Windsor

The Detroit River is clear, so what can you spot?

If you took a walk along Windsor's Riverfront Tuesday, you might have noticed that the Detroit River was looking especially clean and clear — an indication that the water quality is likely improving, according to some experts. 

Cars, shopping carts and other items are said to be seen below

The Detroit River is looking clear, a sign that experts say could indicate its improving health. But it also may be because of fewer ships and boats passing through this time of year, said Windsor Port Authority. (Michael Evans/CBC)

If you took a walk along Windsor's Riverfront Tuesday, you might have noticed that the Detroit River was looking especially clean and clear — an indication that the water quality is likely improving, according to some experts. 

While Windsor Port Authority harbour master Peter Berry said this time of year usually allows for a more clear glimpse of the depths of the river due to fewer ships and boats passing through, he said he hasn't seen it look this good in the 12 years of his career. 

"The river is absolutely getting cleaner, when we see it clear like this, this is a great thing," he said. 

"It's clear, we're seeing that the Detroit River is recovering very quickly," he said. "The Detroit River is coming back." 

And with this, he said, comes the return of the Great Lakes and other water and land species like raccoons and beavers. 

But Berry added that if you look close enough, you might be able to spot cars, shopping carts, lawn mowers, statues and benches that people have tossed in. 

WATCH: Berry talks about the Detroit River being clear

The Detroit River is looking clean and clear

8 months ago
2:08
Harbour master Peter Berry talks about the river's health. 2:08

Some of the effort being made to restore the river is work done by remedial action plan coordinator Jackie Serran and her colleagues at the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup. 

Serran said she also hasn't seen the river looking quite this good and believes that that may be partially due to the fact that there hasn't been a lot of rain or large piles of snow melting — weather events that she says would bring sediments into the water and make it cloudy. 

But she says her team has also worked with the city to include retention basins and other water quality improvement measures. Retention treatment basins, she said, collect the water from the sewer overflows. 

"Those sewer overflows are really an issue because it includes both storm water and municipal sewage and so that causes a lot of pollutants to potentially be released if there's high rain and flow events," she said. 

She said the return of bald eagles to the river is also a promising sign that conditions are improving. Currently, she said the group is working to create a fish habitat at Peche Island that will allow them to spawn. The project also aims to protect the island from erosion.

When looking back at how far the region has come, Serran said it feels good to see their progress paying off. 

"It's very exciting. We've done a lot of work, we've been at this since the late 80s and so it's taken us about 30 years to get to this point, but we're really excited to be here," she said. 

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