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Designing a Sustainable Future through Creation of North America’s only International Wildlife Refuge
John H. Hartig 1 , Rebecca S. Robinson 2 , Michael A. Zarull 3
1  Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 9311 Groh Road, Grosse Ile, MI 48138, USA
2  Sustainable Scotland Network, Wallace House, 17-21 Maxwell Place, Stirling, FK8 1JU, Scotland, UK
3  Water Science and Technology, Environment Canada, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, 867 Lakeshore Road, P.O. Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6, Canada

Published: 21 September 2010 by MDPI in Sustainability
MDPI, Volume 2; 10.3390/su2093110
Abstract: In 2001, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge was established based on the principles of conservation and sustainability. The refuge has grown from 49.1 ha in 2001 to over 2,300 ha in 2010. Agreement on a compelling vision for a sustainable future was necessary to rally stakeholders and move them forward together. Project examples include: lake sturgeon and common tern restoration; soft shoreline engineering; ecotourism; sustainable redevelopment of a brownfield; and indicator reporting. Key success factors include: a consensus long-term vision; a multi-stakeholder process that achieves cooperative learning; strong coupling of monitoring/research programs with management; implementing actions consistent with adaptive management; measuring and celebrating successes; quantifying benefits; building capacity; and developing the next generation of sustainability practitioners and entrepreneurs.
Keywords: international wildlife refuge, adaptive management, sustainable development
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