Detroit River Success Story

From Black Lagoon to Ellias Cove

Scientists, educators, federal and state government agencies and others are celebrating the restoration of the Black Lagoon. Once contaminated with oil, mercury, lead, zinc and PCBs, the now-restored embayment of the Detroit River is an example of what clean-up efforts can accomplish.

On June 18, 2007, the Black Lagoon was officially renamed Ellias Cove. Organizers also announced plans for a new marina development designed to increase recreational access to the natural resource.

EPA scientists discovered that sediment samples from a small backwater embayment (Black Lagoon) on the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River were black with oil and grease and contained other contaminants, including mercury, lead, zinc and PCBs about 25 years ago.

The research performed in the mid-1980s helped establish the U.S.-Canada-Detroit River Remedial Action Plan. Since this time, a number of efforts have been underway to clean up the contamination and restore this and other areas along the Detroit River. Among these efforts include the establishment of the Detroit American Heritage River, the enactment of the Great Lakes Legacy Act, and the Clean Michigan Initiative. Michigan Sea Grant led the effort to earn the American Heritage River designation for the Detroit River in 1998.

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