Exciting news for the St. Mary’s Binational Area of Concern
The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes today announced the removal of two Beneficial Use Impairments from Michigan’s side of the binational St. Marys River Area of Concern. The Degradation of Aesthetics BUI and Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems BUI have been removed from the list of impairments associated with the site.
The St. Marys River is one of Michigan’s 14 federally designated Great Lakes AOCs, which suffer from severe environmental degradation, primarily from industrial and municipal wastes. The AOC extends the entire length of the St. Marys River, from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, and forms the international border between Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula and the Canadian province of Ontario.
Historical issues with excessive nutrients, elevated levels of bacteria, trace organic compounds, contaminated sediments and heavy metals contributed to some of the area’s 10 total BUIs.
Recent assessments concluded that the historical conditions that contributed to these two impairments no longer exist. Wildlife nesting and foraging at the site are no longer adversely affected by exposure to PCB, DDE or dioxin. In addition, aesthetic conditions described in historical documents are no longer present.
The restoration of these first two beneficial uses at the AOC marks a significant milestone on the path toward environmental recovery.
At this time, eight additional beneficial uses remain listed as impaired for the St. Marys River. The Office of the Great Lakes remains committed to continue to work collaboratively with local, state, federal and Canadian stakeholders to further restore the area.
For additional information on the Michigan’s AOC program, visit www.michigan.gov/deqaocprogram