Banner
.
 

Annex 2

Home

RESTORING BENEFICIAL USES IN AREAS OF CONCERN

Impairment of beneficial use is defined as

a change in the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of the Great Lakes system sufficient to cause any of the 14 use impairments in Table 1 or other related uses covered by Article IV such as the microbial objective for waters used for body contact recreational activities.

Beneficial Use Impairments

In 1991, the International Joint Commission approved guidelines for listing and delisting Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. These guidelines were the result of months of work coordinated by the Great Lakes Water Quality Board and input from more than 200 interested citizens and scientists.

The intent of these early listing/delisting guidelines was to serve as an initial reference point from which the Parties could base the development of appropriate restoration criteria on. Delisting criteria are recommended in order to provide direction and focus for the Remedial Actions Plans (RAPs) developed for each Area of Concern (AOC). To view these early listing/delisting targets, click here.

Since 1991, many government agencies, local RAPs groups and others have worked extremely diligently to develop systematic and comprehensive restoration targets for their Areas of Concern.

The IJC recognizes these substantial achievements and would recommend to website viewers to click on the BUI listed in Table 1 to view current examples of restoration targets. The restoration targets listed have been developed by government agencies and/or local RAP groups. As the development of restoration targets is the responsibility of the Parties; the IJC cannot endorse or recommend delisting targets. This list of restoration targets is intended to assist RAP groups that have not yet established their targets.

TABLE 1: Beneficial Use Impairments
(Click on the Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) to view existing Delisting Criteria developed by RAP Teams)

Areas of Concern Clickable Map

In 2003, the IJC released a status report on the Restoration Activities in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. In conjunction with this report, an on-line clickable map was made available to summarize progress forward in the restoration of the Areas of Concern, as indicated by activities undertaken to improve wastewater infrastructure, clean up of contaminated sediment and the restoration of habitat.

The following list was prepared in 1991 and is provided here for information.
For more current developments on delisting targets see Table 1.

BUIListing GuidelineDelisting Guideline
RESTRICTIONS ON FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSUMPTION When contaminant levels in fish or wildlife populations exceed current standards, objectives or guidelines, or public health advisories are in effect for human consumption of fish or wildlife. Contaminant levels in fish and wildlife must be due to contaminant input from the watershed. When contaminant levels in fish and wildlife populations do not exceed current standards, objectives or guidelines, and no public health advisories are in effect for human consumption of fish or wildlife. Contaminant levels in fish and wildlife must not be due to contaminant input from the watershed.
TAINTING OF FISH AND WILDLIFE FLAVOR When ambient water quality standards, objectives, or guidelines, for the anthropogenic substance(s) known to cause tainting, are being exceeded or survey results have identified tainting of fish or wildlife flavor. When survey results confirm no tainting of fish or wildlife flavor.
DEGRADED FISH AND WILDLIFE POPULATIONS When fish and wildlife management programs have identified degraded fish or wildlife populations due to a cause within the watershed. In addition, this use will be considered impaired when relevant, field-validated, fish or wildlife bioassays with appropriate quality assurance/quality controls confirm significant toxicity from water column or sediment contaminants. When environmental conditions support healthy, self-sustaining communities of desired fish and wildlife at predetermined levels of abundance that would be expected from the amount and quality of suitable physical, chemical and biological habitat present. An effort must be made to ensure that fish and wildlife objectives for Areas of Concern are consistent with Great Lakes ecosystem objectives and Great Lakes Fishery Commission fish community goals. Further, in the absence of community structure data, this use will be considered restored when fish and wildlife bioassays confirm no significant toxicity from water column or sediment contaminants.
FISH TUMORS OR OTHER DEFORMITIES When the incidence rates of fish tumors or other deformities exceed rates at unimpacted control sites or when survey data confirm the presence of neoplastic or preneoplastic liver tumors in bullheads or suckers. When the incidence rates of fish tumors or other deformities do not exceed rates at unimpacted control sites and when survey data confirm the absence of neoplastic or preneoplastic liver tumors in bullheads or suckers.
BIRD OR ANIMAL DEFORMITIES OR REPRODUCTIVE PROBLEM When wildlife survey data confirm the presence of deformities (e.g. cross-bill syndrome) or other reproductive problems (e.g. egg-shell thinning) in sentinel wildlife species. When the incidence rates of deformities (e.g. cross-bill syndrome) or reproductive problems (e.g. egg-shell thinning) in sentinel wildlife species do not exceed background levels in inland control population
DEGRADATION OF BENTHOS When the benthic macroinvertebrate community structure significantly diverges from unimpacted control sites of comparable physical and chemical characteristics. In addition, this use will be considered impaired when toxicity (as defined by relevant, field-validated, bioassays with appropriate quality assurance/quality controls) of sediment associated contaminants at a site is significantly higher than controls. When the benthic macroinvertebrate community structure does not significantly diverge from unimpacted control sites of comparable physical and chemical characteristics. Further, in the absence of community structure data, this use will be considered restored when toxicity of sediment-associated contaminants is not significantly higher than controls.
RESTRICTIONS ON DREDGING ACTIVITIES When contaminants in sediments exceed standards, criteria, or guidelines such that there are restrictions on dredging or disposal activities. When contaminants in sediments do not exceed standards, criteria, or guidelines such that there are restrictions on dredging or disposal activities.
EUTROPHICATION OR UNDESIRABLE ALGAE When there are persistent water quality problems (e.g. dissolved oxygen depletion of bottom waters, nuisance algal blooms or accumulation, decreased water clarity, etc.) attributed to cultural eutrophication. When there are no persistent water quality problems (e.g. dissolved oxygen depletion of bottom waters, nuisance algal blooms or accumulation decreased water clarity, etc.) attributed to cultural eutrophication.
RESTRICTIONS-DRINKING WATER CONSUMPTION-TASTE/ODOR PROBLEMS When treated drinking water supplies are impacted to the extent that: 1)densities of disease-causing organisms or concentrations of hazardous or toxic chemicals or radioactive substances exceed human health standards, objectives or guidelines; 2) taste and odor problems are present; or 3) treatment needed to make raw water suitable for drinking is beyond the standard treatment used in comparable portions of the Great Lakes which are not degraded (i.e. settling, coagulation, disinfection). For treated drinking water supplies: 1) when densities of disease-causing organisms or concentrations of hazardous or toxic chemicals or radioactive substances do not exceed human health objectives, standards or guidelines; 2) when taste and odor problems are absent; and 3) when treatment needed to make raw water suitable for drinking does not exceed the standard treatment used in comparable portions of the Great Lakes which are not degraded (i.e. settling, coagulation, disinfection).
BEACH CLOSINGS When waters, which are commonly used for total-body contact or partial-body contact recreation, exceed standards, objectives, or guidelines for such use. When waters, which are commonly used for total-body contact or partial body-contact recreation, do not exceed standards, objectives, or guidelines for such use.
DEGRADATION OF AESTHETICS When any substance in water produces a persistent objectionable deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum). When the waters are devoid of any substance which produces a persistent objectional deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum).
ADDED COSTS TO AGRICULTURE OR INDUSTRY When there are additional costs required to treat the water prior to use for agricultural purposes (i.e. including, but not limited to, livestock watering, irrigation and crop-spraying) or industrial purposes (i.e. intended for commercial or industrial applications and noncontact food processing). When there are no additional costs required to treat the water prior to use for agricultural purposes (i.e. including, but not limited to, livestock watering, irrigation and crop-spraying) and industrial purposes (i.e. intended for commercial or industrial applications and noncontact food processing).
DEGRADATION OF PHYTOPLANKTON AND ZOOPLANKTON POPULATIONS When phytoplankton or zooplankton community structure significantly diverges from unimpacted control sites of comparable physical and chemical characteristics. In addition, this use will be considered impaired when relevant, field- validated, phytoplankton or zooplankton bioassays (e.g. Ceriodaphnia; algal fractionation bioassays) with appropriate quality assurance/quality controls confirm toxicity in ambient waters. When phytoplankton and zooplankton community structure does not significantly diverge from unimpacted control sites of comparable physical and chemical characteristics. Further, in the absence of community structure data, this use will be considered restored when phytoplankton and zooplankton bioassays confirm no significant toxicity in ambient waters.
LOSS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT When fish and wildlife management goals have not been met as a result of loss of fish and wildlife habitat due to a perturbation in the physical, chemical, or biological integrity of the Boundary Waters, including wetlands. When the amount and quality of physical, chemical, and biological habitat required to meet fish and wildlife management goals have been achieved and protected.

Last update: 

Top of Page
Banner