The St. Clair River is a major navigable waterway transporting water southwards for 63 km from Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair at an average flow of 5100 m3s-1. Water entering the river is low in suspended solids, organic carbon, phosphorus and nitrates, typical of clear, oligotrophic waters. In contrast to many large rivers, dissolved and colloidal solids account for 90 to 95 percent of the total solids load transported by the river, giving the river a turquoise colour common of glacial meltwater streams. The river supports a diverse floral and faunal community that includes 20 taxa of submergent macroflora, at least 300 benthic macroinvertebrates and 83 fishes. A number of exotic (European) species, including 3 plants, 4 molluscs and 11 fishes, occur in the river with the macroalga, Nitellopsis obtusa, zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea), and white perch (Morone americana) being the most recent invaders. Production is estimated to be 200 gm-2a-1 ash-free dry mass for submergent macrophytes and periphyton, 7 g for macroinvertebrates and 5 g for fishes. The river also supports a variety of water-oriented recreational activities, is a source of municipal and industrial water, a receiver of municipal and industrial wastes, and a shipping corridor. Industrial discharges have adversely affected aquatic life, particularly in the nearshore areas along the Canadian shoreline south of Sarnia, Ontario. In addition, channel dredging and shoreline modifications (bulkheading and backfilling) have destroyed large areas of valuable habitat in the main channel and along the shoreline. Improvements in the nearshore benthic macroinvertebrate community of the river over the past 20 years show that the river will respond to reductions in contaminants loadings.