What's New St. Clair River is OK for swimming The Times Herald (2/28) The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is proposing the removal of a beach closings beneficial use impairment from the St. Clair River. A beneficial use impairment is a change that restricts people and wildlife from using the river.
The St. Clair and the Detroit: A tale of two rivers, Part III The Voice (1/23) The Detroit River is being “rewilded,” according to the director of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. After decades of intense pollution and habitat destruction, nature and natural processes are being allowed to reestablish themselves.
Detroit River comeback benefits Lake Erie Port Clinton News Herald (12/10) During the '60s, Lake Erie was viewed as a dead lake, fouled with pollution and toxic algae. With it suffered the Detroit River. In recent years, Detroit has reclaimed habitat and natural areas. Even areas still heavily industrialized along the river have seen a recovery.
Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) identify specific problems in severely degraded Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) and describe methods for correcting them. Forty-three such areas have been identified by the U.S. and Canadian governments; 26 in U.S. waters, 17 in Canadian water (five are shared between U.S. and Canada on connecting river systems). Collingwood Harbour, in Ontario, is the first of these 43 sites to be delisted.
The U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), as amended via the 1987 protocol, directed the two federal governments to cooperate with state and provincial governments to develop and implement Remedial Action Plans for each Area of Concern. RAPs are typically compiled by a state or provincial department in charge of natural resources; then they are signed by the secretary or minister of that department and submitted to the International Joint Commission for comment.
As outlined in Annex 2 of the GLWQA, each RAP should take an ecosystem approach to restoring and protecting beneficial uses in Areas of Concern. Each RAP will include problem identification, steps to solve such problems including determination of responsible parties and timetable for action, and documentation that problems are resolved.
Because each AOC is faced with different environmental problems, each RAP will be unique in the beneficial uses that are impaired and the options chosen for remediation. One plan may have a large human health component while another focuses largely on contaminated sediments. The goal is to have a final product that accurately reflects the environmental conditions, encompasses the concerns of all stakeholders and has a commitment for implementation.
Great Lakes Areas of Concern U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) Information on U.S. AOCs including current RAP status, scheduled meetings, progress and achievements, beneficial use impairments, research, publications, community involvement and funding partners.
Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Great Lakes Regional Headquarters An overview of the Corps' program to support RAP development and implementation.