The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Gateway in Trenton is really looking good. After moving 40,000 cubic yards of dirt, restoring 16 acres of wetlands and planting hundreds of trees the place is starting to look like a refuge for wildlife. Quite a contrast from the industrial days of yore.
The first step was to divert storm water into the large pond they have. That’s the first thing you see driving by or parked at the locked gates. This storm water would just go directly into the Detroit River but now gets a primary treatment from the holding pond and some of the plants in the wetland.
Now the area is back to a semi-restored state the way it was before the War of 1812. So it’s on to the more aggressive plans. Starting next summer the plan is to build a fishing pier in the river paralleling the existing shore of the old Solutia property. There will be a long dock or boardwalk from the western shore of Humbug Bay to the fishing pier. Along the way will be a dock for the research vessel that will be used to teach students about the river and it’s ever changing ecology. The fishing pier will be the best place to fish from shore for walleye in North America hands down.
The plan is to have the pier finished by the fall of 2013. That’s a lot of work to do and some funding hurdles need to be passed, but if the pier gets built the plan is to have the site open from dawn to dusk. That will be a great day for the refuge and the entire area.
However, in order to achieve this much help is needed and that’s where the schools are in. Many schools in the area are requiring their seniors to complete some hours of community service. This is a perfect opportunity to get credit for those hours and help the refuge become a jewel of Downriver.
There are currently 2 crews working in the refuge. One is the Youth Conservation Crew, this is made up of volunteers that are installing boundary signs and will be working on creating parking lots for the fisher people and other guests. You must be 15 to 18 years of age to vounteer for this group.
The other crew is in collaboration with The Greening of Detroit. The Greening Crew is comprised of individuals who have passed a landscape certification program headed by The Greening of Detroit. This crew handles stabilizing the shoreline, planting large trees and maintaining other plantings through out the refuge, especially during this hot, dry summer. I’ll get some testimonials from this crew to show what you could expect on working at the refuge.
Get outdoors downriver!
This article originally appeared on MPT’s blog on michigan-sportsman.com.