Removal of Abandoned Boats Sets Stage
for Further Restoration at Fordson Island
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds are helping to clean up marine debris and abandoned boats to increase recreational opportunities on island.
Prior to World War II, Fordson Island in the Rouge River was created from the sediment dredged from the river to create a deeper channel. The Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Plant needed a deeper channel in the river to transport critically important submarine chaser boats, which they produced during the war. Over time, the small man-made island that was created because of important transportation needs was forgotten and people began dumping trash on the island. On the west side of the island, marine debris from industry and nearby commercial areas began to build up. The cleanup project removed 18 abandoned boats and tons of other debris from the shoreline and river. The project will include ecological and habitat surveys, which could lead to the 8.5-acre island becoming a park amid a heavily industrialized area.
Resource Challenges Addressed
- Trash piles
- Dump for boats
- Degraded fish and wildlife habitat
- Soil and water contamination
FORDSON ISLAND OXBOW RESTORATION
Location: Dearborn, Mich.
Approximate cost: $150,000
Key partners: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, Friends of the Rouge, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, Detroit Riverkeeper, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wayne County, City of Detroit Department of Environmental Affairs, Gateway Community Development Collaborative, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Marine Pollution Control, Waste Management, Friends of the Detroit River, University of Michigan- Dearborn and AKT Peerless Environmental Services
Types of jobs created: Backhoe operators, barge operators, truck drivers, environmental scientists, chemists, biologists and zoologists
Results and Accomplishments
Crews removed 18 abandoned boats from the island. Studies are planned to determine the biological health of the island and nearshore areas, and what could be done to make the site a more attractive recreational area.