Upcoming Events and Activities on the River Raisin

Where the River Raisin winds through the city of Monroe, it once flowed through six low head dams (2.5’-3’)  constructed by the Works Progress Administration in the early to mid 1930s.  Phase I was enacted in 2012 with the removal of the dams by St. Mary’s Park and the Macomb Street Bridge. The dams by Cappuccilli Park and Hellenberg Park were not removed, but were amended by adding rock ramps to provide passage for fish and small boats.

Phase II includes dams by the post office and Virginia Drive that house active sanitary sewers and will not be removed, but ramps made up of rocks will be built facing downstream to provide fish, kayak, and canoe passage.  Waterloo Dam at Veterans Park has a bypass channel routed through the westerly part of Veterans Park to accommodate fish and small boat passage.  The Grape Dam, just west of Ida-Maybee Road, was amended, allowing passage through the lower 13.5 miles of the River Raisin for the first time in over 70 years! Work was completed in 2014 .

Many river-spawning fish, such as northern pike, muskellunge, whitefish, sturgeon and walleye are threatened. Restoring rivers to provide the habitat they once offered is a necessary part of restoring Lake Erie. The River Raisin is a bedrock-lined channel, which is the favored spawning habitat for sturgeon. This will have a cascading effect on wildlife, bringing fish to spawn, freshwater mussels, aquatic insects, waterfowl and other wetland-dependent fauna back to the area. A salmon was spotted spawning under the Martin Luther King footbridge in the fall of 2012! Fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, canoeing and kayaking will all soon be available as never before in our lifetime. Residents will also be able to access Sterling State Park lagoons by bike, on foot, by canoe, and kayak. We will be able to get a much closer view of eagles, osprey, hawks, and other migrating birds, as well as expanded fishing!It is exciting to realize the recreational possibilities that we will have at our doorstep.

The Recreation Department hopes to offer canoeing, kayaking, and fishing opportunities in the future; Life is GOOD!

Saving Sterling Island A Sunday spent fishing on the River Raisin