Protecting Humbug Marsh

Protecting Humbug Marsh

By Don Andrew Griffin

Humbug Marsh is located near the mouth of the Detroit River. The area is in the cities of Gibraltar and Trenton, Michigan. Made In Detroit purchased the Humbug Marsh from Waste Management who had designated Humbug Marsh as a mitigated wetland to replace wetlands in Wayne County that Waste Management filled to create a landfill. The Friends of the Detroit River has been working to save Humbug Marsh since 1995.

What do you consider the key to your success?

We obtained small grants from Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund for the purpose of informing the public of the threat to Humbug Marsh.

The Sierra Club of Michigan featured Humbug Marsh as a threatened natural treasure in a colorful brochure. 10,000 copies were distributed.

How would you outline the steps in organizing your project to advise another group on a similar project?

  1. Incorporate and establish a membership organization.
  2. Elect a board and officers.
  3. Publish a newsletter.
  4. Establish a task force to raise funds, plan how to attack the problem and to generate publicity.
  5. Join other similar groups, such as MUCC & MEC.

What have been the affects of this effort on your organization’s work?

The FDR has spent approximately half of its time and resources on the Humbug Marsh issue.

How the project has affected your community?

The majority of people in SE Michigan are now aware of Humbug Marsh and its importance to migratory waterfowl and fish spawning.

How many people were involved (initially v/s finally)?

FDR started with 35 members, we now have over 400The Wetlands task force of 50 people is especially active.

How many people-hours were spent on the various aspects of the project?

No hourly records have been kept for the people involved. We ran bingo games for 3 months, had 3 spaghetti dinners; wrote flyers, newspaper articles, ads, letters; went door to door with Humbug Marsh information; had information/membership booths at several activities. We have no paid employees. Every hour spent has been volunteered.

How was public involvement motivated and facilitated?

Public involvement was motivated and facilitated by

  1. Newspaper articles and paid advertisements
  2. Quarterly Newsletters
  3. Flyers
  4. Meetings
  5. Telephone
  6. E-mail

How was public education a component of your program?

Public education was a component of our program in that newsletters were sent to 3000 people. In addition, newsletters were sent to 1,200 public school administrators in Wayne County.

Collaborative efforts with members of FDR and the Michigan Sea Grant have resulted in a few classrooms participating in a hands on project of water quality testing in Humbug Marsh.

What was the primary means of communication?

The primary means of communication to members and other environmentally conscious citizens has bee our quarterly newsletters and flyers to inform of fund raisers and information meetings. Among the task force the primary means is e-mail and telephone.

What resources were available/acquired/tapped into (total project cost, public v/s private financing, specific sources, etc.)?

The main resource has been people willing to donate their time, energy, talents and money to the effort to preserve Humbug Marsh.

What level of media exposure were you able to obtain and how did it affect your efforts?

Barbara Stanton of the Detroit Free Press and Paula Neumann of the Heritage News Herald have written numerous editorials and articles promoting the cause for keeping Humbug Marsh natural and undeveloped. I suspect that their support has influenced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stand firm against the threats made by Made In Detroit to which the DEQ and the City Council of Gibraltar have bowed abjectly. They also have arranged for FDR members letters to the editor to get on the right desk so as to be published soon after being written.

Friends of the Detroit River, Inc.
P O Box 3099
Melvindale, MI 48122



Stay Informed

Connect With us


© 2022 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.