Fish and Wildlife Habitat in the St. Clair River is Restored

Contact: Melanie Foose, foosem@michigan.gov, 517-897-3244
Agency: Environmental Quality

October 18, 2017

The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Environmental Quality today announced a significant achievement in the restoration of the St. Clair River. Twelve projects were completed to restore habitat for fish and wildlife. The projects span from the upper river to the Lake St. Clair delta and restored shoreline, wetlands, tributaries, and spawning reefs in the river.

The St. Clair River carries Great Lakes water from Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair and forms a natural border with Michigan’s Canadian neighbors. It was designated as a binational Area of Concern (AOC) under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement due to pollution and habitat loss. Much of the habitat loss occurred due to filling, draining, and dredging from historic riverfront development activities. Negative impacts to the river were labeled Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs).

Office of the Great Lakes AOC program staff worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a local public advisory council to remove the “Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat” BUI and improve the river for the community and environment. The OGL provided coordination, technical assistance, and a portion of funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The twelve St. Clair River habitat projects restored habitat for fish and wildlife including several threatened and endangered species. Fish, birds, turtles, and pollinators like bees and monarch butterflies will benefit from the restoration work.

The projects also created recreational opportunities for riverside communities. Kayakers are enjoying the renewed Krispin Blueway, the Blue Water River Walk is an acclaimed destination, and the Sturgeon Festival attracts hundreds of people each year to learn about a rare fish species.

This accomplishment marks Michigan’s 46th BUI removal from an original 111 in the state. Eight out of ten impairments have been successfully restored in the St. Clair River AOC. More information can be found on Michigan’s St. Clair River AOC webpage.

Learn more about the Office of the Great Lakes’ work to protect, restore, and sustain Michigan’s waters at www.michigan.gov/deqogl.

# # #