On Dec. 21, 2001, legislation authored by U.S. Representative John Dingell that established the first international wildlife refuge in North America, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, was signed into law. The refuge has grown from its initial size of 304 acres to its current size of approximately 5,000 acres. Habitats that are part of the 48-mile length of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge include islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals and waterfront lands. The refuge’s length spans the Lower Detroit River, south to the western shore of Lake Erie. The refuge is intended to protect and restore habitat for 29 species of waterfowl, 65 kinds of fish and 300 species of migratory birds in Michigan and Ontario.