Humbug Marsh

Oak Hickory Forest with sunlight streaming through the trees

The 410-acre Humbug Marsh Unit contains the last mile of natural shoreline along the U.S. mainland portion of the Detroit River.

  • History

    A group of community members gathered to support Humbug Marsh conservation

    Humbug Marsh is the centerpiece of the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, which is North America’s first international wildlife refuge. The marsh, which was to be filled in and developed, was saved when thousands of area residents joined with government agencies and nonprofit organizations to preserve one of the last natural areas on the U.S. side of the Detroit River.
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  • Site Description

    aerial view of Humbug Marsh

    The Humbug Marsh Unit represents the last mile of natural shoreline on the U.S. side of the Detroit River. This 410‐acre parcel of land spans into both Gibraltar and Trenton, Michigan and contains Humbug Island, Humbug Marsh, the shallow waters in between, and the adjacent uplands. A diversity of habitats is present within the unit, including old growth oak‐hickory forest, vernal wetlands, second‐growth forests, and coastal marsh. Because the vast majority of shoreline along the Detroit River has been disturbed or destroyed (i.e. 97%), Humbug Marsh is significant as a stopover location for many migratory birds, as well as significant for many local populations of wildlife. Specifically, it has national significance for the bass, walleye, and whitefish populations that thrive here, the diving ducks that live on its shoreline and in its waters and the 17 species of raptors that stop here along their migration route. 


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  • Species Lists

    Two deer walking through marsh

    The Detroit River alone has 23 islands, numerous wetlands and shoals, and critical stopover habitats for birds and spawning and nursery grounds for fishes. As a result, this ecosystem supports exceptional biodiversity.


    Waterfowl & Other Birds

    Reptiles & Amphibians



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  • Ramsar Designation

    view of river from interpretive overlook

    In 2010, the US designated Humbug Marsh as its 28th "Wetland of International Importance". The site provides habitat for a number of species, is considered essential for the preservation of migrating raptor species and other migrating waterfowl and passerines, and serves as a spawning and nursery habitat for many fish species.


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