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Red Run history

Early development around 200 years ago, turned Red Run, the small river within this community, into a drain. With no environmental thoughts or laws, Red Run’s south branch was buried in the late 1920’s along with the north branch in the 1960’s. Both became part of the storm and sanitary drain system for the fast growing northern suburbs.

“Run” is a word commonly used in the Mid-Atlantic States to describe small rivers. Here in the Midwest, this definition seems to be rarely used and the population no longer understands its meaning. Red Run is a complete name and does not need the word creek added.

There were four main tributaries, three on the north side and one on the south. The longest tributary named the Little Run, started in what is now Northwood shopping center. It crossed Woodward and can still be seen as a small ditch winding through Memorial Park. This ditch is the only part of the waterway within Royal Oak that still regularly holds water. It passed through where Royal Oak Golf Course is now and crossed 13 Mile Road, west of the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks.

The Red Run Drain flows from Madison Heights in Oakland County (where it’s enclosed) through Warren and Sterling Heights within Macomb County. The drain flows from the southwest to the northeast near Dequindre, north of 13 Mile Road, to Freedom Hill County Park and into the Clinton River near Hayes and Metropolitan Parkway.

The drain and associated corridor are under the jurisdiction of the Red Run Inter-County Drain Board. The Red Run Drain is some of the only contiguous open space remaining within the City of Warren. Discussions have occurred regarding the potential of creating a greenway and non-motorized trail system connecting Oakland and Macomb Counties to one another and into the regional network.

A greenway and trail along the Red Run Drain would connect several residential neighborhoods to the Warren Community Center and Library, businesses along Mound and Van Dyke Roads, as well as Eckstein Park, Halmich Park, Bates Park, Baumgartner Park, and Freedom Hill.

A trail connection along or near the Clinton River (Clinton River Pathway) from Sterling Heights, through Clinton Township and into Mt. Clemens is possible with a lot of work.

More than 200 sites within the Clinton River Watershed are listed as contaminated, with 27 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Superfund” list and four on the National Priority List. The watershed, which drains urban southern Oakland and Macomb counties, is listed as one of the 42 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. Sediments contaminated with heavy metals, PCBs, oil and grease are polluting Bear Creek and the Red Run Drain. Degraded biota, low dissolved oxygen, heavy sedimentation, excessive nutrients, pesticides and bacteria are also problems here.

Red Run Inter-County Drain Board
Public Works Building 95 West
One Public Works Drive
Waterford, Michigan 48328
Attention: John P. McCulloch, Drain Commissioner

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