Ariel view of island in Detroit River

Detroit River Area of Concern 2022 Biennial Report Card



The Detroit River is a 32-mile international channel linking the upper Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. Because of its long history as a transportation corridor, fishery and recreation venue, this water body is known to be the most important economic driver in southeast Michigan. Due to environmental degradation during the twentieth century, though, the Detroit River suffered significant damage and is now an “Area of Concern” (AOC).
The Detroit River AOC (Image 2) was designated under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which required the development of specific activities that would allow for the ultimate delisting of the area as an AOC. Eleven environmental problems, known as “beneficial use impairments” (BUIs) were originally associated with the Detroit River. BUIs are not unique to Detroit: there are 43 Areas of Concern throughout the Great Lakes (Image3). The impairments to beneficial use include beach closures, degraded fish and wildlife habitats and other changes in the chemicical or biological integrity of the Great Lakes.



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