Midwest Region


September 5, 2010

Stephanie Millsap, (734)-692-7628,
Georgia Parham, (812)-334-4261 x 1203,

Work Begins Soon on Grassy Island Evaluation

Workers will begin evaluating Grassy Island to determine the effectiveness of various measures in containing contaminated material on the island, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.  Work is expected to begin as early as Tuesday, September 7, and is anticipated to finish in November 2010.

Grassy Island, originally a large shoal area with a few low-lying islands, is located in the Detroit River.  In 1959, 72 acres of this area were diked by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to create a disposal location for sediments dredged primarily from the Rouge River.  There are 28 contaminants in the dredged material that exceed state and federal guidelines and criteria. Grassy Island is owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been part of the National Wildlife Refuge System since 1961, and is now part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. 

The Bureau of Reclamation, on behalf of the Service, will coordinate the field work on this stage of the effort to address nearly 3 million cubic yards of contaminated dredged material on Grassy Island.  The work will allow the Service to gauge the ability of dikes to contain contaminants; the ability of the site to support a “cap;” and the expected effectiveness of such a cap in preventing spread of contaminated material. 

The information from this investigation lays the foundation for future decisions regarding remedial actions that would protect human health and the environment, including decreasing the possibility for wildlife to be exposed to contaminated material. 

This field work is the major component of work supported by $2.8 million provided to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address Grassy Island through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  This money comes from the President’s 2010 Budget which provided $475 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency –led, interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. For more information on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service activities related specifically to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, please visit .

More information on the Service’s work to clean up contaminants at Grassy Island is available at .


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Last updated: June 15, 2016