Michigan: Going on a Safari on Fighting Island, Detroit River

Driving on its few roads is like going on safari, with pheasants scurrying into dense brush and black-crowned night herons flapping their graceful wings and landing on trees. A colony of thousands of ring-necked gulls protects its delicate, tiny eggs on one corner of the island. Marshes have been created out of what used to be rum runners’ canals. Trees, tall grasses, reeds and native berry bushes now cover most of the island, planted on a mix of alkali and soil created from bird droppings and composted leaves. For roughly six decades until 1980, Fighting Island in the Detroit River was a white, desolate moonscape, 80% of it covered with 20 million cubic yards of highly acidic brine waste dumped there from a soda ash plant. Runoff from the island washed into the already polluted river, and pale dust drifted in the wind from the island onto tomato plants and cars in nearby towns.

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Read about all forest issues in Michigan: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/michigan/

Snakes lurk beneath the bushes, a coyote family roams and two bald eagles are nesting at the island’s edge. Throughout the region, people are re-creating habitats that were destroyed and re-introducing creatures who once lived there: from Karner blue butterflies near Monroe to southern flying squirrels at Point Pelee.

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Last month, U.S. and Canadian officials said they’d gathered four lake sturgeon eggs from a reef in the middle of the river, which scientists built last fall hoping to attract the once-abundant fish to spawn there. The recovery efforts don’t work every time, or perfectly. But when they do, such efforts are proof that what humans destroy, they can rebuild.

Please value the writer & producer of these words by paying a visit to: http://www.freep.com/article/20090607/NEWS05/906070473/Detroit%20River%20island%20goes%20from%20wasteland%20to%20sanctuary

Read about all forest issues in Michigan: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/category/north-american-tree-news/michigan/


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