Belle Isle Lake Could Reconnect to Detroit River

The non-profit group Friends of Detroit River is proposing to reconnect Belle Isle’s Lake Okonoka to the river.

Michael Ference

Belle Isle’s Lake Okonoka may soon be reconnected to the Detroit River. The non-profit group Friends of Detroit River is proposing the development with funding received from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Paul Evanoff is the Landscape Architect for the project. He says the plan could include some dredging because of how shallow the lake is.

“What we’re trying to do is create a diversity of water elevations, so that in periods where water levels are extremely low, there will still be enough deep water habitat to support the fish nurseries,” Evanoff says. 

Evanoff says relinking to the Detroit River would allow fish to enter the lake, as well as expand opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and more water activities.  

A public meeting on the project will be held April 14 at Belle Isle’s Flynn Pavilion.


  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.