Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Trump Administration announces additional funding for two Great Lakes Region urban refuges

September 29, 2020


Sarena Selbo, Wildlife Refuge Manager, 612-590-0198,
Tina Shaw, Public Affairs Specialist, 612-713-5331,

Bloomington, MN – Today is Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day, and in recognition of this, the Trump Administration announced that both Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge have been awarded $1 million in additional funding to bolster their urban refuge programs.

“Today, the Trump Administration is excited to announce we are able to place this additional investment in these two urban conservation gems from America’s Midwest,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Meeting people where they live and providing opportunities for residents to learn more about and take part in wildlife habitat conservation has been a Trump Administration priority and is a win-win for everybody. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge offer unparalleled recreational opportunities for the millions of Americans who live close to these refuges.”

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge are two of more than a dozen priority urban refuges. They were identified because they have tremendous potential to provide outstanding recreational opportunities in these large metropolitan areas. These urban partnerships are long-term, place-based collaborations that engage communities in conservation both on and off National Wildlife Refuge System lands.

“We understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to fish and wildlife conservation. To inspire current and future outdoor enthusiasts, we’re maximizing activities and partnerships that welcome new visitors and remove barriers for people who want to get outside and have fun,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Regional Chief of Refuges Suzanne Baird.

Learn more about Minnesota’s urban oasis in the heart of the Twin Cities

Nestled between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers a slice of wild and nearby nature to 3.5 million people. Established in 1976 by motivated residents, the refuge preserved wildlife resources threatened by commercial and industrial development. Today, the refuge spans more than 14,000 acres and serves as a thriving urban refuge where nature connects people, communities and wildlife. The refuge is an ideal location in the Twin Cities community for environmental education and diverse outdoor recreational opportunities.

Learn more about America's only international wildlife refuge

Located along the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge extends from southwest Detroit to the Ohio border and has six million people within a 45-minute drive. Since it was established almost 20 years ago, the refuge has become a national leader in using public-private partnerships to make nature part of everyday urban life. The refuge was established in 2001 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.

To celebrate the importance of national wildlife refuges as vital places for outdoor recreation in cities, the Department of Interior designated today, September 29, as Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day. Across the country, there are 101 urban refuges that host more than 11.7 million people a year - making it easy to find one near you. Stay tuned for more information as these excellent programs develop further.

Learn more about the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program.

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

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.