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Within the project area, open water can occur in rivers and ponds, as well as Lake St. Clair itself. These water bodies are ecologically distinct, but all include environments where surface water is permanent so that water, rather than air, is the principal medium within which the dominant organisms live.
Lake St. Clair is productive and provides habitats for a diverse biota including invertebrates, fish, mammals, and waterfowl .
Fish assemblages dominated by yellow perch, spottail shiner, and trout perch were found in the deeper open waters of the lake, in Anchor Bay and in the nearshore areas around the lake. Lake sturgeon dominated assemblages were found near the eastern outlets of the south and cut off channels where there are faster currents.
The historical fish communities in Lake St. Clair contained abundant lake sturgeon and runs of coldwater fishes, including lake trout, lake whitefish, and lake herring, that once supported commercial fishing in the lake. Many of the native fishes have been eliminated by commercial fishing, habitat destruction, wetland losses, introduction of exotic fishes, invasion by exotic species, and degradation of water and substrate quality.
For more information, see: Coastal Habitat Assessment, Section IV (PDF)