Since it was established in 2006, the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance is the "Friends" group for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR). We are an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the mission and purposes of the DRIWR. We provide many vital services to the Refuge such as community outreach, education programs, habitat restoration, special events support, volunteer staff, advocacy and fundraising.
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is the only International Refuge in North America. The DRIWR works with Canadian partners to restore habitat for lake sturgeon and to document the environmental health of the Detroit River.
The Detroit River and the western Lake Erie Basin are the intersection of two major North American flyways - the Atlantic and Mississippi. Over 300,000 diving ducks, 75,000 shorebirds, and hundreds of thousands of land birds and fall raptors frequent the area and rest, nest, and feed along the unique shoreline habitats, including many islands and marshes.
The Refuge is also one of the best places in the western hemisphere to watch hawks.
117 species of fish are found or migrate through the Detroit River. The lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie are known as world-class fishing hot spots; more than ten million walleye migrate through the Detroit River attracting thousands of anglers. It is known as the "Walleye Capital of the World" - hosting international walleye and bass fishing tournaments offering millions of dollars in prize money, and providing economic benefits to the surrounding communities.
Distinct natural communities within the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge support abundant wildlife. They include Great Lakes coastal marshes, island shoals, submersed beds of aquatic vegetation, river islands, wet prairie, shrub-swamps, hardwood swamps, Oak-hickory forest, grasslands and farmlands.
You can experience these habitats when you visit the Humbug Marsh Unit (open for special events only), Lake Erie Metropark, or The Nature Conservancy's Erie Marsh Preserve.
The DRIWR protects, enhances, and builds key wildlife habitat in a major metropolitan area with six million people. The DRIWR protects islands, coastal wetlands, shoals and riverfront lands along 48 miles of the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Despite the urban setting, the area supports world-class wildlife. DRIWR habitats support 300 species of birds, 23 species of raptors and 31 species of shorebirds, plus 117 kinds of fish.
For more information on the role "Friends" groups have in the Wildlife Refuge system, please go to the National Wildlife Refuge Association site.
IWRA Executive Director:
Joanne Van Aken
Phone: (734) 692-
The International Wildlife Refuge Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deliver the mission of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. We are an alliance of individuals and organizations committed to the success of the Refuge. Please help by donating thru Paypal.
$15 Mayfly (Decal)
$60 Walleye(Hat, Pin, Decal)
$100 Great Blue Heron (License Plate, Pin, Decal)
$250 Lake Sturgeon
Call for more details