aerial view of Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre, Lasalle

Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre

For information about the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre please contact:

Dr. Trevor Pitcher, Director
519-253-3000 x 2710

Visit the FREC Website

With a focus on freshwater restoration ecology, the study of renewing a degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystem through active human intervention, the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre (FREC) is the only one of its kind in the Great Lakes Basin.

Under the direction of Dr. Trevor Pitcher, Associate Professor in the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, the centre provides a state-of-the-art facility for scientists to study and develop best practices for restoration ecology relevant to the Great Lakes, including (among others) the study of invasive species biology, environmental stressors (pollution, climate change, habitat degradation), water quality metrics, and reintroduction of imperiled fish species. Located in the town of LaSalle along the banks of the Detroit River, the facility’s location is ideal because of its proximity to a number of ongoing restoration efforts related to water quality (e.g. harmful algal blooms), habitat remediation (e.g. sediment contamination), and species at risk (e.g. Lake Sturgeon).

Besides conducting scientific research, the centre also serves as an educational facility for the community, offering programming on conservation biology, water quality, habitat remediation, as well as providing outreach services such as the “Adopt a fish program”, which will allow area school children to grow their own fish and release them into area waterways.

The centre has been funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Town of LaSalle and the University of Windsor.

The Facility:

This world-class research facility houses thousands of fishes of various species for multiple experimental purposes. It can also be used for making behavioural observations using the living stream system and has an area for sample processing.  

In the fall of 2014, the FREC received a new building paid for by the University of Windsor and the Town of LaSalle.  New infrastructure valued at $308,000.00 was purchased in 2014 through the CFI-LEF grant led by Dr. Daniel Heath, GLIER.  This infrastructure includes a temperature-controlled egg incubation system to rear fish eggs from fertilization to hatching as well as a temperature-controlled mesocosm system to rear fishes to near adult size.  This includes a collection of 18 large tanks ranging from 2000-3000 L capacity.

students gathered around Dr. Trevor Pitcher and a fish in a net above a tank











A sturgeon fish on a scale showing it's weight











students in front of the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre