MDNR, USFWS to host Detroit River Wildlife Refuge meeting: MI

Article Posted: September 14, 2002

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DNR, USFWS to host Detroit River Wildlife Refuge meeting

State and federal conservation officials today announced a joint open house Sept. 24 in Wayne County to continue planning for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is preparing a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge, located in Wayne and Monroe counties. The plan will determine fish and wildlife habitat protection priorities and guide management decisions for the next 15 years. Two previous open houses, held in Wyandotte and Monroe in June, were well attended by the public. The Sept. 24 meeting is an additional opportunity for the public to participate in the planning process.

The open house will be held from 4-8 p.m. at the Lake Erie Metropark’s snack bar facility, 32481 West Jefferson, in Brownstown Township. Interested visitors are welcome to join throughout the meeting and stay as long as they wish. Admission to the park is free for those attending the event.

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge was established by Public Law 107‑91 on Dec. 21, 2001. The Refuge is the first international refuge in North America, established to conserve, protect and restore habitat for 29 species of waterfowl, 65 kinds of fish and 300 species of migratory birds along the lower Detroit River in Michigan and Canada.

The Detroit River has also been recognized as both an American and Canadian Heritage River, the first such international designation in North America. The authorized refuge boundary includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals and riverfront lands along 18 miles of the Lower Detroit River.

The conservation plan will address all aspects of the refuge and its programs, including important fish and wildlife habitats, public use and facilities, potential and existing habitat management. By law, six wildlife‑dependent recreational uses receive priority in National Wildlife Refuges: fishing, hunting, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation.

Those unable to attend the open house but who would like to submit written comments can send correspondence to Doug Spencer at the Refuge’s temporary headquarters at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, 6975 Mower Road, Saginaw, MI 48606‑9783. Comments may also be sent through the Service’s Planning website at

For more information, or to be placed on a mailing list, write to the address above or telephone (989) 777‑5930, ext. 2 or e‑mail

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93‑million‑acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 530 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations.

The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

The Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations. The DNR has primary responsibilities for managing approximately 4.5 million acres of publicly-owned lands, more than any agency east of the Mississippi River. The DNR manages and protects 400 species of game and non-game birds, mammals and their habitats, along with nearly 200 state game, wildlife and recreation areas. The agency works to preserve and enhance Michigan's fish populations, as well as other forms of aquatic life, and manages 25 million acres of Great Lakes bottomlands.

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