Coastal wetlands provide critical habitat to a variety of native species living in metro Detroit waterways. But, as shorelines have been developed and replaced with crushed concrete, those aquatic ecosystems have been weakened. Environmental officials and scientists are working with the historic Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores to restore about a mile of Lake St Clair’s coastline back to its natural state.
“We are one of the few remaining areas on Lake St. Clair that is suitable for a large scale restoration.” — Kevin Drotos, invasive species and woodland specialist, Ford House
Kevin Drotos is an invasive species and woodland specialist with Ford House. He says that a variety of native Great Lakes species are anticipated to benefit from the project including many native fish species along with snakes, frogs and turtles.
Learn more about wetlands at the Coastal Wetlands Virtual Field Trip on Friday, February 5 hosted by Annamarie Sysling and DPTV’s Sandra Svoboda
While the funding for this project is only for an initial feasibility study at this point, Drotos says that over the next 18 months, preliminary work will include a wide variety of evaluations of the shoreline and will help when the time comes to roll out the large restoration initiative. Drotos explains that the Ford House is a rare and ideal locale for this shoreline restoration because it allows for a largescale rewilding of a mile of continuous shoreline. This is rare in Macomb County, where Drotos says that about 99% of the Lake St. Clair shoreline has been reduced from its original condition.
“We are one of the few remaining areas on Lake St. Clair that is suitable for a large scale restoration,” says Drotos. He goes on to explain that in addition to restoring the shoreline itself, the effort, which is formally called the Ford Cove Shoreline and Coastal Wetland Restoration Project, will improve more than five acres of coastal marsh, eight acres of near-shore habitat and four acres of forest wetlands.
The project is a collaborative effort that includes Ford House, the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).