Restoring Fish Spawning Habitat in the Detroit River
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Detroit River along the city of Detroit, MI

The Regents of the University of Michigan received a grant to restore a reef in the Detroit River to increase spawning habitat for fish in the Detroit River.  The Detroit River was historically one of the most significant sources of recruitment for the diverse Lake Erie fishery, supporting, for example, one of the most profitable lake whitefish commercial fisheries in the Great Lakes. Today, however, the river has been modified extensively and currently provides little spawning habitat for fish.  The constructed reef will be nearly a hectare in size, significantly increasing the amount of habitat currently available.  The reef is being constructed at the highest priority site predicted by a bio-physical model of the Detroit River to address historic habitat losses associated with Beneficial Use Impairment 14 – Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat – in the Detroit River Area of Concern.  The project includes pre- and post-construction assessments focused on the life stages of key target species – lake sturgeon, northern madtom, lake whitefish, and walleye.

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