A Rouge River island with a deep history and a washed up appearance is looking better than it has in years, and though it's more industrial than natural its become a place of interest for recreational water users and environmentalists.
Fordson Island, an 8.4 acre piece of land born in the early 1920s when a channel was dug by the Army Corps of Engineers to increase shipping transportation, fell into decline in the 1970s after the water levels dropped, sediment rose and residents left.
Rundown homes, dozens of old and rusty boats and poor water quality were discovered years later, and a now two-three year old effort by several organizations, including AKT Peerless
, an environmental and energy consulting firm; NOAA, the marine debris division National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
; the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority;
and Friends of the Rouge
have removed tons of debris, literally, which has resulted in an improvement in water quality.
Slowly, the island, although private, is starting to attract nature lovers and kayakers, along with fish and other wildlife. Hundreds of volunteers have removed many many cubic yards of junk and garbage, and water testing has shown an improvement in the amount of pollution.
Several goals have been set, including the return of fish once common to the area.
The island is about 3 miles inland from the Detroit River on the River Rouge owned by the city of Dearborn and accessible only by boat or a one-lane bridge from Detroit.
Source: Tim McGahey, regional manager of operations for Southeast Michigan at AKT Peerless
Writer: Kim North Shine