In accordance with public health guidelines, the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup (DRCC) offices remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we have cancelled all in person DRCC events until August 31, 2020. Should you need to reach out to the DRCC, we can be reached via e-mail or telephone (519) 982-3722.
Update on DRCC Projects
Though some of our activities (including field work and outreach events) have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still working hard towards implementing the Remedial Action Plan (cleanup plan) for the Detroit River. Updates on our projects can be found below:
Researchers are currently analyzing field data collected in 2019 to determine the status of marsh birds in Detroit River coastal wetlands.
Researchers are also analyzing data to examine trends in PCB and mercury concentrations in indicator fish (brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, and walleye) for beneficial use impairment (BUI) #1, Restrictions on Fish Consumption.
The Habitat Work Group is in the process of creating sub-criteria for BUI #3, Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations and BUI #14, Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. These sub-criteria will determine if the delisting criteria for these two BUIs have been met.
Researchers just completed analyzing data from 2019 on phytoplankton and zooplankton populations in the Detroit River. Their analysis revealed no indication of impairment in these populations and the DRCC is proceeding with next steps to change the status of this BUI from 'requires further assessment' to 'not impaired'.
We recently received all permits required to begin construction of the Peche Island erosion mitigation and fish habitat project. We are currently in the process of finalizing the construction tender and will begin construction soon. This project will construct 105,000 m2 of calm water area to the north of Peche Island and protect the island from erosion.
Protect the Detroit River from Home
There are over 5 million people on the Canadian and American sides of the Detroit River who live in the watershed and depend on it for drinking water. Residents in Canada who live in Turkey Creek, Little River and Canard River watersheds can be stewards of the Detroit River, and do many things to reduce negative impacts on the shared resource.

Pollutants of the Detroit River originating from Windsor generally include:
  • The City of Windsor's, Town of LaSalle's and Amherstburg's sewer system and associated Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)
  • Collection of litter in storm drains
  • Improper disposal of oils, gasoline and other substances 
Household Actions
The sanitary sewers (connected to our homes) and waste water treatment plants (where our water goes to from our homes) are designed to treat only sanitary wastes only. DO NOT put fats, oils and greases (FOGs), plastics, sanitary products, "flushable wipes" or household hazardous chemicals down your drains.

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs): FOGs accumulate in the sewers, restricting flows, and may contribute to basement flooding. FOGs that make it to the WWTP clog pipes and screens, and reduce the effectiveness of the overall treatment process, increasing plant operation costs. FOGs should be allowed to solidify in a jar and then be disposed of with the garbage.

Plastics: Plastics and rags are unhealthy for sewers. These objects float and by-pass the chemical and physical collection processes at WWTP. The following should be disposed of as regular garbage: personal hygiene products, wrappers, rags and product labels.

Household Chemicals: The WWTPs are designed to treat human waste only. Other chemicals entering the WWTP may pass through the plant to the Detroit River. All household chemicals, including pesticides should be taken to the Household Chemical Waste Depot.

Household chemicals can include expired or unwanted medication, pesticides, flea sprays and collars, paints, stains, thinners and acids, drain cleaners, pool chemicals, car products such as motor oil and antifreeze, gas, kerosene, diesel and propane tanks and items that contain Mercury such as thermometers, thermostats and CFL bulbs.
Sewage pump in Essex, Ontario being serviced due to a large blockage of non-flushable material. Photo credit: Town of Essex Facebook Page, April 16 2020.
Outdoor Actions
Help reduce the volume of sewage, runoff, pollution, litter and organic matter that could end up in the river untreated through storm sewers.

Storm Sewers carry stormwater runoff only. Storm Sewers eventually drain to the Detroit River, untreated. There are 732 kilometres of storm sewers within the City of Windsor

  • Disconnecting downspouts allows rainwater to flow onto lawns freeing up capacity in the sewers during storms.
  • Installing a rain barrel will help you conserve water, as rain water collected during a storm can be used to water your garden on dry days.
  • Keep storm drains clear of debris during storm events. This not only helps protect fish and wildlife in the Detroit River watershed, but also prevents storm drain backups that can lead to street flooding.
  • Keep a tight lid on your trash can and recycle bins to reduce wind blown litter.
  • When pesticides and fertilizers are applied to lawns, between 60-90% of the chemical sprays are washed into sewer drains and eventually rivers, where they impact wildlife. If you have unwanted weeds in your yard, pull them out by hand.
  • Pick up your pet's waste while at home and out in parks, trails and conservation areas.
  • Consider washing your vehicle at a facility that recycles water by sending it to the sanitary sewer, instead of washing it in your driveway.
Storm drains with a fish marking flow right into the Detroit River untreated.
2019 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin
Coordinated by climate services organizations in the U.S. and Canada, this synthesis report summarizes the previous years’ climate trends, events, and new research in the Great Lakes Region and is a contribution to the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

During the 2019 reporting period, several notable events and trends were observed across the Great Lakes basin, including extreme cold from a polar vortex event and a period of extreme summer heat, which both set temperature records. The basin had a wet spring with impacts on water levels and agriculture. Water levels in the five Great Lakes continued to be very high, with Lake Erie and Lake Ontario reaching their highest monthly mean water level on record. Locations around the basin experienced coastal flooding and erosion due to high water levels through summer and fall. At 80.9% areal coverage, Great Lakes maximum ice cover for the year was 25% above the long-term average.
Arrows indicate how 2019 average values compare to long-term average. Red = above, blue = below
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
The Detroit River and Great Lakes in the news. Here are some links to articles that may pique your interest. Click the link to read on.  
The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup is a partnership between government, industry, academics, as well as environmental and community organizations that work together to improve the Detroit River ecosystem through a Remedial Action Plan. Our goal is to remove the Detroit River from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.