On the left, a Service biologist collects water and sediment samples near the mouth of
Swan Creek. To the right, the nesting common tern is an example of a species potentially
impacted by high pollution levels. A variety of fish and wildlife may be impacted in
Areas of Concern.
Photos by USFWS
Great Lakes Areas of Concern are locations along the Great Lakes suffering from degraded environmental conditions caused by historic and ongoing pollution. These areas were designated under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada based on the presence of one or more beneficial use impairments. A beneficial use impairment is when a body of water is so polluted it is no longer suitable for specific uses, such as loss of fish and wildlife habitat or restrictions on fish consumption. Of the 43 Areas of Concern identified in the U.S. and Canada, to date, only two Canadian and one U.S. Area of Concern have been delisted.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is making funds available to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to clean up and restore these highly degraded areas. The Service is contributing its expertise to the Great Lakes-wide effort through its project, Accelerating Remediation and Restoration of Contaminated Sediment at Areas of Concern.
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