In New St. Clair River reefs to spur sturgeon spawning on the Great Lakes Echo, Brian Bienkowski writes:
Michigan organizations and agencies are building nine rock reefs in the Middle Channel of the St. Clair River to bolster native fish spawning and restore habitat. The Middle Channel of the river connecting Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair supports one of the largest remaining populations of sturgeon in the Great Lakes.
Led by Michigan Sea Grant, the team will finish the nine reefs this week. Each will be about 40 feet wide, 120 feet long and 2 feet high. Made of angled limestone and rounded fieldstone, the reefs are an effort to return the river to a spawning hotspot – just like in the good ol’ days.
“This gives us a chance to bring back the sturgeon numbers … without stocking,” said Mike Thomas, lake sturgeon coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which is a project partner.
About a century ago, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River – which is between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie – were straightened, widened and deepened for shipping. This harmed the places where fish spawn, as limestone and other rocks were displaced and damaged.