Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great Lakes Areas of Concern: Map by Great Lakes Commission

Great Lakes Areas of Concern

Areas of Concern Map (updated June 2010)

About the Areas of Concern

The Areas of Concern are watersheds along the Great Lakes suffering from degraded environmental conditions stemming from historic and ongoing pollution. They were designated under the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement based on the presence of beneficial use impairments, such as restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption, beach closures, drinking water restrictions, loss of fish and wildlife habitat, etc.

A total of 43 AOCs have been identified in the U.S. and Canada: 26 located entirely within the U.S.; 12 located wholly within Canada; and five that are shared by both countries. Since the inception of the AOC program, two Canadian AOCs and one U.S. AOC have been delisted. Federal, state, provincial and local partners are working to delist the other AOCs.

Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) have been developed and and are being implemented for all designated AOCs in the Great Lakes basin. RAPs were developed for each AOC to address impairments to any one of 14 beneficial uses (e.g., restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption, dredging activities, or drinking water consumption) associated with them. RAPs use an ecosystem-based, multi-media approach for assessing and remediating impaired uses. The RAP process is a model of grassroots environmental democracy, stressing empowerment of the affected public within AOCs. Successful RAPs are community driven, with active federal, state and local involvement.

Area of Concern Contacts

This Area of Concern Contact List includes RAP advisory council chairs, state contacts, federal contacts, local coordinators and other contacts for each U.S. Area of Concern.

U.S. AOC Program Annual Meeting

The U.S. AOC Program Meeting is held annually to review recent developments affecting the program; discuss approaches for implementing delisting targets; build capacity to implement on-the-ground restoration actions; identify opportunities to address AOC restoration priorities; improve linkages between the AOCs, Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) and other programs; and consider actions that will strengthen the regional U.S. AOC program.

Statewide Public Advisory Council for Michigan’s AOCs

Of the 42 current Great Lakes AOCs, 14 are located in Michigan. They include rivers, lakes and bays located across the state. Michigan's AOC program is administered by Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (formerly the Department of Environmental Quality) in collaboration with other state and federal agencies and local stakeholders.

The Statewide Public Advisory Council (SPAC) was formed in 1991 to facilitate public participation in decisions affecting Michigan's AOC program, heighten public awareness of and participation in the RAPs being developed in the AOCs, and generate public support for implementation of restoration and protection measures in the AOCs.

Virtual Library of Remedial Action Plan Resources

The Virtual Library of Remedial Action Plan Resources is a web page maintained by the Great Lakes Commission that provides a variety of information on the Great Lakes Areas of Concern program and associated Remedial Action Plans. Information contained on the page is updated frequently and expanded as needed to reflect new information as the RAP program evolves.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Resources

In 2010, the U.S. EPA was provided $475 million for the first year of a new, interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) targeting significant problems in the region, including invasive aquatic species, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediment. The GLRI uses outcome-oriented performance goals and measures to target these problems and track progress in addressing them. U.S. EPA, in concert with its federal partners and other stakeholders, is leading the development and implementation of the GLRI and will administer the funding. The Great Lakes Commission maintains a list of web links for the GLRI that may be useful to Great Lakes stakeholders who are interested in the GLRI or involved in developing funding proposals. The links on this page will be updated continuously.


A variety of recent and past publications and documents related to Great Lakes Areas of Concern are available on the Publications page.

Workshop and Meeting Proceedings

The Great Lakes Commissiom maintains summaries and proceedings of a variety of workshops and meetings related to Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Brief descriptions and links to those summaries are available on the Workshop & Meeting Proceedings page.

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