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Conservation agencies join forces to improve habitat

Officials will manage 13,000 acres of land along Detroit River

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Officials were joined by Ducks Unlimited and other environmental and wildlife groups to mark the completion of a wetland habitat restoration at the 66-acre Dusseau Tract.

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DETROIT — An agreement to cooperatively manage more than 13,000 acres of land along the Detroit River and western Lake Erie will place an emphasis on conservation, officials announced Saturday.

The agreement involves the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which already manages the more than 5,700-acre Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge along part of the river, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Both agencies have long managed land in the area.

“Collaborating on conservation work like this is not only smart, it is a model for other major urban areas and an opportunity to meet our missions together,” Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius said.

With the agreement, officials plan to work together more on research, monitoring, planning, restoration, and public use opportunities.

“Fish and wildlife know no boundaries,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This historic agreement will help ... better manage this corridor as an ecosystem, in cooperation with our Canadian partners. I think this agreement is a model of cooperative conservation.”

Those involved said the land will be managed with the “spirit and intent” of a 2001 agreement between the United States and Canada that led to the creation of the International Wildlife Refuge, which is located along 48 miles of the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie.

The International Wildlife Refuge focuses on conserving, protecting, and restoring habitat for birds, fish, and other animals.

It includes areas affected by decades of development and industrial pollution, and officials have expanded efforts to clean up and protect land in recent years.

Also Saturday, officials were being joined by Ducks Unlimited and other environmental and wildlife groups to mark the completion of a wetland habitat restoration at the 66-acre Dusseau Tract. Ducks Unlimited helped the state acquire the site, about 6 miles north of the Ohio border in Monroe County, and it’s been incorporated into Erie State Game Area.

Separately, an agreement between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Essex Region Conservation Authority expands cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Canada. The Essex Region authority is the lead organization in the Western Lake Erie Watersheds Priority Natural Area in southwest Ontario.

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