Friends of the Detroit River


Extensive river aquatic and upland habitat restoration and preservation


Detroit, Michigan

Project Highlights

  • Over 3,000 linear feet of river shoreline
  • For the protection of up to 100 acres of wetland & upland habitat
  • Over 6,800 linear feet of habitat shoal creation
  • Spawning beds
  • Over 75 habitat structures

In 2014, the Detroit River Public Advisory Council published a guidance document to remove fish and wildlife related beneficial use impairments that included a list of 14 habitat restoration projects that must be completed. ECT has successfully worked on many of these projects, and a summary of two such projects is presented below.

Stony Island ‐ Stony Island is part of the “Conservation Crescent” surrounding the lower end of Grosse Ile and is well recognized for its biodiversity. However, decades of erosion have greatly reduced the wetlands surrounding this island. As a part of restoration, two bays to be restored provide tremendous fisheries, including important spawning and nursery grounds for muskellunge, northern pike, pumpkinseed sunfish, largemouth bass, yellow perch, channel catfish, and bullhead. Historically lake sturgeon, lake whitefish, white bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and rainbow smelt populations have spawned on or upstream of the island. The area has long been a very productive spot for rare and migratory waterfowl and provides nesting and feeding areas.

Celeron Island ‐ Celeron Island is comprised of sixty-eight, uninhabited acres at the mouth of the Detroit River near Lake Erie. The island contains remnants of emergent and submergent aquatic plants such as vallisenaria, elodea, and various potomogeton species. These areas are important spawning, nursery and refuge areas for sport, commercial and forage fish species. The loss of the protective shoreline has led to the loss of the complex wetland associations that lined the outer shoreline and the inner bay at the center of the island and a reduction in the once abundant beds of submergent aquatic vegetation.

ECT developed the construction plans and technical specifications, and provided the permitting activities to obtain Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits. Jointly, the two island projects will create 6,800 linear feet of habitat shoals (structural and vegetative) out in the river and provide backwater wetland habitat of over 100 acres. Additionally, over 75 habitat structures will be constructed for fish, turtles, snakes, amphibians, and other herps.