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Congresswoman Dingell, Secretary Haaland Celebrate Re-Opening of John D. Dingell, Jr. Visitor Center at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

TRENTON, MI - Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) joined Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to mark the official re-opening of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Visitor Center at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. 
“The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge was John’s dream, and he never stopped strategizing, worrying, and planning for its future until the day he died. With the re-opening of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Visitor’s Center today, we’ve taken another step in fulfilling John’s vision to preserve this critical natural resource and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “The Visitor’s Center and Refuge provides residents and out-of-towners alike countless opportunities to gather, learn about the nature and species that call this place home, and take part in a variety of outdoor activities. The first opening of this Visitor’s Center happened just as the pandemic hit, so this is the true opportunity for people to avail themselves of all it has to offer. I thank Secretary Haaland for being here to mark this special occasion, and I am so grateful to all at the Refuge who have made this day possible. Being at the Refuge truly reinforces one’s appreciation of the outdoors, and I hope everyone can visit soon.” 

“At the Department of the Interior, we understand that nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and every community in America. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is a shining example of what it means to nurture effective partnerships within local communities and ensure that equity and environmental justice guide our collaborative conservation efforts,” said Secretary Haaland. “Naming the visitor center for Chairman Dingell is such a fitting tribute to his extraordinary legacy as a conservation leader. I thank Rep. Dingell for inviting me to be part of this celebration to lift up his wonderful legacy and to shine a spotlight on North America’s only international wildlife refuge.”  
Photos from today’s ribbon cutting are available here
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is the first and only international refuge in North America and stretches along the shoreline of the Detroit River and western Lake Erie. The refuge focuses on conserving, protecting, and restoring habitats for 30 species of waterfowl, 117 kinds of fish, and over 300 species of birds, while providing quality opportunities for people to connect with nature. It is home to a variety of ecologically important bird species, including bald eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons; fish species including whitefish, sturgeon, salmon, perch, and walleye.
In the early 2000s, then-Representative John Dingell joined then-Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Herb Grey to form a group of local, regional, state, and federal agencies to establish a wildlife refuge along the lower Detroit River ecosystem. Mr. Dingell grew up hunting and enjoying the outdoors in these same areas and made it his mission to establish the refuge. The process formally began in 2001 when President Bush signed legislation written by Dingell to create the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Since that time, the refuge has grown from a couple of small tracts of land into a 6,200-acre refuge that spans 48 miles of the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie.
In 2017, the visitor center was named after John Dingell as a tribute to his decades of service in establishing and expanding the refuge. 
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