At a Glance

Habitat restoration helps address habitat Beneficial Use Impairments in the Detroit River Area of Concern by providing spawning and shelter habitat for Surgeon, Walleye, and other declining sport fish.

Project Description

Areas of Concern, sites that have suffered environmental degradation, have been designated throughout the Great Lakes. In the Detroit River, the Upper Trenton Channel is of concern primarily because of contaminated sediment that needs to be removed to prevent the release of more toxins into the water. Biohabitats was contracted to evaluate and design aquatic habitat to help address habitat Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) in the Detroit River. Both sediment contamination and the historic impacts of constructing shipping channels have reduced the amount of habitat available for fish spawning and foraging.

Biohabitats first evaluated the site and analyzed possible designs to enhance the aquatic habitat, providing a detailed analysis of alternative restoration locations and habitat restoration techniques suitable for use in the Detroit River. As part of the effort, Biohabitats reviewed past and current habitat restoration activities throughout the Great Lakes as well as current efforts. To summarize the costs and benefits of each approach, Biohabitats developed a Habitat Matrix to facilitate the selection and siting of restoration projects.

The best options were determined to be spawning and habitat reefs that could be used by breeding sturgeon, walleye, and other valuable species; large woody debris fields that could provide natural habitat for adult and juvenile fish; and shallow aquatic beds, a habitat type that can support the submerged aquatic vegetation that was largely extirpated from the local riverine system. Each of these options has the potential to provide escape habitat and foraging opportunities for the fish and other species that live in the channel.



Great Lakes

Physiographic Province

Maumee Lake Plain


Detroit River

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration


USEPA, Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO)


Wayne County, Michigan, United States