Earlier this summer, Gov. Jennifer Granholm called for aggressive action to prevent Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes, saying â€œWe must use every available tool at our disposal to protect the Great Lakes, including closing the locks, expanding eDNA testing and applying additional rotenone as necessary.â€
That prompted the Ann Arbor Chronicle’s local history expert Laura Bien to dig up a previous case of using rotenone on Ford Lake. She begins:
In 1973, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources wanted to turn Ypsilanti’s Ford Lake into a fisherman’s paradise. They planned to stock it with muskellunge, rainbow trout, and large- and smallmouth bass.
The only problem was the lake’s population of â€œrough fishâ€ â€“ mostly the common carp, plus bullheads and suckers. Carp are not native to Michigan. They were introduced in the late 19th century by the era-equivalent of the DNR as a valuable food fish that was cheap to keep on artificial ponds dug on farmers’ land. The farmers’ aquaculture projects inevitably spilled into Michigan waterways.
A century later, the DNR planned to douse Ford Lake with the piscicide rotenone to kill the carp and other rough fish, then whisk the remains into the Ypsilanti Township landfill and restock the pond.