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New Regional Treaty a Boost for Migratory Birds

More than fifty people, including students from the Ralph J. Bunche Preparatory Academy, assembled on the Detroit Riverwalk to witness Metropolitan Detroit become the 29th U.S. city in the Urban Bird Treaty program. The program was established in 1999 as a collaborative effort among federal, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions to create bird-friendly environments and to provide citizens the opportunities to connect with nature through birding and conservation activities.

Read more about the signing in this article from the Trenton (MI) Tribune.

Good News About the Detroit River Outlined

In an article for "The Outdoor Wire," James D. Swan, Ph.D.provides an overview of the Detroit River, from its early colonial days as a waterway for French colonists, to industrial dumping ground by the United States and Canada, to pollution control efforts in the early 20th century, and finally to environmental success stories of the last couple of decades. Dr. Swan shares family recollections and observations from Detroit River IWR manager Dr. John Hartig. To read the article, go to

Upcoming Events

April 21, Saturday
13th Annual Benefit Dinner 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Join us at the Bentley Banquet and Conference Center in Wyandotte MI for this year's annual benefit dinner. It's an indoor event this year, filled with good food, good company, and entertainment! For more information, visit our Annual Benefit Dinner page.

John D. Dingell Friend of the Refuge Awards for 2017

On May 15, 2017 at the Gibraltar (MI) City Hall, the IWRA announced the winners of this year's John D. Dingell Friend of the Refuge awards, in recognition of leadership and dedication to conservation on the Detroit River and the western Lake Erie Basin. The honorees were Dr. Russell G. Kreis, Jr. (individual honoree); Michigan Sea Grant (non-profit honoree), and CN Rail (corporate honoree). Read more about each recipient and the awards. Click on the photos to enlarge.

New Refuge Visitor Center named for John D. Dingell, Jr.

Detroit News photo by Todd McInturf

At a ceremony January 14, 2017, officials with the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge announced that the new visitor center, currently under construction, will be named for former US Representative John D. Dingell, Jr. Dingell, who served nearly sixty years in Congress, championed the refuge as well as a host of environmental initiatives and conservation legislation.

The 2016 Annual Report is now available to be viewed and downloaded online.

Click here to go to the report.

The Refuge is working with Detroit Audubon on the "Safe Passage
Program," which provides dark corridors for nighttime flyers.

Learn more about Safe Passage here (PDF) and at this Detroit Audubon page.
Project S.N.A.P. Mosaic Mural Coming Soon

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We have received all the funding that was needed for the Project S.N.A.P. Mosaic Mural. Thank you to all who contributed; we greatly appreciate the support!

The mural will be revealed with the grand opening of the Refuge Visitor Center in Spring, 2018.
Blue Goose Bus Fund - Help students visit the Refuge!

The IWRA's Blue Goose Bus Fund will help schools and educators experience the Detroit River IWR by helping to offset the costs of bus transportation to and from the Refuge.
For more information, contact Executive Director Joann Van Aken at or 734-692-7671.
Construction on the Fishing Pier Continues:
completion expected in 2018

For more photos of the design and the construction, visit the Photo Gallery page.

The 2018 Calendar of Events for the International Wildlife Refuge is now online. Check the dates for an event.

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