A part of the connecting channel system between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, the Detroit River forms an integral link between the two lakes for both humans and biological resources such as fish, nutrients, and plant detritus. This profile summarizes existing scientific information on the ecological structure and functioning of this ecosystem. Topics include the geological history of the region, climatic influences, river hydrology, lower trophic-level biotic components, native and introduced fishes, waterfowl use, ecological interrelationships, commercial and recreational uses of the river, and current management issues. Despite urbanization, the river still supports diverse fish, waterfowl, and benthic populations. Management issues include sewer overflows; maintenance dredging for navigation and port activities; industrial discharges of potentially hazardous materials; and wetland, fishery, and waterfowl protection and enhancement.