Human activity has caused considerable ecological alterations in the Great Lakes region during the last 150 years and a majority of the most degraded habitats are found along urban coasts. Although strongly affected by human development, urban coasts are home to a variety of species with high ecological, economic, and societal value. The USGS-GLSC is remediating effects of human-induced ecosystem impairments through restoring habitats and species in the Great Lakes Basin which provide many benefits to society. For example, the Huron-Erie Corridor once supported a highly productive fishery, but human modification of the environment over the last century caused fish populations to dramatically decline. To remediate habitat degradation in the Huron-Erie Corridor, USGS-GLSC researchers are building fish spawning reefs to increase fish population abundance and fishery productivity, and studying how restored habitat contributes to socio-economic revitalization of the region.
Urban Coastal Ecology
Social and economic impacts of fish spawning habitat remediation in the Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) are needed, to justify past and future investments by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in the St. Clair and Detroit River AOCs, to remediate Beneficial Use Impairment 14 (Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat).
- Quantify social and economic impacts of fish spawning habitat remediation in the HEC on the sport fisheries for walleye and lake sturgeon in the HEC.
- Quantify how much membership in sport fishing organizations in the HEC has increased in response to increases in sport fisheries for walleye, lake whitefish and lake sturgeon in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, since remediation of BUI 14 began in 2004, in the HEC.
- Enhance the professional development of young fishery biology professionals who work in the HEC.
Background & Justification
Social and economic impacts of fish spawning habitat remediation in the HEC are important but poorly quantified. The value of walleye, lake whitefish, and lake sturgeon populations, and the people who fish for and study them, to remediation of fish habitat in the HEC could be large but is poorly documented. In 2005, the Downriver Walleye Federation was established by and for sport fishers of walleye in the Detroit River. Likewise, a Sturgeon for Tomorrow chapter for the St. Clair River was established by interested sport fishers in 2011. However, little or nothing about the goals, growth, and socio-economic benefits of those sport fishing organizations has been documented. Analysis of the social and economic impacts of these two organizations, as a way of monitoring the status of walleye and lake sturgeon stocks in the HEC, could be useful to State and Provincial managers of these fishery resources and to GLRI staff who are responsible for remediating BUI 14 in these two rivers.