Detroit River Binational Habitat Projects Poster

In partnership with our U.S. colleagues, we’ve created a poster to showcase the habitat restoration efforts that have occurred on both sides of the Detroit River through the Areas of Concern program. 

Though U.S. and Canada have separate Remedial Action (cleanup) plans for the Detroit River, we regularly exchange ideas and partner on projects. View our latest collaboration – a poster of ongoing and completed habitat restoration projects in the river. 


Detroit River Evening 2020

Many thanks to everyone who came out for the Detroit River Evening on June 17th, 2020 on Zoom. There were over 150 people who either attended or watched the video since the event! Thanks to all the presenters who provided updates on the important work being done in the Detroit River Area of Concern by the DRCC Public Advisory Council, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Miss the event? Watch it on our YouTube here:


Protect the Detroit River from home

There are over 5 million people on the Canadian and American sides of the Detroit River who live in the watershed and depend on it for drinking water. Residents in Canada who live in Turkey Creek, Little River and Canard River watersheds can be stewards of the Detroit River, and do many things to reduce negative impacts on the shared resource.
Pollutants of the Detroit River originating from Windsor generally include:
  • The City of Windsor’s, Town of LaSalle’s and Amherstburg’s sewer system and associated Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)
  • Collection of litter in storm drains
  • Improper disposal of oils, gasoline and other substances 
Sewage pump in Essex, Ontario being serviced due to a large blockage of non-flushable material. Photo credit: Town of Essex Facebook Page, April 16 2020.

Household Actions

The sanitary sewers (connected to our homes) and waste water treatment plants (where our water goes to from our homes) are designed to treat only sanitary wastes only. DO NOT put fats, oils and greases (FOGs), plastics, sanitary products, “flushable wipes” or household hazardous chemicals down your drains.
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs): FOGs accumulate in the sewers, restricting flows, and may contribute to basement flooding. FOGs that make it to the WWTP clog pipes and screens, and reduce the effectiveness of the overall treatment process, increasing plant operation costs. FOGs should be allowed to solidify in a jar and then be disposed of with the garbage.
Plastics: Plastics and rags are unhealthy for sewers. These objects float and by-pass the chemical and physical collection processes at WWTP. The following should be disposed of as regular garbage: personal hygiene products, wrappers, rags and product labels.
Household Chemicals: The WWTPs are designed to treat human waste only. Other chemicals entering the WWTP may pass through the plant to the Detroit River. All household chemicals, including pesticides should be taken to the Household Chemical Waste Depot.
Household chemicals can include expired or unwanted medication, pesticides, flea sprays and collars, paints, stains, thinners and acids, drain cleaners, pool chemicals, car products such as motor oil and antifreeze, gas, kerosene, diesel and propane tanks and items that contain Mercury such as thermometers, thermostats and CFL bulbs.
#1, #2, and TP, that’s it!
A friendly reminder that to prevent sewer backups, only #1, #2, and TP are flushable. ‘Flushable’ wipes do not break down like TP and can clog sewers. Check out our wastewater video we created in partnership with The City of Windsor for more information.
Outdoor Actions
Help reduce the volume of sewage, runoff, pollution, litter and organic matter that could end up in the river untreated through storm sewers.
Storm Sewers carry stormwater runoff only. Storm Sewers eventually drain to the Detroit River, untreated. There are 732 kilometres of storm sewers within the City of Windsor
  • Disconnecting downspouts allows rainwater to flow onto lawns freeing up capacity in the sewers during storms.
  • Installing a rain barrel will help you conserve water, as rain water collected during a storm can be used to water your garden on dry days.
  • Keep storm drains clear of debris during storm events. This not only helps protect fish and wildlife in the Detroit River watershed, but also prevents storm drain backups that can lead to street flooding.
  • Keep a tight lid on your trash can and recycle bins to reduce wind blown litter.
  • When pesticides and fertilizers are applied to lawns, between 60-90% of the chemical sprays are washed into sewer drains and eventually rivers, where they impact wildlife. If you have unwanted weeds in your yard, pull them out by hand.
  • Pick up your pet’s waste while at home and out in parks, trails and conservation areas.
  • Consider washing your vehicle at a facility that recycles water by sending it to the sanitary sewer, instead of washing it in your driveway.
  • Learn more

Learn more about protecting your river from home

Earth Day 2020 Update for Windsor-Essex County

Unfortunately in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are several events that are cancelled this year in Windsor-Essex focused on celebrating Earth Month in different ways.

The Earth Day community tree planting in east Windsor is cancelled in April and is expected to be rescheduled to October 2020. In addition, the annual Earth Day celebration at Malden Park is cancelled. Organizations involved in both of these events are working to create some online content to celebrate Earth Month virtually and continue the celebrations virtually and keep us focused on the environment during this time.  

As more online content develops, the DRCC will post it here to this page. Initiatives available are listed below.

Earth Day Student Contest

Looking for something meaningful to do while the kids are home from school? Tell us how you are taking action on climate change! Individual actions for the environment can create ripple effects that inspire and motivate others. Whether it is spreading the word on social media or creating a poster to hang, we want to know how you are making a difference. Students can submit illustrations, essays, poems or photos. There are cool prizes to be won! The deadline to submit is extended until fall 2020. Guidelines and how to submit can be found here.

eEarth Day Call to Action

This is a virtual initiative, run by the Detroit River Coalition, that asks volunteers pledge to replace one single-use item that they frequently use with a reusable alternative, then share their promise online. The idea is that we exhibit how small acts by many TOGETHER can have huge environmental impact.  The pledge is hosted through the Detroit River Coalition, and we invite you to:

 1) Take the pledge online

2) Share their promise to the environment on social media via photos or videos (tag @DetroitRiverCoalition or @DetRivCoalition and use the hashtag #eEarthDay

3) In honor of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary (April 22) and in an effort to show how small acts by many TOGETHER can have huge environmental impact, encourage friends and family to join you in taking the pledge.  

You can find all of the information needed on our website, including a direct link to the pledge form.

What is the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup?

One of the most common questions we get while at outreach events is “What is the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup?” We’ve developed a new brochure that helps answer this question. Learn more about us here!

Get Involved!

From tree plantings and clean ups, to advocacy and education programs, CLICK HERE to find out how you can be involved with protecting and enhancing the Detroit River.