Go Deep

Sault Ste Marie

Water Facts

  • Each year approximately 10,000 commercial vessels pass through the Soo Locks each year
  • At the peak of the sea lamprey crisis more sea lamprey spawned from the St. Marys River than the rest of the Great Lakes and their tributaries combined.
  • Heavy metals and toxic chemicals were introduced to the St. Marys River through dumping of untreated industrial waste—which was unregulated until the 1980s. Many of these pollutants remain in the sediment of the riverbed to this day.
  • It has been 35 years since the St. Marys River was first recognized as a Great Lakes Area of Concern. Efforts to remediate damage to the river and surrounding habitat continue today with the hope of one days delisting the St. Marys River AOC.

Water Challenges


Contamination by urban stormwater and industrial spills


Persistent toxins from historical waste dumping


Degradation of wetland habitat


Invasive aquatic species


A must-read report on climate change in Sault Ste Marie:

(1) Status Report and Strategic Plan:  St. Marys River Area of Concern (January 2020)

(2) Climate Change Risk Assessment:  City of Sault Ste. Marie (2020)

Sault Ste Marie Situation Report

The Situation Report provides a state-of-the-moment overview and analysis of Sault Ste Marie’s water conditions, challenges, and emerging issues.

Researcher Profile

  • Elaine Ho-Tassone

    Director of Operations, NORDIK Institute, Part-time Faculty, Algoma University

    Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone brings together people and organizations from across sectors, cultures, and disciplines in collaborative, community-based projects focused on fresh water. She brings more than 15 years of experience in social innovation and youth engagement.

Research Facilities

Algoma University


The content of this Go Deep page was written by:

Alex Penock

University of the Fraser Valley

Robert Newell

Royal Roads University & Food and Agriculture Institute, University of the Fraser Valley