Resource Management


Refuge staff and partners collaborate to both protect and conserve the unique habitats that make up the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge through the application of a number of management techniques. CLICK HERE to learn more about Phragmites Management. 

  • Overview

    Habitat restoration and population recovery efforts are used to manage and protect compromised species such as the lake sturgeon, once threatened with extinction in 19 of the 20 states in its range, and to protect key refuge habitat through numerous management practices that incorporate carefully planned disturbances such as selective tree removal, prescribed fire and invasive species control. In addition, biological monitoring is utilized to maintain current data pertaining to size and quality of rare habitat communities, particularly wet meadow ecosystems.

    The overall goal in resource management is to achieve the preservation of species and their genetic variability through the creation of quality habitats, appropriate for the soil and hydrological conditions present within the refuge landscape.

  • Habitat Management


    The Refuge's final Habitat Management Plan was completed in July 2016. Click here to open the document.  

    Contact Deputy Refuge Manager, Steve Dushane, for additional information. 

    Click to enlarge image. 

  • Biological Research

    Biological Research and Monitoring promo crop

    Eastern Michigan University wetland scientists, biologists, geographers, remote-sensing specialists, and their students conducted ecosystem research experiments and remote sensing studies at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge from 2010 through 2013.  

    Research findings are currently being used to assist Refuge management in developing policies regarding conservation, rehabilitation and restoration and for identifying best practices for the control and eradication of Phragmites from the refuge ecosystem. 

    Click to enlarge image.

    Learn More

  • Prescribed Fire


    The use of fire is a proven and well-tested management tool that improves the quality of habitat for fish and migratory bird populations. 

    Learn more about the use of Prescribed Fire by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

    Click to enlarge image.

  • Invasive Species Management


    Invasive species degrade, change or displace native habitats and compete with our native wildlife and are thus harmful to fish, wildlife and plant resources.  

    Learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's use of applied management techniques to monitor and control invasive species across the nation. 

    Click to enlarge image.

  • Soft Shoreline Engineering


    Historically, many river shorelines were stabilized and hardened with concrete and steel to protect developments from flooding and erosion, or to accommodate navigation and industry. 

    Today, in place of concrete and steel, designers put vegetation, stone and other materials that soften the edge while maintaining a stable shoreline, a process known as soft shoreline engineering.

    The technique requires use of ecological principles to reduce erosion, keep the shoreline intact, restore habitat, improve public access and make the shoreline look attractive.
    Learn more about Soft Shoreline Engineering projects on the Detroit River and western Lake Erie.

    Click to enlarge image.  

  • Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA)


    The Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) and Phragmites Strike Team were created in 2011 to promote efficiency in invasive species removal, with enhanced communication, monitoring, and resource sharing. 

    Learn more about the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area.  

    Click to enlarge image.