Detroit River Sanctuary for Fish Spawning and Nursery Grounds

Great Lakes Aggregate
Great Lakes Aggregate
Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit River has seen dramatic decline in its coastal wetlands and habitat over the years due to industrialization. Due to these changes the Detroit River has been designated an Area of Concern (AOC) and targeted for restoration efforts. The Friends of the Detroit River hired ECT to design and implement a fish and wildlife habitat restoration project for Stony Island with the goals of improving the habitat system and lead to delisting as an AOC.

Stony Island has two bays that have been restored enhancing its 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. This project has provided even more habitat for these species, while protecting the existing habitat.

The Friends of Detroit River received more than $8 million in funding through Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)‐National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to fund design and habitat restoration projects, including Stony Island. ECT developed the construction plans and technical specifications to restore critical habitat for fish and wildlife and to accelerate removal of the beneficial use impairments. ECT also provided the permitting activities to obtain Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits. The project created 3,600 linear feet of habitat shoals (structural and vegetative) out in the river and provide backwater wetland habitat of over 50 acres. Additionally, over 75 habitat structures were constructed for fish, turtles, snakes, amphibians, and other herps.


Client / Owner
Friends of the Detroit River
Project Timeline
2013 – 2019
  • For the protection of up to 50 acres of wetland & upland habitat
  • Over 3,600 linear feet of habitat shoal creation
  • Spawning beds
  • Over 75 habitat structures
  • APWA National Project of the Year ($5-25M) – 2019
  • APWA Michigan Chapter Project of the Year ($5 – 25 M) – 2019
  • Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. President’s Award – 2019

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