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Glossary of technical terms
    that appear in the LaMPs

Acronyms | Words and definitions

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Radionuclides are unstable nuclides of a particular atomic species that return to stability by emitting ionizing radiation. They may arise naturally or as a result of human activities. Radionuclides are pollutants of interest in the Great Lakes, particularly trituim, carbon-14, strontium-90, radioiodine, cesium-137, radon-222, radium-226, uranium isotopes, and plutonium isotopes.

Receiving Waters

Rivers, streams, lakes, or any body of water into which wastewater is discharged.

Region 5

The EPA's regional office that covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Also see "Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. EPA."

Regional Air Pollutant Inventory Development System (RAPIDS)

RAPIDS contains statewide air emissions inventories of 49 pollutants of concern to the Great Lakes. The inventory contains emissions estimates for point and area sources of toxic air pollutants.

Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (REMAP)

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program work on a regional scale. The St. Louis River is a Great Lakes example of a REMAP study. Cooperators include MED, GLNPO, NRRI, MPCA, UWS, and EPA Region 5.

Regional Permit

A type of general permit that may be issued by a division or district engineer (Army Corps of Engineers), after compliance with other procedures, for activities in navigable waters of the U.S. or wetlands.


Rules that outline specific procedures developed by federal or state agencies which are used to implement laws.

Remedial Action Plan (RAP)

A plan developed and implemented to protect and restore beneficial uses in Great Lakes areas of concern, as required under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Often referred to as a RAP, its purpose is to restore all beneficial uses to the area. These are federally-mandated local plans designed to restore environmental quality to Areas of Concern (AOCs) on the Great Lakes (there were initially 43 throughout the Great Lakes). The Areas of Concern were identified for their persistent pollution problems. Remedial Action Plans were called for by a protocol added to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1987.

Residence Time

The time required for a water body to exchange its entire volume of water. Lake Michigan takes about 99 years to flush its entire volume. This is an important factor used in determining the residence time of toxic pollutants in the lake. Also referred to as flushing time.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

A federal law that established a comprehensive cradle-to-grave system for regulating hazardous waste.


Habitat occurring along the bank of a waterway. Vegetated ecosystems found along any stream or river. These areas characteristically have a high water table and are subject to periodic flooding and influence from the adjacent water body.


Rock or other large material that is placed to protect streambanks or lakeshores from erosion due to runoff or wave action.

Risk Assessment

A complex process by which scientists determine the harm that a substance, activity, lifestyle, or natural phenomenon can inflict on human health or the environment. The process involves analyzing scientific data to describe the form, dimension, and characteristics of risk. Assessments are usually predictive estimates of how risky a particular situation is. See also risk management, ecological risk assessment, comparative risk analysis.

Risk Management

The process by which risk assessment results are used with other information to make regulatory decisions. Risk management asks, "What shall we do about this risk?" See also "Risk assessment" and "Ecological risk assessment."

Risk Reduction

Anything, such as education, regulation, or remediation, that reduces the adverse effects of exposure to risks from a substance, activity, lifestyle, or natural phenomenon.

River Watch

A citizen-based volunteer water monitoring, education, and outreach program on Lake Superior sponsored by the EPA. The primary emphasis of the program is to work with secondary school teachers and students to incorporate River Watch concepts into existing course curricula. See also "St. Louis Riverwatch."

Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899

A federal statute that allows the Army Corps of Engineers to regulate the creation of obstructions and filling of navigable waters of the U.S.

Ruffe Control Plan

The Ruffe Control Task Force Committee (appointed by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force) developed this integrated plan encompassing the legal requirements mandated by the Non-indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 to control the Eurasian ruffe. The program provides assessment and control measures including range reduction by chemical treatments, prevention of ballast water transport, and monitoring and surveillance. The plan also emphasizes research and public education as essential components of a ruffe control effort.

Ruffe Control Task Force Committee

An organization representing academic, business, shipping, fisheries management, and fishing interests Great Lakes-wide that developed a five-part plan aimed at controlling the spread of ruffe to western Lake Superior. Chaired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this task force was established in 1991 by the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission.

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