chemicals, or fertilizing their yards. These activities directly affect our body of water if they are done near these particular drains.
The Red Cedar River is more than just a line in our fight song. It is a place for relaxing and enjoying our campus, a resource for many, and a home to various animals. Check out what the MSU Fisheries and Wildlife club is doing to help clean up our incredible river.