Happy New Year! There are plenty of reasons to get out and enjoy the river in 2018...
Start by heading to Amherstburg to check out the big flocks of Canvasbacks and other waterfowl that congregate in the Lower Detroit River Important Bird Area in the winter!
The Government of Canada Invests in Great Lakes Protection
Photo: The Great Lakes (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
On December 1 2017, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $44.84 million for the Great Lakes Protection Initiative, which is part of the $70.5 million of new funding allocated for freshwater protection, in Budget 2017.

The Great Lakes region represents the third-largest economy in the world, if measured as a country. It supplies 51 million jobs or nearly 30 percent of the combined American and Canadian workforce. Building on a solid foundation of existing Great Lakes programming, this investment will further focus efforts on issues of greatest importance to Canadians, including the continued implementation of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement as well as the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. Healthier Great Lakes mean more opportunities for economic growth.

New programming will focus on reducing toxic and nuisance algae and strengthening the resilience of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. It will prioritize identifying at risk nearshore waters, which are those most used by Canadians for drinking and recreation. It will target reducing the release of harmful chemicals. And, it will seek to strengthen engagement with Indigenous Peoples and the public in addressing Great Lakes issues.

To read the full media release, click here.
Recommendation for Peregrine Falcon to be Delisted as a Threatened Species
Peregrine Falcon on Ambassador Bridge. Photo Credit: Dwayne Java (http://dwaynejava.blogspot.ca/2010/06/peregrine-falcons-in-west-windsor.html)
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is recommending that the federal government remove the Peregrine Falcon off the list of threatened species. Due to a captive breeding program and a ban on DDT, the Canadian population has increased steadily since the 1970s. Read more here.

Locally, the volunteers from the Windsor Peregrine Falcon Watch Team monitor the nest located on the Ambassador Bridge. The team keeps tabs on Freddy and Voltaire's nesting activities and ensures their young are safe when they fledge. Sometimes this includes relocating them when they land in high traffic areas.

Peregrine Falcons migrate through Windsor-Essex county in October and can often be spotted crossing open water such as the Detroit River and Lake Erie.
International Association for Great Lakes Research - Call for Abstracts!
The 61st Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, to be held June 18-22, 2018, at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Ontario. The themes for the conference include invasive species, Areas of Concern, fisheries, emerging technologies, governance, education and outreach, monitoring and modeling; nutrients, HABs, contaminants; physical processes; links between nearshore and offshore, remote sensing and general sessions.

Application deadline is Friday January 19 2018. Click here for more details.

Assessment of Great Lakes Water Quality: Progress, but Much More Effort Needed

The International Joint Commission released the First Triennial Assessment of Progress on Great Lakes Water Quality late November 2017. This report is a culmination of extensive research conducted by the IJC's Great Lakes advisory boards, staff and public consultation with the public to determine if Canada and the United States are meeting their obligations under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

In summary, the IJC recognizes the progress and cleanup efforts of contaminated Areas of Concern, setting new phosphorus loading targets for Lake Erie to reduce Harmful Algal Blooms, stopping and preventing new aquatic invasive species entering the Great Lakes and establishing and continuing the work groups and processes in place to implement the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Despite the above successes, the IJC points out gaps in achieving human health objectives of the Great Lakes within the Agreement which include swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters. Human health issues within the Great Lakes stem from discharge of inadequately treated or untreated sewage into the Great Lakes, unsafe drinking water incidents and fish consumption advisories.Further, the IJC also would like both governments to address the poor water quality of western and central Lake Erie, accelerate the work being done to address pollutants and invasive species from entering the Great lakes, address climate change (a new annex within the 2012 Agreement) and strengthen public engagement, accountability and funding to achieve the Agreement's objectives.

The First Triennial Assessment of Progress on Great Lakes Water Quality is available online:
Interested in habitat restoration on your property?
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) flower
Essex Region Conservation is currently taking applications for project grants for properties that are 1 acre or more. For details, please visit www,erca.org/trees.

For those who are interested in ordering trees (property must be one acre or more), the Seedlings and Large Stock order forms are available. Deadline is February 2, 2018.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!   
The Detroit River in the news. Here are some links to articles that may pique your interest. Click the link  to read on.  
Upcoming Events  
Save the date for these great local events! Contact the organizer for more information. 
Essex County Field Naturalists' Club Member Meeting
Wednesday January 10, 2018, 7pm to 9pm, Ojibway Nature Centre. 5200 Matchette Road, Windsor.   
Dan Lebedyk is Essex Region Conservation's Biologist and will be speaking on ERCA's efforts in identifying a natural heritage system for the Essex region. His presentation will explain the application of "How Much Habitat is Enough" guidelines to the local landscapes while making connections to the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BSC) and the Essex Region Natural Heritage System Strategy (ERNHSS).Please contact Carl Maiolani, ECFNC Membership Secretary for more information at carlmaiolani@cogeco.ca. 
Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee Meeting
Thursday January 18, 2018, 9am to 11am. Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Flynn Pavilion - Near Intersection of Picnic Way & Loiter Way, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI, 48207
Please see website link for past agendas, meeting minutes, and additional information here.  
ERCA Annual General Meeting and Conservation Awards
Thursday January 18, 2018, 6pm Civic Centre, Council Chambers, 360 Fairview Ave West, Essex. 
Join Essex Region Conservation for their Annual General Meeting. This event also features their  conservation awards, which recognize individuals and organizations for their dedication to local conservation efforts.

Please RSVP at   www.erca2018agm.eventbrite.ca  or via email at rsvp@erca.org
Stewardship Saturday
Saturday January 20, 2018, 9am to 12pm. Meet on Central Avenue, just east of Portage Way. FYI, this street is listed as Meadow Rd in Google Maps.  
Join the DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy for Stewardship Saturdays. Our May and June project will include searching for and pulling a non-native, invasive woodland weed called garlic mustard to restore the rare wet mesic flatwoods forest on the island. For questions or more information please email Laurel Malvitz-Draper, DNR Resource Steward for the Stewardship Unit at malvitzl@michigan.gov
DRCC Public Advisory Council & EPI Work Group Meeting (Rescheduled from December)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 4:30pm to 6:30pm Location: TBD 
Both the Public Advisory Council and the Education and Public Involvement Work Group will be meeting to discuss updates. Everyone welcome but please RSVP. For more information please contact postmaster@detroitriver.ca.    
Free Tree Planting and Care Workshop
Tuesday January 30, 2018, 6:30pm to 8pm Civic Centre, Room C, 360 Fairview Ave West, Essex. 
This exciting and dynamic workshop hosted by the Essex Region Conservation Authority will discuss ways in which you can get involved in the reforestation of Essex County. Learn about the environmental benefits of tree planting, grants and financial assistance to landowners for planting trees, the different tree planting techniques and the ways to care for your future forests and special shade trees. Event is free but pre-registration is required. Space is limited.  
Shiver on the River
Saturday February 3, 2018, 10pm to 3pm Belle Isle, Detroit MI. 
Friends of the Detroit River invites you to have some Family Fun on Belle Isle! Free admission! Main Event held at the Casino Building:
~ Exhibits, Displays and Refreshments
~ Marshmallow Roasting at the Aquarium
~ Environmental  Arts and Crafts for Kids
~ Pancake Breakfast at the Flynn Pavilon (fee)
~ Live Entertainment: Bob Kat Caricatures, Children's Magician  
Contact Friends of Detroit River for more information. 

The DRCC initiative is a partnership between government, industry, academics, as well as environmental and community organizations that work together to improve the Detroit River ecosystem through a Remedial Action Plan. Our main goal is to remove the River from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.