Water for about one half of the residents in Michigan comes from the St. Clair - Detroit River waterway. This 80-mile long waterway is formed by St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and Detroit River between southeastern Michigan and southwestern Ontario, Canada. Water from Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron flows through the St. Clair - Detroit River waterway at a rate that generally exceeds 190,000 cubic feet per second. The waterway is part of an international navigational system through the Great Lakes.
Currently available information is not sufficient to describe the source of water to public supply intakes in the St. Clair - Detroit River waterway. Thus, the possible impact of local inflows on the water quality at public-supply intakes is difficult to assess. In addition, there is insufficient information to plan emergency responses to contaminant spills within the waterway.OBJECTIVE
This study will identify likely sources of water to public supply intakes and provide a basis for planning emergency responses to contaminant spills. The study will be based upon analysis of simulated flow in the St. Clair - Detroit River waterway and corresponding particle tracking results. The flow model will provide two-dimensional (depth-averaged) flow information, which may be operated in real time. The flow model will provide a basis for future water-quality studies to describe the transport of sediments and the fate of conservative and non-conservative constituents. The direct use of the model by the cooperating agencies will be supported.APPROACH
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) created a preliminary model of flow in the St. Clair-Detroit River waterway (John Koschik and Ron Heath, USACE, oral commun., 1998). The preliminary model uses a general purpose two-dimensional depth-averaged finite-element hydrodynamic numerical model referred to as RMA2 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1997). This study will develop and enhance the preliminary model of the St. Clair - Detroit River waterway by (1) refining and extending the model grid to account for local inflows and withdrawals, (2) including time-varying wind data as boundary conditions, and (3) dynamically calibrating the model by use of parameter estimation techniques. The enhanced model will provide a basis for simulations of the transport of sediments and the fate of conservative and non-conservative constituents within the waterway.ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The preliminary model will be subdivided into St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and Detroit River flow components. Beginning with the St. Clair River component, the adequacy of the model geometry and bathymetry will be compared with data from other sources and any necessary adjustments will be applied. The model geometry and bathymetry will be extended to include local inflows from streams where reliable flow information is available. Continuous stage and wind velocity data will be compiled along with 12 to 15 sets of acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements of streamflow. Stage and wind data will be used to dynamically simulate flow from a point near the Fort Gratiot gauge in the northern part of St. Clair River to the Robert's Landing gauge in the southern part of the river during periods corresponding to ADCP measurements. Each set of ADCP measurements, which includes measurements of flow at 10 or more cross sections in the river, will be used with ancillary stage data to calibrate the model by systematically adjusting parameters describing local channel roughness and eddy viscosity characteristics. Model parameters and associated confidence limits will be plotted with the time of the ADCP measurements to detect possible seasonal changes in parameters. Particle tracking analysis will be used to assess the impact of local inflows on water-supply intakes. The accuracy of the St. Clair - Detroit River model will be documented in a technical report, which will be available as printed media and through the Internet.
Portable Document Format (PDF) of information sheet is at:
A Two-Dimensional, Transient Flow Model of the St. Clair-Detroit River Waterway (164KB)If you do not have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader, then you can download it for free at:
Project Chief: David J. Holtschlag