Photo of Detroit River Belle Isle and Downtown Detroit River Front

Detroit River AOC - Stony and Celeron Island Habitat Restoration Design

Funded by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Grant Amount: $480,620

Start/End Date: August 2013/April 2015

The Detroit River has lost nearly 95% of its original coastal wetlands, with much of the remaining wetlands existing in the lower Detroit River. Two lower river islands, Stony and Celeron Islands, are both owned by the State of Michigan and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. Decades of erosion have greatly reduced the wetlands surrounding these islands. This project was developed to conduct field surveys of sediments, explore habitat treatment options and develop the detailed design and engineering plans and specifications for habitat restoration options for each island.

The Celeron Island and Stony Island fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects have been identified in the 2009 Detroit River Remedial Action Plan Fish and Wildlife BUI Delisting Plan as critical for restoration of the impaired beneficial uses. This project is also recognized as a top priority/action needed for the Detroit River Area of Concern on the MDEQ project tracking table. Habitat restoration along the river shoreline will benefit numerous species of fish, waterfowl, and migratory birds by increasing nursery, feeding, and nesting habitats in the Detroit River.

Stony and Celeron Islands are a part of the "conservation crescent" surrounding the lower end of Grosse Ile and are well recognized for their biodiversity. Restoring and protecting these unique habitats is also consistent with the intent of the "Biodiversity Investment Area" designation given to this area by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada. The islands are owned by the State of Michigan and managed by the Department of Natural Resources from the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area.

In the spring of 2013, the Friends of the Detroit River received funding from NOAA to do feasibility and design project to develop construction plans to address the loss of wetlands around both islands. Since this award, FDR and the Detroit River Public Advisory Council (PAC) have worked with NOAA, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Environmental Consulting & Technology Inc. (ECT), to develop design and engineering plans to address these islands' erosion problems and to improve and protect the islands' habitats.

Through the course of 2014, surveys were conducted, sediment and geo-technical data was gathered, and public meetings were held to develop restoration construction plans for protecting and improving the shoreline habitat of these two islands. As a final objective of this grant, FDR applied for construction permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to complete the work. Permit applications were prepared and submitted in the fall of 2014.

Project Update: FDR anticipates permits to be issued in early 2015 and will apply for a construction grant as soon as this funding becomes available. Pending permit and future grant submission approval, work on Stony Island could begin in late 2015. Work on securing construction funding for the Celeron Island project is anticipated to begin in 2016.

Celeron Island

Celeron Island

Stony Island

Stony Island