John Hartig, manager at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, has been appointed as a Fulbright Scholar to study the effectiveness of decades-long conservation efforts to restore the ecological health of the Great Lakes.
To be named a Fulbright Scholar is among the most prestigious academic honors in the world. Fulbright scholars study, conduct research and teach abroad in their field.
“I am so honored to work with Canadian and U.S. colleagues to perform this important work on one-fifth the standing freshwater on the Earth’s surface [the Great Lakes] and to help increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Canada,” Hartig said.
He will conduct multi-disciplinary research to help evaluate the impact of 32 years of remedial work to restore degraded areas of the Great Lakes. These “areas of concern” are 43 pollution hot spots across Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.
Hartig, who plans to retire from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in January 2018, will spend six months as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, about 185 miles northeast of Detroit. After that, he plans to spend at least two years working on related topics.
Hartig, 65, has been with the Service 13 years, all of them as Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge manager. Before that, he was with the Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative and the State Department’s International Joint Commission, where he worked on the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the only international refuge in North America, was established in 2001 as a result of binational efforts between the United States and Canada to build a sustainable future for the Detroit River and western Lake Erie ecosystems. The refuge conserves habitat along the river and lake, 20 miles south of Detroit. As manager, Hartig has seen the refuge grow from 300 acres to more than 18,700 acres today.
“I am proud of fostering public-private partnerships for conservation, helping bring conservation to cities in innovative ways, and showing how the Service and its important conservation work can become part of the community fabric,” says Hartig.
He has said “the cleanup and recovery of the Detroit River represent one of the most remarkable ecological recovery stories in North America.”
· Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
A video featuring John Hartig
· “An Extreme Makeover at Detroit River Refuge”
By John Hartig, Refuge Update, November/December 2012