Conservation Collaborations Continue with Canada
Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius joined Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge staff and conservation partners to announced the Western Lake Erie Watersheds Priority Natural Area partnership on Fighting Island, near LaSalle, Ont., Canada. Left to Right: Ontario Great Lakes Area, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Director Ed DeBruyn, Fish and Wildlife Services Branch, Ministry of Natural Resource Director Michael Morencie, Essex Region Conservation Authority Past Chair Ray Renaud, Member of Parliament, Riding of Essex Jeff Watson, Congressman John D. Dingell, U.S. House of Representatives (MI-15) Congressman and Dean of Congress John D. Dingell, USFWS Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius, Ducks Unlimited Canada - Eastern Region Director of Regional Operations Dr. Mark Gloutney, Essex County Warden Tom Bain and BASF Corporation Vice President and General Manager Greg Pflum
Collaborations with Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge conservation partners in Canada took a major step forward yesterday as Canadian officials announced the Western Lake Erie Watersheds Priority Natural Area partnership on Fighting Island, near LaSalle, Ont., Canada.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius joined Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge staff and Canadian dignitaries along the waters of Detroit River as the Essex Region Conservation Authority, in partnership with Environment Canada, the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada announced their collaborative agreement that identifies the Detroit River and Lake Erie Watersheds of the Essex Region as the Western Lake Erie Watersheds Priority Natural Area. This formal agreement will facilitate collaboration on the refuge across international boundaries and the addition of refuge land.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is honored to work in partnership with our Canadian federal, provincial and local partners,” noted Melius as he addressed the group.
“I would like to especially thank Congressmen Dingell and his Canadian colleagues in Parliament for their vision. Today we celebrate a collaborative approach that moves past international borders and I look forward to watching this partnership grow,” continued Melius.
This announcement continues the strong international partnership that was born from the “Conservation Vision for the Lower Detroit River Ecosystem” in 2001. This binational conservation vision called for an international wildlife refuge and has achieved remarkable success for the region. The Detroit River is one of North America’s greatest rivers in the heart of the Great Lakes Basin. It connects the Upper Great Lakes to the Lower Great Lakes and forms part of the border between Canada and the United States.
Since the signing of the Conservation Vision in 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has worked together on biennial State of the Strait Conferences that address environmental and natural resource issues common to all of the partnering organizations. Today’s announcement recognizes a rich and long-standing working relationship for the betterment of natural resource efforts in the Windsor-Detroit metropolitan areas.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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