Thank you for registering your class up to attend the Detroit River Water Festival!
Please visit our FAQ page for many commonly asked questions by Teachers about logistics.
About the Detroit River Water Festival Logo
Lake Sturgeon are making a comeback in the Detroit River!
You may have noticed the fish that is the central image of the Water Festival logo. This fish, the Lake Sturgeon, was chosen because of its significance to improving water quality in the river, recovery of a species-at-risk, and symbolism of bi-national cooperation to improve the health and biodiversity of the Detroit River.
Unlike most fish, the Lake Sturgeon’s body is made of armored plating instead of scales. The Sturgeons sleek shape is said to look like an army torpedo. According to National Geographic Magazine, Lake Sturgeons can grow to be over six feet long and weigh up to 200 lbs. It is said that male Sturgeons can live up to 55 years while female sturgeons can live to be 150! The Sturgeon is a descendant of a family that lived over 135 million years ago. Considered to be an ancient fossil, the Sturgeon has adapted to survive for millions of years. This is why the Sturgeon is such an important part of our ecosystem and should be protected. The Sturgeon is a perfect example of biodiversity and evolution at its finest!
Just because this fish is called a Lake Sturgeon does not mean they are only found in a lake. Sturgeons can also be found in rivers, too. The Detroit River is home to many Sturgeons but there has been a significant decrease in the number of Sturgeons due to environmental problems and over-fishing. Luckily, the Sturgeon has made resurgence in population thanks to efforts to raise awareness and clean up our natural world.
The Water Festival celebrates the Sturgeon and hails it as the centerpiece of our logo as a symbol of environmental protection, organizational cooperation, and respect of our natural world.
We have many resources to enhance student learning before and after the Water Festival, see below:
Resources to Download:
State of the Strait Conference - A bi-national assesment of the environmental health of the Detroit River that occurs every two years
Detroit River Remedial Action Plan - A website that provides information about the Detroit River Area of Concern and what is being done to delist it in Canada.
What is the Detroit River?
The Detroit River is a connecting channel between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. It is a part of the Lake Huron to Lake Erie Corridor, which is a pivotal link in the flow of water in the Great Lakes Basin. Water from the upper, colder Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan and Huron - funnels into the St. Clair River, passes through Lake St. Clair and flows into the Detroit River to enter the warmer, lower Great Lakes - Erie and Ontario.
Technically, because they do not have the traditional characteristics of river systems, the St. Clair River and Detroit River are not rivers. Rather they, along with Lake St. Clair, form a connecting channel, or strait, that accepts water, nutrients and sediments from Lake Huron and delivers them to Lake Erie.
About the Detroit River
The Detroit River is 32 mi (51 km) long, of varying width and occupied by various islands. Near the head of the river at Lake St. Clair are Belle Isle and Peche Island. From these islands, water flows along a single channel whose width ranges from 2,333 to 3,333 ft (700 to 1,000 m). In the lower Detroit River, the water flow spreads into several channels that wind around its many islands. The river gradually widens to more than 3.75 mi (6 km) as it empties into Lake Erie. The natural depth of the Detroit River ranges from 20 to 25 ft (6 to 7.6 m). Its flow rate is similar to St. Clair River (200,000 gallons/sec or 760,000 liters/sec). On average its takes about 20 hours for water to travel from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie.
Construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway system in the 1950s resulted in the creation of commercial navigation channels that altered the depth of the Lake Huron to Lake Erie Corridor. In the later 1950s, a 28-ft (8.3 m) channel was created in the St. Clair River, followed by one in Lake St. Clair. The channel through the Detroit River was completed in 1969.
What is a watershed?
The watershed is the area of land that drains to a particular body of water. See below for a map of the watersheds of the Lake Huron to Lake Erie Corridor.