On the Banks of the Red Cedar

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.

-Jordan Burroughs





4 responses

  1. This was very interesting because I also didn’t know that all the drains on campus run right to the Red Cedar. Now I am aware that anything I or someone else dump down those drains will directly affect us and the Red Cedar, and I agree we all should help to keep it clean and aware others about it.

    Mateen Malekadeli

  2. Your post makes me think about football games on Saturday afternoons and all the things that go down those drains. I wonder if there is some sort of sewer drain system to can purify what goes through it, acting as a giant Brita.

    Michael Burkett

  3. I love the video at the beginning. I think the perception of the Red Cedar–that it is unhealthy–has such a negative impact on the condition of the river because people continue to throw things in it and dump waste into the sewer systems. It is good that the drains are labelled and say not to dump anything in them. The only other thing to do to get people to stop polluting it is to spread the word that it is healthy.

    Lauren Evasic

  4. Wow this is great. This brings up something that is related to all of us at MSU and also raises awareness. This shows how we all can help preserve the Red Cedar. I really enjoied the article and video.
    – Austin Wertheimer

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