In accordance with public health guidelines, the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup (DRCC) office remains partially closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we have cancelled all in person events until November 30, 2020. Should you need to reach the DRCC, we can be reached via e-mail or telephone at (519) 982-3722.
Research Highlight: Herring Gull and Cormorant Studies
A new report was recently provided to the DRCC outlining the results of research on colonial water birds in the river conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Wildlife Ecotoxicology Division. As part of the assessment of Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) #5, Bird or Animal Deformities or Other Reproductive Problems, a multiple year study was initiated in 2015 to investigate reproduction and contaminant exposure in nesting colonial water birds in the Detroit River Area of Concern (AOC).
Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) were studied at an unnamed site on the U.S. side of the Detroit River, a downstream colony in western Lake Erie, and two reference colonies (one in eastern Lake Erie and one off-lake; Lake Huron). Since there are currently no nesting colonies of herring gulls (Larus argentatus) in the Detroit River, two surrogate colonies of herring gulls were studied directly downstream of the Detroit River in western Lake Erie
Study results indicate that:
  • The overall embryonic viability for cormorants was 83%, which was similar to that found at the reference colonies in three study years combined.
  • The percent of cormorant embryos that had deformities was 6% at the Detroit River colony compared to 4% at the downstream colony and 0% at the reference colonies
  • Herring gull productivity at the surrogate Detroit River colonies exceeded levels required to maintain a stable population and no morphological deformities were found in 21-day-old herring gull chicks in two study years.
  • Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were higher in cormorant embryos and eggs from the Detroit River colony compared to reference colonies.
  •  Long-term trends for sum PCBs and p,p’-DDE suggest that exposure to these compounds has decreased and has remained relatively low in gulls and cormorants foraging in the Detroit River.
  • Based on published effect-level thresholds associated with adverse impacts on avian reproduction, concentrations of PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and mercury in cormorant eggs and embryos from the Detroit River colony were not sufficiently elevated to adversely impact the reproductive success of cormorants nesting in the Detroit River.
The report concluded that overall, other stressors, such as loss of habitat and reduced food availability, are more important factors than contaminants in influencing successful nesting of colonial water bird populations in the Detroit River. The results of these studies will be combined into an assessment report for BUI #5 and will support the change in status of this BUI from impaired to not impaired.
An Evaluation of Stressor Interactions in the Great Lakes
There are many factors stressing the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem, but some issues like climate change are making other problems even worse. The International Joint Commission Science Advisory Board Science Priority Committee’s new report, An Evaluation of Stressor Interactions in the Great Lakes, explores the cumulative effects of important stressors in the Great Lakes basin.

The report looked at seven priority stressors: climate change, fish harvest, habitat loss, invasive species, nutrients, pathogens and toxic chemicals. The study compared eleven pairs of these stressors to understand whether their combined influence would increase overall ecosystem stress. When these environmental stressors interact with one another, some problems make others even worse, while some cancel each other out. Climate change impacts, such as warmer water, can worsen the damage done by several other stressors.
FCA – Windsor Assembly Kid’s Environmental Artwork Program and Native Plant Seeds 
This year, our friends at FCA Windsor Assembly hosted the 10th anniversary Kid’s Environmental Artwork Program! In lieu of celebrating the achievement together in person, FCA staff created a fun package for all participants, and included an envelope of native grass and wildflower seeds provided by DRCC/Essex Region Conservation Authority. The youngsters will be sent on a mission with their parents to plant the seeds in their backyards in support of pollinators and other wildlife in the new year.  
Canadian Bat Box Project
A bat box is a simple and effective way to provide additional roosting habitat for bats, but little is known about bat box use in Canada. This especially important as three bat species in Canada are listed as endangered: little brown bats, northern long-eared bats, and tricolored bats. 

Do you have a bat box? If so, Trent University is conducting the Canadian Bat Box project and needs your help! The research seeks to determine which bat species use bat boxes across Canada, what box designs are preferred by bats, and which temperatures bats prefer for roosting in our northern climate. Participants will be sent temperature loggers to install in their box and supplies to collect guano (bat poop) to identify bat species.

If you have a bat box and would like to participate in this study, please fill out this online multiple-choice survey with questions about your bat box.
Dates worth mentioning
Random Acts of Kindness Day - November 6, 2020
The Windsor Essex Community Foundation invites you to join them in celebrating Random Act of Kindness Day on November 6, 2020! Simply do something nice for someone and ask nothing more than for that person to pay it forward. Once you have completed your act of kindness share it on social media using #RakDay.
World Fisheries Day – November 21, 2020
World Fisheries Day highlights the importance of healthy ocean and freshwater ecosystems and emphasizes the importance of ensuring sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world. The Detroit River is one of the most diverse and productive fisheries in Canada and is home to over 110 species of fish!
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.  
Upcoming events 
Save the date for these great local events! Contact event organizers for more information and to learn more about COVID-19 precautions at the event.
Fall Migration at Holiday Beach
November 1 - 30, 2020, Holiday Beach Conservation Area, 6952 50 Cr, Amherstburg, Ontario
Each year, ERCA welcomes guests to Holiday Beach Conservation Area to experience one of the best birding hotspots in Canada, and the spectacular hawk migration.

Due to continued restrictions on gatherings, we regretfully have had to cancel the annual Festival of Hawks. The Hawk Tower will also remain closed to the public, as physical distancing in that space cannot be safely met.

Guests are still welcome to visit Holiday Beach Conservation Area to enjoy the thousands of hawks flying overhead, as well as to hike or cycle along the newly renovated boardwalks and trails.
Saturday, November 14, 2020, Point Pelee National Park Visitor's Centre, 1118 Point Pelee Drive, Leamington ON, 7:30 PM - 11:59 PM
Explore the park on your own after dark and experience the dark skies of Point Pelee. You will have the opportunity to stay late and see what goes on after dark. Note that there are no formal programs on these evenings. Visitors can pick up a seasonal star chart at the gate upon arrival. The park is open until midnight, unless otherwise stated.

For more information please contact
Webinar on Coastal Wetlands and Climate Change
Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Friends of the Detroit River is hosting a free webinar with an amazing panel of speakers, moderated by MSU Extension Conservation Stewards Program. Tune in to learn more about the importance of coastal wetlands and restoration efforts in the Detroit River related to climate change. The event is free, but registration is required. Register here.
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.