Habitat Restoration in Priority Coastal Areas: Lake Erie Metropark

About Lake Erie Metropark Habitat Restoration

Located in Brownstown, MI, Lake Erie Metropark is situated along the western shoreline of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. Owned and maintained by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA), the park covers 1,607 acres and three miles of shoreline. Coastal wetlands were once extensive at this site, but shoreline armoring and erosion have severely degraded both their extent and quality. This project will restore and naturalize shoreline by removing rip-rap, establishing vegetation to improve aquatic habitat, and creating low-velocity areas protected from direct wave action adjacent to the restored shoreline.

Fish spawning and nursery habitat will be created by developing shallow pools and channels within the park’s existing coastal marshes. The project will help achieve coastal wetland restoration and softening shoreline priority objectives set by the St. Clair-Detroit River System Initiative (www.scdrs.org) by improving the habitat for native species of bird, fish and other wildlife in Michigan’s portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin.

Photo of shoreline at Lake Erie Metropark (Photo by Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority)

Historic site conditions will be emulated to address the loss of coastal wetland and shoreline habitat at multiple locations using an ecosystem-based approach with design and vegetation representative of native habitats but also constructed with an eye on anticipated future climate conditions. These projects will create functional habitats for native fish species use for migration, reproduction, growth, and seasonal refuge by improving a degraded coastal marsh and Lake Erie shoreline. Lake Erie Metropark is permanently protected as an important lake access point and amenity for multiple nearby communities.

The Great Lakes Commission is working with local partner Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority to complete restoration at Lake Erie Metropark. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2020 and will continue in the spring of 2021. 

More about Lake Erie Metropark Restoration

The engineering design for this project is currently wrapping up and being managed locally by Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) with project manager GEI. The restoration design is anticipated to restore approximately 1,183 linear feet of hardened shoreline and 1.7 acres of Lake Erie coastal marsh. The design will focus on restoring a hardened shoreline located along the Detroit River and creating a network of shallow pools and channels within the coastal wetlands in the park. Construction is scheduled to begin in Fall 2021, pending permitting. 

Benefits of Restoration

Environmental Benefits:

  • Restore 1,183 linear feet of hardened shoreline and 1.7 acres of Lake Erie coastal marsh
  • Enhanced fish and wildlife habitat
  • Improved hydrological connectivity

Community Benefits:

  • Improved shoreline access
  • Improved water quality and ecosystem health
  • Improved fishing and fish spawning

Economic Benefits:

  • Improved sport fishing
  • Tourism
  • Recreation
Documents and Fact Sheets

The following fact sheets and documents provide additional information about the Lake Erie Metropark project and specific elements of the project.

Fact Sheet


Lake Erie Metropark has received over $1.5 million in funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership. The GLRI is a federal program designed to protect and restore the largest system of freshwater in the world – the Great Lakes.

For More Information

Eric Ellis
Coastal Conservation and Habitat Restoration
Project Manager, Great Lakes Commission
[email protected]

Tyler Mitchell
Chief of Natural Resources & Regulatory Compliance
Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority
[email protected]

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