A significant level of effort toward Remedial Action Plan implementation has
been observed in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The Matrix of Restoration
Activities that accompanies this report summarizes, for each Area of
Concern, information on restoration activities provided by the governments to
The findings of the Commission are as follows.
- Two Areas of Concern in Canada have been delisted, and two Areas of Concern,
one in Canada and one in the United States are recognized as being Areas of
Concern in a Recovery Stage.
- In Canada, work to remediate sediment has taken place or is ongoing in two of 10
Canadian-only Areas of Concern. Natural recoveryg has been selected as the
remedial strategy in seven Canadian-only Areas of Concern. To date,
$33 million (CAD) has been spent on sediment remediation in Areas of Concern.
In addition, approximately $270 million (CAD) has been spent on wastewater
infrastructure in Areas of Concern.
- In the United States, work to remediate sediment has taken place or is ongoing
in 14 of the 26 United-States only Areas of Concern. To date, the United
States reports that $160 million (USD) has been spent in Areas of Concern, and
several billion dollars has been spent on wastewater treatment. Aside from
Isle Bay (Pennsylvania) and Torch Lake (Michigan), no United States Area of
decided whether natural recovery will be its strategy for remediating
sediment. Cleanup of contamination at nonaquatic sites that contribute to
Areas of Concern has occurred under other programs, such as the U.S. Superfund
program, but cleanup at these nonaquatic sites is not always specifically
associated with Remedial Action Plans.
- Work to remediate contaminated sediment has taken place or is ongoing in two of
the five binational Areas of Concern in Canada and in four of the five
of Concern in the United States.
- The governments are not adequately reporting biennially on progress in
developing and implementing Remedial Action Plans and in restoring beneficial
uses, as called for in Annex 2 of the Agreement.
- Key challenges facing the governments in implementing Remedial Action Plans and
restoring beneficial uses are:
- securing the resources to implement the plans;
- identifying accountability and responsibility;
- defining restoration targets where they do not exist;
- setting priorities; and
- monitoring recovery.
- Information gaps on what has been implemented and what more needs to be done
limit the governments' ability to estimate and successfully acquire resources
necessary to restore beneficial uses in the Areas of Concern.
- Many Areas of Concern, particularly those in the United States, do not have
clearly defined geographic boundaries as required by Annex 2 of the Great Lakes
Water Quality Agreement, thereby making it difficult to determine a full
accounting of restoration activities within the Areas of Concernh.
- The governments' management of Remedial Action Plans requires more clearly
delineated accountability and responsibility, however, some recent progress in
this regard is noted.
- The criteria and rationale for selecting natural recovery as the method of
sediment remediation are not clear,
- Although the Agreement does not use the term, the two governments are
recognizing or designating Areas of Concern as being in a Recovery Stage.
- Without clear restoration targets for each impaired beneficial use in each
Area of Concern, particularly in the United States, it is difficult to quantify
the specific costs of the remaining work. The United States government,
has currently estimated that costs of $7.4 billion (USD) will be required to
address the wastewater infrastructure and sediment improvements necessary to
restore beneficial uses in selected Areas of Concern for which detailed
information is available. No inforamtion is available on future costs in its
remaining United States Areas of Concern. The Canadian Government has
estimated a cost
of $1.9 billion (CAD) to address these improvements across all Canadian Areas
In view of our obligations, studies and discussions with the parties, the
recommendations of the Commission are as follows.
- The two governments should document their considerable investment and
achievements to date in order to provide the public with a true reflection of
- The two governments should meet their responsibility to formally report
biennially on the degree to which each impaired beneficial use in each Area of
Concern has been restored, as required by Annex 2, Paragraph 7(b), of the Great
Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
- The two governments should ensure that monitoring, data support and information
management systems are in place and that the governments soon provide an update
of the Matrix of Restoration Activities to the Commission. The Commission
believes that the utility of the matrix would be greatly enhanced by
maintaining it as a living, web-based document available to governments and
the public, and invites governments to help make this happen.
- The two governments should report to the Commission and the public on the
and rationale for selecting natural recovery as the method of sediment
- The United States government should soon provide the Commission with a schedule
for the development of restoration targets for each impaired beneficial use in
each of the Areas of Concern.
- Federal, state and provincial governments should ensure accountability and
responsibility for Remedial Action Plan implementation and set clear lines of
authority for each
Area of Concern.
- Federal, state and provincial governments should ensure that maps for the Areas
of Concern clearly define the geographic boundaries of each Area of Concern,
particularly in the United States, and that they identify the sources of
- Federal, state and provincial governments should report to the Commission and
the public on their rationale for determining priorities for remedial measures
and identify those priorities within and among the Areas of Concern.
- The two governments should report to the Commission and the public the criteria
and rationale for recognizing or designating Areas of Concern in a Recovery
In the Canada-Ontario Agreement of 2002 and the United States Great Lakes
Strategy of 2002, Environment Canada and the Unites States Environmental
Protection Agency identify plans to address several of these recommendations.
The Commission looks forward to reporting on their implementation.
| || || |