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Wayne State University Press

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Honoring Our Detroit River

Caring for Our Home

Edited by John H. Hartig
Preface by Congressman John D. Dingell

Ecology, Environmental Studies, Great Lakes, Michigan

Published: September 2003
ISBN: 9780877370444
Pages: 248 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 37

This book celebrates the rich cultural and natural history of the Detroit River and its utmost importance to the regional economy and ecology.

— John E. Gannon

With its long reputation as a polluted and degraded river in the industrial heartland, the Detroit River has been identified by the International Joint Commission as a Great Lakes Area of Concern with impaired beneficial uses. Yet the river has undergone a dramatic rehabilitation, and in July 1998 it was designated by Presidential Executive Order as one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in the United States.
The Detroit River—running 32 miles and linking Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie—serves as an invaluable and multifaceted community resource for economic development, environmental stewardship, and historical preservation.

Honoring Our Detroit River looks at key aspects of the river’s history and impact on the surrounding ecosystem since its formation some 14,000 years ago. The book identifies what is needed to protect and further rehabilitate the Detroit River, exploring specific topics that range from its history with the Native Americans to the river’s current-day planning and management. Unique environmental stories highlight the Detroit River’s significant progress and help readers to learn more about this valuable resource and to care for it as their home.

John H. Hartig is River Navigator for the Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative established by Presidential Executive Order and is the author of Under RAPs: Toward Grassroots Ecological Democracy in the Great Lakes Basin (University of Michigan Press, 1992).

Contributors Include:
Catherine J. Bean, James N. Bull, Jan J. H. Ciborowski, George L. Cornell, Julie A. Craves, John D. Dingell, David M. Dolan, Kay Givens-McGowan, Doug Haffner, John H. Hartig, Jr., John K. Kerr, Noel Mullet, Pat Murray, Bruce A. Murray, W. Steven Olinek, Jennifer Panek, Jennifer Read, Terry Stafford, D. C. Steinmetz, D. P. Thiel

Honoring Our Detroit River is a unique blend of the rich history, commerce, science and engineering involved in the degradation and redemption of one of the world's great ecosystems, written by a devoted cadre of long time observers of the river. This fascinating chronicle details the many causes of degradation suffered by this originally pristine playground of people and wildlife as well as the engineering triumphs in its restoration.

– Ralph H. Kummler, Interim Dean, College of Engineering at Wayne State University, and author of numerous studies of the Detroit River

This compilation of essays moves the reader and motivates desire for the restoration and protection of the mighty Detroit River. The rich history, sociology, politics and natural environment set the stage for a better understanding of the undeniable potential of the rivers that bring us our lifeblood."

– Gail Krantzberg, director, International Joint Commission Great Lakes Regional Office

This is a story about the Detroit River, its adjacent land and indigenous people in the light of rapid industrial development that once threatened and took lives. It is an informative book that describes environmental changes of the Detroit River and charts a course of strategies for remediation and community stewardship."

– Lynda D. Corkum, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor

This very interesting book relates to the environmental history of the Detroit River as well as the current efforts to manage environmental quality in the river and the associated ecosystem...It is easy to read and so interesting that it is difficult to stop until the last page is read.

– Choice

This book celebrates the rich cultural and natural history of the Detroit River and its utmost importance to the regional economy and ecology. Abuses of the river and successes in cleanup and restoration are chronicled. New approaches to watershed planning and waterfront re-engineering portend a new era of environmentally sustainable economic development for the Detroit River region."

– John E. Gannon, senior scientist, International Joint Commission Great Lakes Regional Office