BILL MAKING PORTION OF DETROIT RIVER A REFUGE PASSES U.S. HOUSE
Dingell-Bonior resolution enhances and preserves 18 miles of the river
for public uses like hunting, fishing and wildlife education
November 27, 2001 Contact: Bob Allison or Mark Fisk (810) 469-3232
House lawmakers late Tuesday passed landmark legislation creating the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge - a sprawling nest of land and water from Mud Island to Pt. Mouillee.
The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. John Dingell and David Bonior, authorizes the Secretary of Interior to conserve, enhance and restore shoreline, islands and other natural features along the river. It includes the 460-acre Wyandotte National Refuge already in place.
"Waterways and wetlands are sacred in Michigan," Bonior said. "They define us. They're part of our culture and history. The Detroit River is part of our Michigan heritage, joining the Upper Great Lakes to the Lower Great Lakes, and also connecting Canadians and Americans through its flowing border. This refuge is not only for the citizens of Michigan, but for our environment."
The bill calls for the development of trailways in the refuge. Other public uses in the bill include hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources recognize the Detroit River as having one of the highest diversities of wildlife and fish in all of the Great Lakes. More than 29 species of waterfowl and 65 kinds of fish make their home in the Detroit River.