Aerial view of the Ford Cove Shoreline on Lake St. Clair
Several turtles climbing a rock in the water
People crossing a bridge along the shoreline
Aerial view of the Ford Cove shoreline on Lake St. Clair
View of the Ford Cove shoreline in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI

Ford Cove Shoreline and Coastal Wetland Restoration


Edsel and Eleanor Ford House


Grosse Pointe Shores, MI

Completed Feasibility Study Advances Restoration Efforts for Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Habitat on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair

Kicked off in early 2021, this 18-month feasibility study led by OHM Advisors was the first phase of a plan created by the historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford House estate and museum in conjunction with the Great Lakes Commission and a team of partners to restore imperiled wildlife habitats along the shoreline of Ford Cove on Lake St. Clair, part of Michigan’s Great Lakes waterway. The proposed restoration will span roughly one mile of lake coastline and more than 17 acres of the surrounding coastal marsh, nearshore habitat and adjacent forested wetlands affected by the rise of industry and significant development of lakefront property.

The initial feasibility study included detailed baseline chemical, geotechnical and ecological evaluations as well as preliminary hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. Our team completed field surveys to assess the populations of fish, birds, turtles, frogs, insects, mussels and other wildlife that call the area home, along with vegetation and geological samplings. We also completed wave and water current modeling of the site to determine how structures around the shoreline could be improved to allow waterflow to be more beneficial to wildlife. Finally, our team conducted public outreach which included an online survey with more than 550 respondents offering insight into desired uses and activities in the cove.

After months of surveying the shoreline, studying the cove and seeking public input, our team created conceptual plans with estimated costs and restoration recommendations. Ultimately, the master ecosystem restoration plan seeks to remove hard, non-natural coastal features like broken concrete and seawalls and reintroduce native plant species and naturalized shorelines. This will reduce the heavy waves that disrupt vital habitats that local fish, waterfowl, mussels, turtles, snakes and other wildlife need to raise their young, find cover and forage for food—all supporting the lake’s greater ecosystem.

Currently, the project team is working to secure funding needed for the subsequent final design and implementation phases of the project.

Project highlights: environmental engineering, shoreline restoration, ecological restoration, biological sampling, ecological evaluations, water quality data analysis, modeling, bathymetric survey, geotechnical survey, concept design, public engagement and survey