Project Summary

Challenge: Re-energize efforts to restore the Great Lakes’ most degraded communities, known as “Areas of Concern”, by creating a series of island habitats in the Detroit River.

  • Design and construct new fish habitat near Peche Island.

  • Trigger matching funds from government and private sectors to complete the second phase of the project including construction in 2019

  • Train residents to identify and report species at risk in the Detroit River.


In the Detroit River, the City of Windsor’s Peche Island has long been a refuge for endangered species. It offers pockets of calm water in the fast-flowing river and wetlands with submerged vegetation beds.

Over time, strong waves from ship traffic began eroding the island. Peche Island provides critical habitat for fish and migratory birds, but experts say more than 95 per cent of Detroit River’s coastal wetlands have been lost. The Detroit River area is designated a Binational Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

This restoration project helps protect Peche Island by creating a series of small islands to stop erosion and provide habitat for four key species: Lake Sturgeon, Spiny Softshell Turtle, Northern Madtom and the Channel Darter.

The Peche Island restoration project has been on hold for years because no funder would come forward to support Phase I. Now The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s support funds the design and engineering work needed to proceed with Phase II and unlock other funding sources.

This Great Lakes Challenge project, made possible by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, is the the first large-scale habitat creation project on the Canadian side of the Detroit River in many years.