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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 21, 2001

First-Ever International Wildlife Refuge Established
Statement by the President

Today I am very pleased to sign into law H.R. 1230, which will establish the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the first-ever international wildlife refuge.

The Detroit River on the Michigan-Canada border has lost over 95 percent of its coastal wetland habitat and has been designated a Waterfowl Habitat Area of Concern by the Canadian and American governments. Establishing this International Wildlife Refuge will do a lot to provide this special place with the protection that it needs.

This area is a prime waterfowl migration corridor and is considered a special place for sportsmen, birders, and boaters. An estimated 300,000 diving ducks stop in the River to rest and feed during their fall migration from Canada. At least 65 species of fish live in the Detroit River, including millions of walleye.

This innovative legislation enhances public-private partnerships for conservation and habitat restoration. I want to thank the many area businesses and groups that developed the conservation vision for the refuge.

George W. Bush
December 21, 2001.

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