Branch of Conservation Planning
Midwest Region

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation PlanCover of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge CCP

Comprehensive Conservation Plan Completed
An Overview of Future Management Direction
International Wildlife Refuge Created
For More Information
Where Are We in the Planning Process?

Comprehensive Conservation Plan Completed

In June 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the completion of the comprehensive conservation plan, or CCP, for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.

The comprehensive conservation plan outlines how the Refuge will fulfill its legal purpose and contribute to the National Wildlife Refuge System’s wildlife, habitat and public use goals. The plan articulates management goals for the next 15 years and specifies the objectives and strategies needed to accomplish these goals. While the planned future condition is long- term, we anticipate that the plan will be updated every 5 to 10 years based on information gained through monitoring habitat and wildlife, as well as recreational usage.

Major achievements expected over the life of the plan include protecting coastal wetlands, islands and other unique habitat, establishing a visitors’ center, developing a network of Refuge volunteers, and fostering partnerships to assist the Refuge in achieving wildlife and habitat goals.

An Overview of Future Management Direction

The CCP identifies a number of key programs and strategies that can be implemented as soon as a staff is in place:


A primary theme throughout the CCP is the tremendous potential to establish partnerships to attain the purpose and goals of the Refuge. Potential partners include communities, industries, governments, citizens, and non-profit organizations. Many of these partnerships already exist but the Refuge has the potential to be a focal point to bring together larger and more effective private and public partnerships.


There is a great potential for an active pool of volunteers once a dedicated staff person, especially a public use specialist, is assigned to the Refuge. The goal of any Refuge volunteer program is to have staff and volunteers working side by side in the most efficient manner to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Refuge.

Hunting and Fishing

The CCP emphasizes that fishing and hunting opportunities will be increased as the Refuge land base grows, except where contaminant exposure, local regulations, safety or the needs of sensitive species prohibit such uses.

Visitor Center

The former Daimler-Chrysler tract, owned by Wayne County, is the proposed site of a future headquarters and visitor center. Wayne County, or another appropriate agency, will own the structures and lease space to a number of organizations, including the Service. The facilities will incorporate a “green”, or environment friendly, design that reflects the character of the river.

Other public use facilities could include trails and boardwalks accessible to disabled users, interpretive signage, observation decks with spotting scopes, wildlife viewing blinds, photography blinds, fishing platforms, outdoor vault toilets along the trails, benches, and an outdoor classroom pavilion.

Land Protection

The CCP identifies key remnant coastal wetlands, islands, and other wildlife habitats that could be protected and/or restored through partnership efforts. By 2015, no less that 40% of the remaining coastal wetland and island habitat on public and private lands within the Refuge boundary will be protected through fee, easements, and cooperative agreements.

International Wildlife Refuge Created

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will conserve, protect and restore habitat for 29 species of waterfowl, 65 kinds of fish and 300 species of migratory birds, but that isn't what makes it unique. Established by Public Law 107-91 on December 21, 2001, the Detroit River International Refuge is the first international refuge in North America. The authorized Refuge boundary includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals and riverfront lands along 18 miles of the Lower Detroit River in Michigan and Canada. Its location also makes it unique - the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will be one of only a few refuges situated in a major metropolitan area.

The passage of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Establishment Act was heralded by many people as a major conservation milestone. The even better news is that the Refuge is just one element in a larger vision for the Detroit River, and many partners are striving to achieve that vision.

For More Information

For more information on the new Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, contact the Service's Project Manager, John Hartig, at:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Large Lakes Research Station
9311 Groh Road
Grosse Ile, MI 48138

Where Are We in the Planning Process?

These are the steps that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service follows in comprehensive conservation planning; the step that Detroit River INWR has reached is highlighted:

  1. Preplanning: Plan the Plan
  2. Initiate Public Involvement and Scoping
  3. Review Vision Statement and Goals and Determine Significant Issues
  4. Develop and Analyze Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action
  5. Prepare a Draft CCP and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Document
  6. Prepare and Adopt Final CCP
  7. Implement Plan, Monitor and Evaluate
  8. Review and Revise the Plan
Last updated: June 3, 2016
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