Refuge Administrative Support Assistant, Anna Cook, talks to a student at a World Wetlands Day event at Oscar A. Carlson High School.
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge includes 48 miles of shoreline along the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Nearly seven million people live within a 45-minute drive. The watershed supports a great diversity of wildlife and habitats which provide many world-class, close-to-home, outdoor recreational opportunities that enhance quality of life and increase community pride.
Home of the Refuge Visitor Center
For the last 44 years, beginning in 1946, automobile component
manufacturing occurred on the gateway to North America’s only international
wildlife refuge, a 44-acre tract of waterfront property in Trenton, Michigan. By 1990, automotive facilities were closed and
the land had been remediated to industry standards, leaving an industrial
brownfield behind to sit vacant for the next 12 years. In 2002, Wayne County purchased the land to
become the gateway to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. The property is now known as the Refuge Gateway. A master plan for the site was
then developed by Wayne County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and many
partners to serve as a blueprint for the cleanup and restoration work at the
Refuge Gateway necessary to establish the site as an ecological buffer for
Humbug Marsh, Michigan’s only “Wetland of International Importance.”
Since the adoption of the Refuge Gateway Master Plan in
2006, much work has been accomplished, including: capping of brownfield lands; daylighting
Monguagon Creek and constructing a retention pond and emergent wetland to treat
storm water prior to discharge to the Detroit River; a shoreline and riparian
restoration; completion of all public access roads; and construction of two
wildlife observation decks and an education shelter in Humbug Marsh. In 2011, the Refuge Gateway received $1.39
million in funding to complete all cleanup and restoration work in 2012. This “Extreme Makeover” of the Refuge Gateway
landscape will restore over 41 acres of land for wildlife habitat and outdoor
education and recreational experiences.
On-site programming is limited at this time due to lack of
staff and facilities, however a number of exciting refuge programs including environmental
education, interpretation, and special events are available throughout the year
to the public. Field trips and group tours are available seasonally. Off-site
classroom visits and staff presentations are available on a case by case
basis. Contact us at DetroitRiver@fws.gov or 734-365-0219
for additional information about Refuge programs and events.
Summer Job Opportunities for
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge also hosts an
annual, 8-week, paid summer work program for teenagers 15 – 18 years of age. Participants in the Youth Conservation Corps
program are introduced to the important work being done by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, and to meaningful experiences in America’s Great Outdoors. Crew members assist refuge personnel with a
diverse range of projects, including: wildlife research, trail maintenance and
visitor access projects, environmental education & recreation programs, and
grounds and building maintenance.
Contact Assistant Manager, Steve Dushane, for more information about the Youth Conservation Corps Program.
The Refuge coordinates and/or participates in a number of
community and outreach events, including:
For a complete listing of Refuge programs and events, please
visit http://www.iwralliance.org or email the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to receive updates and
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Hunting opportunities are available on select units of the Refuge. For more information download the refuge hunt brochure.