What's New Niagara River back from the brink Niagara This Week (12/6) A quarter century after serious cleanup efforts of the Niagara River got underway, much headway has been made in reducing pollution levels in the vital waterway, however, many challenges remain.
COMMENTARY: Let's take care of Presqu'ile Bay Northumberland News (10/21) Unfortunately Presqu'ile Bay, Ont., is succumbing to nutrient enrichment and has not been properly cared for or even routinely assessed for environmental health. Yearly assessments of and remediation of the underlying problems are required.
Deadline for comment on bay's status extended Erie Times-News (9/8) People now have a little longer to express their opinions about an effort to take Presque Isle Bay off a watch list. The public comment period has been extended to Oct. 1 for the plan that recommends removing the bay from the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement's Areas of Concern list.
EPA announces $50 Million for Sheboygan River dredging The Sheboygan Daily (8/16) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Sheboygan area officials joined forces today to kick off the final dredging work and habitat restoration projects needed to remove the Sheboygan River “Area of Concern” from a list of toxic hot spots identified in the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
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.