Today, U.S. Representative John D. Dingell (D-MI15) attended an announcement creating the Western Lake Erie Watersheds Priority Natural Area by the Canadian government and other partners. The event took place on Fighting Island in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada. This action by the Canadian government is a complimentary effort to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and will help ensure that both sides of the Detroit River are preserved for future generations. Below are the Congressman's remarks as prepared for delivery.
"Thank you, Ray Renaud for that kind introduction . And thank you to Greg Pflum and my friends at BASF for once again opening beautiful Fighting Island to us for another Refuge event. I also want to thank Ambassador Gary Doer and Consul General Roy Norton for their hard work on the Refuge. I'm pleased to join my friend and Canadian counterpart, Member of Parliament Jeff Watson, today. I am very grateful for your support of the Refuge through the years.
"I am grateful to all of my friends who are here for this exciting announcement. Your enthusiasm for the development of the Refuge on both sides of the Detroit River has helped us make such enormous progress in conservation over the past 10 years. You should be proud of yourselves.
"Today's announcement marks a major milestone in conservation. When Congress created the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge just over 10 years ago, it was a first; we made history. With today's announcement of our Canadian friends coming together to preserve important conservation areas in the Western Lake Erie Watershed, we're making history once again.
"Henry Ford once said, "If everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself.' Together, we've celebrated some pretty important successes we've achieved together over the past 10 years. By working together, the U.S. and Canada have made great strides in making our shared waters healthier. Most recently, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed by officials from both sides, continuing our mutual pledge to protect one of earth's greatest resources.
"We have brought back a healthy and growing population of sturgeon in these waters. The same is true of the whitefish. We've saved habitat for millions of waterfowl, falcons, and other birds that travel this important flyway each year. Those are just a few.
"But today is significant because we are reaffirming that commitment of Canada and the United States to work together to improve the environmental health of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie basin.
"I congratulate the partners in this important collaboration on their commitment to working not only with each other, but also their respective partners on the U.S. side of the Refuge and other related initiatives.
"For years, my dear old dad and I used to spend hours hunting, fishing, and having a good time enjoying each other's company outdoors on this great earth God has blessed us with. I suspect there are many similar stories shared by a lot of folks on the Canadian side of the river as well.
"The collaborative agreement we are here to celebrate today will allow families for generations to come to be able to pass down those memories and create new ones of their own.
"I can't tell you how proud I am to stand here with you today. By all of us committing to working together on our shared common goal of being good stewards of this earth, "success will take care of itself.'
"Thank you for allowing me to join with you today."