St. Claire River Delta

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St. Clair River delta

Lake St. Clair is a large shallow lake mid-way between Lake Huron and Lake Erie just north of Detroit. Water from Lake Huron flows into lake St. Clair through the St. Clair River and on to Lake Erie through the Detroit River.

The swift flowing St. Clair River empties into Lake Saint Clair through the largest fresh water river delta in the world. It is a vast marshy landscape unlike any in Michigan. I was so surprised on seeing it the first time that I almost felt I’d been transported to Chesapeake Bay.

The best views of this unique landscape are to be found on Harsens Island, a horseshoe of high ground surrounding a marshy interior. A short ferry ride across the North Channel of the St. Clair river drops you at about the middle of the crescent. A road hugs the coast in both directions. What little development there is on the Island is clustered on the northeast near the ferry. There’s a decent restaurant in the old school house.

The southwest half of the island is encompassed by the Saint Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. The photograph above is a view across the marsh and open water from the southern arm of the island.

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