Contact Hydro Station

Michael Saranen
Operations Manager

Ford Lake Hydro Station

Ford Lake Current Conditions

A piece of history helping with today's renewable energy needs.

The Ford Lake Dam is owned and operated by the Charter Township of Ypsilanti under license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as Project #5334. The project received a new 30-year operating license in 2003.

Responsibilities for the department staff include the day-to-day operations, maintenance, safety, and regulatory compliance. The Township operates of the Ford Lake Dam and the Sargent Charles Dam.

The Ford Lake Dam and powerhouse was built in the 1930's by Henry Ford to supply electricity to the Ypsilanti Ford Motor Plant for the purpose of manufacturing automobile parts. In 1969, the Ford Motor Company gifted the dam and powerhouse along with about 1,000 acres of land to the City and Township of Ypsilanti. JYRO was formed to manage the acquired property and did so until 1990, when the organization was dissolved. Since then, the ownership has remained with the Township and is currently managing the property, including the dam and powerhouse.

Published quarterly by the Huron River Watershed Council - Huron River Report

National Weather Service
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Lawn Fertilizer Phosphorus Ordinance
The Township is under a federal mandate to reduce phosphorus levels in Ford Lake in order to meet water quality standards. Runoff from residential lawn fertilization is the primary source of phosphorus entering Ford Lake. By limiting the unnecessary application of phosphorus to lawns, the Township can reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the lake. To achieve that goal, Ypsilanti Township passed an ordinance to eliminate the use of phosphorus in manufactured lawn fertilizers, effective January 2010.

Article IV Manufactured Fertilizer Ordinance
Sec. 66-76: Exemption for the use and application of manufactured fertilizer containing phosphorus

State of Michigan Legislature Act 451 Part 85

Black and White Photo of Tuttle BridgeHistory
In the summer of 1885 Tuttle bridge was built over the Huron River before it became Ford Lake at Tuttle Hill Rd. The bridge was 110 feet long and 16 feet wide. The bridge remained in use until the 1930's when the Ford Lake Dam was built to provide hydroelectric power for manufacturing plants of the Ford Motor Company. The water of the Huron River was backed up behind the dam and covered Tuttle Bridge. As time passed, ice pushed the bridge onto its side and there it lies today about 25 feet under water, 50 yards from the shore.