urban Ecology 01 Helping the environment

Where is the only international wildlife refuge in North America?

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is the only International Wildlife Refuge in North America. The refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands along 48 miles of Detroit River and Western Lake Erie shorelines.

In 2001, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge was established as a result of binational efforts from politicians, conservation leaders, and local communities to build a sustainable future for the Detroit River and western Lake Erie ecosystems. Because of this collaboration, international status was given to the refuge, making it the first of its kind in North America. The refuge consists of nearly 6,000 acres of unique habitat, including islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands within an authorized boundary extending along 48 miles of shoreline. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/detroit_river/refuge_units/other_refuge_units.html
Volunteers for the International Wildlife Refuge

In 2004, the Refuge acquired Humbug Marsh, 410 acres located in Trenton, Michigan. It represents the last mile of undeveloped shoreline along the US mainland of the Detroit River.

Humbug Marsh, undeveloped land along Detroit River shoreline

Saving Humbug involved the downriver residents and communities who contributed resources, time and effort. The result is a wildlife refuge within Metropolitan Detroit. A place for hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, and enjoying nature.

A hike through the an old growth forest to the Detroit River shoreline revealed Deer, snakes, frogs, birds, and different caterpillars which were closely observed, and in the case of the caterpillars, held and then released back to their environment.

A day of hiking n Humbug Marsh

Although Humbug Marsh is located within heavily-populated Metro Detroit, it is acclaimed as a high-quality remnant of the wetlands that once lined both sides of the international Detroit River. This slow-flowing river was a hotspot of biological diversity, particularly as a location for fish spawning. School groups can hike to the edge of the Detroit River and stand on the shore where Native Americans landed canoes. Hurrah for the students, their teachers, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Humbug Marsh volunteers.

View of Detroit Edison power plant from Humbug Marsh


Trenton Tribune Richard Skoglund

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