Waterfront Porch: Reclaiming Detroit's Industrial Waterfront as a Gathering Place For All
The story of how Detroit is turning to the Detroit River and building a new waterfront porch, called the Detroit RiverWalk, to help revitalize the city and region, and to help foster a more sustainable future.
Cleanup efforts revitalize River Raisin, Ottawa River
“The city is now rebranding itself as a vibrant urban center with an ecologically significant river, historical assets, a new national park, a state park, and an international wildlife refuge within its city limits — all connected by greenway trails,” said Mr. Hartig, the first Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge manager and an author who recently served as a Fulbright Scholar in Ontario.
River cleanup helps Monroe achieve environmental, economic benefits
Bald eagles have returned to the River Raisin Watershed and new and long-absent fish species appear in the river, said John Hartig, an author of the case study. Businesses and restaurants in downtown Monroe are embracing the revitalized river with new outdoor patios and improved building exteriors creating a riverfront influence, Hartig said.
“The river’s identity is also at the core of new recreational and historical initiatives, with people enjoying new gathering places and trails along the river banks,” he said in a press release.
Clear Water: Detroit's River Revival
John's book titled "Burning Rivers" is the focus of a new documentary titled "Clear Water: Detroit's River Revival."
Hartig told Great Lakes Now, “Many people still don’t know the revival of the Detroit River represents one of the most remarkable ecological recovery stories in North America. Hopefully, the film will help get this story out.”
John Hartig: A Great Lakes Icon Retires
He created North America’s only International Wildlife Refuge. He says, “We took 25 people from Canada and 25 people from the United States and we said, ‘What do you want for this region?’ That group of people came up with a conservation vision, calling for something that no one else in America had. Congressman John Dingell picked it up. Canada’s prime minister and Peter Stroh got involved. Canada followed up. And it became law. And today we stand with North America’s only International Wildlife Refuge. But the most important thing was that vision.”
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