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Great Lakes AOCs

Restoring Detroit River AOC (timeline)

Year Critical Actions


The second beneficial use impairment is removed.

  • Tainting of fish and wildlife flavor

The South Fishing Pier restoration project is completed in which a protected zone is built for a new aquatic nursery habitat.

The Blue Heron Lagoon restoration project is completed. Wetland and nursery habitats are opened to the river, providing improved access for fish.


The first beneficial use impairment is removed.

  • Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor

Work begins at the Trenton Channel as part of the Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup project. Sediment is sampled to fill in gaps regarding the extent of sediment contamination. 

A delisting implementation plan is released detailing the criteria needed to remove each BUI, including an expected budget and time frame.


Four workshops are held to develop work plans towards removing the BUIs. Numerous projects required to remove each BUI are identified, including time frames and budgets. Project completion targets range from 1-2 years to 20 years.

2010 MDEQ (MDNRE at the time) releases an updated BUI Restoration guide for each of the BUIs in the Michigan Areas of Concern.


A biennial update to the RAP is published detailng progress made in the AOC since 2002. 


The Black Lagoon Great Lakes Legacy Act project is completed. 115,600 cubic yards of contaminated sediments are dredged. PCB, mercury, and oil and grease concentrations are greatly reduced. The City of Trenton also restores the natural shoreline. The site has since been renamed “Ellias Cove” in honor of the family who donated the adjacent land. 


$187 million is spent on a CSO disinfection basin project at the head of Connor’s Creek and is led by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. The project included rehabilitation of the river’s shoreline and dredging of the creek.


The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is designated and becomes the first international wildlife refuge in North America. The refuge is expanded by Congress in 2003 and again in 2005 via a 70-acre parcel acquisition in Monroe County through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.


An update to the RAP is released that details progress made in the AOC since 1996


The Detroit River is designated an American Heritage River, which allowe it to receive federal assistance in the form of grants, refocused programs and technical assistance. The goal of the initiative is to support community-based river restoration efforts.


An update the stage I remedial action plan is published. 


The 1994 RAP update is developed as a binational effort led by MDEQ to address the water use goals. Approximately 104 recommendations are made with the goal of restoring and maintaining the integrity of the Detroit River ecosystem to a standard that will provide a safe, clean and self-sustaining natural environment.


Stage I of the remedial action plan is completed.