This document is composed of a roundtable discussion and selected presentations which were made during a conference to evaluate successful implementation strategies for Remedial Action Plans and to foster their transfer within the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. The conference was held on July 25 through 27, 1995 in Racine, Wisconsin. It was sponsored by the International Joint Commission and the Keland Endowment Fund of The Johnson Foundation. It is hoped that these proceedings will assist in efforts to remediate environmental problems in the Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin.
Presenters were asked to ensure their presentations contained two types of information: one,
very detailed "how to" information on the specific implementation strategies being presented;
and two, general information on what the presenters felt made their implementation strategies
successful? The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to synthesize the general
information contained in the presentations into statements of what is required for successful
The agency participants in their introductory outlook statements set the context for the workshop: In today's times of declining government dollars for RAP operation and implementation, how do the RAPs remain viable into the future? What is a RAP going to look like? How do we energize as we go into the future?
Answering these questions, using the information from the presentations, was the goal of the roundtable discussion.
To start the discussion, a tentative list called "Pillars of Successful Strategies" was developed. These "pillars" were developed from the material contained in the presentations.
The five "Pillars of Successful Strategies" (in no particular order of importance) were:
Workshop participants were asked to comment on these "pillars" as well as add any others that they felt had been missed. While there was agreement that these "pillars" were common elements in all the presentations, participants added other "pillars", including:
After discussion of these additional "pillars," participants started to make observations about an evolution of the RAP process that they had observed from the different presentations. In particular, participants noted:
Due to time constraints, a number of questions were raised that could not be addressed. It was recommended that another forum be found to discuss these questions. The questions included:
The meeting concluded with a specific recommendation:
Welcome and Introduction to Conference
Welcome by Richard (Dick) Kinch, The Johnson Foundation
Commissioner, United States Section
International Joint Commission
Welcome everybody. Thank you very much Dick. I think I can speak on everybody's behalf to thank you and Charlie, and The Johnson Foundation for your hospitality, for the opportunity to be here. This is a fascinating place. And I was looking through the information about Wingspread and The Johnson Foundation and I want you to know that we share your goals for a thoughtful, productive conference that is likely to have impacts on our future planning, and those are words that we take to heart. I also want to thank Bruce Kirschner for the time that he has spent organizing this conference. This is a challenging time for the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) process; and Bruce, your persistence in organizing this conference is very much appreciated.
When I look out at the table tonight and also at our list of participants I see that we have here the experts that we at the International Joint Commission (IJC) rely on for much of our work under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). You are the people that we turn to, to lead our RAPs, you're the people who we turn to review our RAPs and many of you are active in organizing and advocating remediation efforts all across the basin. As experts in the RAP process, we're turning to you now for your input regarding the strategies that have made the RAPs a success. And I suspect that all of you as leaders in your community have other commitments to environmental activism or community activism and so we at the IJC really appreciate your time and your effort -- not only leading the RAPs, but in sharing information with others. It's a difficult time to envision the future of the RAP process; it's a challenging time. And the success that the GLWQA envisions, whether remediation of Areas of Concern (AOCs), is really contained in these smaller success stories -- smaller, if you will -- success stories that each of you have to tell. There's success stories about your ecosystems, about your rivers, your shorelines, your dunes. It's success stories about community cooperation, public advisory committees, partnerships and agreements. And this is how we need to measure the RAP process. The RAP process, and indeed the GLWQA, is being measured -- it is being scrutinized -- from every corner. And so we need to make sure that people understand how we measure success and what it really means in the basin.
So we look forward to this conference to hear from you. We want to share the information that you have and we intend to do that at our biennial meeting in Duluth. We hope that many of you will be participating there. But that really is only a first step. And so, other ideas that you have for communicating your successes and for energizing the RAP process in the basin are ones that we want to hear. So I'm looking forward to the next few days and I'll turn the meeting back to you, Bruce. Thank you very much.
RAP & LaMP Coordinator
International Joint Commission
Thank you, Alice. I would like to introduce Doug McTavish, the Director of IJC's Great Lakes Regional Office.
Director, Great Lakes Regional Office
International Joint Commission
Thanks Bruce, and I too would like to welcome everyone. I had the pleasure of serving on the IJC's Water Quality Board during the early '80s, and I can remember the frustration at our meetings in talking about these AOCs and what should be done about it. In 1985 the Water Quality Board recommended the Remedial Action Plan process, that we now see before us. And that was formalized in the 1987 Protocol following recommendations of the IJC, after receipt of the material that was provided by the Water Quality Board.
The Water Quality Board, I'm sure there are other members here, would indicate they hadn't anticipated the length of time and the complexity that would be associated with RAPs for AOCs. None of us in 1985 thought that 10 years later we would be at Stage 2. We thought we would have been well beyond that. But they are more complex, there are more problems associated with them. I think the wisdom of the IJC recommending strongly there be the public involvement, public participation has really paid off. And a lot of you around this table are part of that tone of participation.
As Commissioner Chamberlin said, we are looking at the success stories now. We feel they are very important to get out to the other AOCs who perhaps aren't as far along as you are, or who have hit certain roadblocks. And that, coupled with the economic constraints that all governments are feeling, are just going to make it that much more difficult. And hopefully some of your successes, some of your creative ideas are going to be of help to them. So I look forward to the product of this meeting and certainly look forward to it being more input to the RAP process at the biennial meeting. And so again, welcome to the meeting.
Bruce Kirschner - Thank you, Doug. Our first presentation is going to be by Susan Gilbertson from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Project Manager, United States Environmental Protection Agency
On the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, the federal government is undergoing a significant period of change. No news there, I'm sure to most of you. What this means to the RAP process and indeed for community-based environmental protection across the country, is anybody's guess. We've been very successful over the last 20-25 years in achieving some significant environmental benefits. Again, no surprises there.
For example, Jim, I think that you would agree just in terms of sewage treatment and wastewater treatment, there's been significant improvement. That's taken a tremendous amount of public resources. There's still a lot to be done. Some would argue that the easy things happen. But some of those easy things are out of sight. People forget about the sewage treatment lines that run underneath the cities and they think that everything's hunkydory. Well, part of the reason for this story is to say that, "It's not enough to rest on our laurels, it's not enough to rest on what we have accomplished and what we have been able to achieve." Because the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality I think, is something, if we're going to be successful in the future, we also need to keep in mind now.
I also think if we're going to honestly try and progress in the future, we have to deal with what has been a success or what has been a failure. And I know, at least at the federal level it's very uncomfortable for us to talk about failures. We don't like to do that. I think this is a good opportunity for us to do some honest assessment as to what has worked and what hasn't worked, and why. Just because something hasn't succeeded doesn't mean that you can't learn from it. That it hasn't been worth the attempt, that it doesn't have value, that we can't learn from it, and move on. I struggle with how to say that gracefully because that's something that federal employees don't like to talk about. In fact it makes our leadership -- especially in this day and age -- very, very nervous.
One of the things that is going to impact how we as a federal government approach the RAP program, as well as other programs that are community-based, is the level of funding, and is the re-authorization of the Clean Water Act. And I hope the Canadians in the crowd will bear with me for a minute. Our budgets are going to be cut, there's no doubt about that and who knows how deeply, or how much, but they are going to be cut. It's not only the cuts that impact us, it's also going to be the reauthorization of the Clean Water Act. Once we have a budget, it's not only the total dollar amount but how it's directed. And Congress is directing our budget for us this year, in very significant ways. It's not only what's been cut, but how we can or cannot use what's left. And this is going to have a very significant impact for RAPs at all levels.
I think there are also certain commonalities we see in dealing with some of the failures. If a RAP succeeds, I think it's because everyone truly is working in partnership. You are applying federal authorities, state authorities, local authorities. Sometimes, those authorities are in conflict. And if you think that you can work through this concept and avoid conflict, I think you're kidding yourselves. And I think those of you here recognize that. One of the challenges is: how do you work through that conflict, how do you reach consensus? And in some areas it's easier, and in other areas it's more complex. Which isn't to diminish the challenges in area "a" versus area "b," I think, and this is a very oblique way of sometimes getting into the fact, that we sometime let our egos get in the way.
We like to say that, "Well, you know my area is unique, and I had to do this and I had to do that;" give it up, people. Please, please give it up. As a federal employee, I have to negotiate between, at least in my region, six different states and some of you here receive grants from us, and some of you here have been getting very frantic phone calls from me over the last couple weeks on this very issue of grants. That's a very good example of where as federal employees we have to balance needs across the board and it makes it difficult frankly, when some of your egos get in the way. I don't have that luxury of being able to sit back and play favorites. I think where I see successes out there is where people have been able to move beyond some of those egos and personal agendas.
I was thinking that the change that is underway in the U.S. federal government is going to free us up tremendously. I, for one, look forward to that change because part of the empowerment that goes along with building a successful RAP program also means accountability. That partnership has to occur at federal, state and local levels and there has to be accountability at all levels. We sometimes dance around that because of politics, because of budgets, because of this or that. Think of this period of change as something that can free us all up to do a little bit better job of getting beyond the egos and getting beyond the personal agendas.
I think successful RAPs also benefit from leadership. I can see that I'm not going to get any arguments here. I think that strong leadership is sometimes confused with commanding people. Egos get in the way, an awful lot, in terms of who's going to be the leadership, and who's going to direct what and how it's going to get done. I had to go out to a meeting in Seattle. I was addressing a group which deals with estuaries in a manner similar to RAPs. It is amazing to me the similarities that people deal with in terms of identifying the stressors, identifying who's got the lead for what, getting everybody to get on board. The thing that I hear over and over again, is that successful programs invest an awful lot of time up front in building consensuses, in defining what's on the table, what's off the table and why; and reaching closure on that and then moving on. It is tremendously painstaking and it is personally very challenging. But the successful ones invest in that.
One of the things that I am very fearful for, for the RAP program, is that as the federal dollars dry up the basic funds that have been supporting the RAP coordinators, the people who are actually there to provide continuity, to provide the history, to provide the care and feeding, if you will, of that process are going to go away. And without them I think that the successes will come grinding to a halt very quickly. Now how as individuals, how that support, how that care and feeding is funded is fundamental to the continued success of this program.
Some of you may have heard one of my favorite, famous lines -- I took quite a bit of heat for this one -- and it went something along the lines of this: the federal cashcow is dying and in another year it will be dead. Was I right, or was I wrong? Unfortunately, I was right. We do not expect to have federal funds next year that we can direct into the RAP program and the LaMP program, for that matter. The states do have an avenue through their block grants and through their performance partnerships. How the states use that is up to the individual state. We will have no say in that.
So the challenge becomes: How are these groups going to fund for the infrastructure? Because without that infrastructure you don't get the inner development, you don't get the agreement. I think that some of the successful RAPs have started to look at fairly innovative ways to raise funds to maintain that infrastructure. As much as I would like to have a word of cheer and a ray of hope, it's not going to be the federal government, it's not. I think the successful RAPs, and this follows on from the point of : How are you going to form the infrastructure? The successful RAPs are willing to take on tough action and they're willing to make the hard decisions. They are willing to sanction and enforce any action. By the same token, they are also willing to back off an enforcement action perhaps, in certain cases. That can just be a part of when you have one part of the community that wants this action taken and wants it taken now.
Yet, maybe through the consensus building process you've been able to craft something that gets you more. And it may mean that it takes a couple of more years to put it in place, and it may mean that some of my federal colleagues who work in compliance have to sit on their hands for a year or so. It works if there's a commitment to continue forward. It works if there's a commitment to say, "Okay, you've had your opportunity, you blew it. Now we will come in and take an enforcement action."
The same goes as successful RAPs build their public participation processes. I think one of the things I've learned personally on this program, is just how difficult that is. And without it, I think a RAP or any community-based environmental thing is doomed to failure. It requires a very thick skin and it requires a certain sophistication. I think that some of the RAPs that are perhaps not as far along as others, have gone into public participation with a certain naivete. Which isn't to say that they can't be -- I hesitate to use this word -- fixed, improved, upgraded, whatever you want to call it. I've heard from some of the RAP groups that they're ready to walk away from their public participation efforts. And it scares me to death. Because without that public participation, I think the RAPs are doomed to failure. And I think the successful ones have invested and made that commitment to public participation. I don't have any answers for the public participation issues. I think they have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. But I'm afraid that if we abandon that, that cornerstone of it, I think the RAP program will fail.
I wish I had a nice little stump speech that I could give on, "How to be energetic as we go into the future." I haven't come up with that yet; give me a little time. I do think that the RAP program is viable. I think it's going to continue to be viable in the future, even on the U.S. side in the face of all these budget cuts.
Oh by the way, I think that you'll be hearing from some of the state people that are here. It's not just the federal government that's being cut. It's also the state governments that are having their budget cuts -- budget cut, there we go -- and they are the keeper of the RAP program, they really are. Can we work collectively and collaboratively? Yes. Does it mean that we're there with things other than dollars? Yes. I think that's going to have to be the future method of obtaining success. That we're willing to go in and provide our technical expertise. Some of our other skills, some programs are not going to be writing a cheque in the future because they just won't have the cheques to write.
As I started out by saying, "We're going through a major period of change," and I started viewing that as my ticket, my carte blanche to go out there and be innovative. This is probably going to scare some people, but it's not business as usual anymore. I think we have an awful lot that we can do in terms of being innovative. I've got to come up with a better way of saying this but I think the successful RAPs are going to be the ones where egos go out the door, I really mean that.
Bruce Kirschner - Thank you, Susan. Our next two presenters can probably testify to the budget problems in Ontario. Our next presenter will be Louise Knox from Environment Canada.
RAP Coordinator, Environment Canada
Thanks, Bruce. What I'd like to do is give you some of my opinions based on my experience in the Hamilton Harbour RAP and also on my experience working for Environment Canada, which is a federal agency.
I guess the first thing that comes to mind tonight in this forum is that the federal government, and I'll say this for Canada -- and this is my opinion -- has an inflated view of its total importance in the RAP program and I'll let Gail tell you whether she says the same is true of the provincial government. The way the agenda is set up tonight is almost, is kind of symptomatic of the problem. Because we're looking at federal, state and provincial outlooks. Think about that in the context of the Hamilton Harbour RAP where federal and provincially- lead programs represents less than 10% of the costs that will be incurred to implement that RAP. So, municipalities in Hamilton Harbour, in terms of capital costs, municipally-lead programs will amount to $311 million; industrial lead programs will amount to $120 million, and $30 million over 20 years will come from federal and provincial agencies and private sources. So we need a reality check here. I don't know if this is true of other RAPs, I don't know if this is true in the United States. In Canada we need a reality check that says: where the action is happening is somewhere outside the federal and provincial agencies.
Federal government has taken the view and the approach in RAPs in Canada that its role is that of a facilitator and a catalyst. And I think, it's a very important role but I don't think it takes a lot of money and I don't think it can make or break the process. I think if the federal money dried up for facilitating Hamilton Harbour RAP tomorrow, the function would still be performed, probably by conservation authorities or maybe by the regional municipalities, because in that community there is a commitment to make that thing work.
So, while I'm not happy that Environment Canada is enduring some cuts and while I'm even less happy about the way the cuts are being made, I don't think it's going to make or break the RAP program and it certainly isn't going to make or break the Hamilton Harbour RAP. So I think we need to get a little bit of perspective on that, again, from the Canadian point of view.
If I had industry here and municipalities here to talk about what they're doing in the RAPs it would give us a rounded-out picture of what's actually going on in the real world. I think that the picture we're going to get here is going to help us but it will be skewed and we should keep that in mind. We're creating for ourselves this skewed picture of what is actually going on. So let's figure out, I guess to be constructive, let's try to figure out how we can correct that and give ourselves an appropriate perspective on the roles of the federal and provincial agencies, in Canada anyway.
The second thing is, I want to remark on some of the discussions from before and during dinner because I sense that a certain amount of not only panic, but there's some distress about the movement away from regulations in the United States. I know that this is a real concern and in fact we had Minister Copps, the federal minister of the environment hosted the G-7 Environment Ministers' meeting and Carol Browner came and appealed there for some help from Canada to try to shore up and strengthen in some way support for the federal actions related to the environment of the United States and Minister Copps has taken that to heart, so I think that EPA can expect some support from the federal government in Canada for some of its programs, and that may include RAPs.
But, a difference that I would draw between what's happening in Canada and what's happening in the United States, is that there's a bit less polarization. In other words, I get the feeling that some people see this as either you are a regulator or you're not, and you're either a good guy or a bad guy. I would make an appeal and we're doing this locally now, so I'm going to make an appeal here today, for people to try to see that maybe you can have both, maybe a mixture of voluntary and regulatory is possible. It's not black and white. Besides there are good reasons for the general reaction to regulations, which is to say that it's costing us way too much for enforcement per year. I think that's a valid criticism, certainly in Canada.
That doesn't mean that regulations don't have a place in our RAPs or that I would advocate throwing out regulations. Far from it. It's an important tool. But it does mean that maybe there is room for a mixture of regulatory and voluntary approaches. And I think in RAPs this is the ideal place for that to happen. You have got a locally driven process and you're trying to achieve certain goals, use all the tools you can get, be the integrator for the regulatory and voluntary tools. Try not to just look at the black and white issues. I understand that that's hard for some of the U.S. agencies, particularly when a regulator is running the RAP, it's kind of hard to say, "Well, we aren't going to rely on regulations. Do what you want to do." But I guess I'd make the case that we need to use common sense, and common sense is not yet, at least in my book, a dirty word.
So those, I guess, are the two points I would make. I won't go into detail of the cuts that we've had federally; we've been hit pretty hard. And really it's hard to take because we're losing some really good people and real expertise, but it's not going to be the end of the world. And I think we have with RAPs lots and lots of ways of getting around those problems.
Bruce Kirschner - Thank you, Louise. Our next speaker is Gail Krantzberg and she was the RAP coordinator for the first AOC that was cleaned up in the Great Lakes, so she can tell us about a successful local effort.
RAP Program Coordinator, Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy
I want to back up a little bit and pick up on some elements of some of the things that we've been listening to this evening. First, in terms of Collingwood, and we've heard about successful stories and I guess you've gotten one off the list. You can consider that a successful story. I consider myself walking into Collingwood, as very naive when it came to a public involvement program. I walked into a community that looked at the provincial government, which was suing them for an illegal incinerator, and coming in and telling them that they were going to help them clean up their harbour. But nobody knew how much it was going to cost or who was going to do what. But the government was coming and help save them and help clean up their town. This was their perspective. This was not a good first interaction with some very powerful people in that community.
But sometimes I think naivete is a good thing, because very quickly I came to realize that the only way that I was going to get myself out of an extremely uncomfortable situation was to be blatantly honest. And they were the same with me: "Who's going to pay for this deal?" "I have no idea, Deputy Mayor, but when we get there I assure you I will work on it to find out who is going to pay." And any coordinator in the room or any person participating in the RAP program, knows that same frustration. You don't know what the plan is going to be so how do you know who's going to implement it, how do you know what it's going to cost? But let's sit down and say, we've got a harbour here, it's your harbour, what do you want to do with it? And the success of the RAP program and you're going to get the sort of community/municipality-driven projects going, the community working as a whole is to get them to say to its powers, "This is our local environment, we used your help as advisors to get us to this point, but it is ours and we are going to lead the process of cleanup. And we want you on board as a partner but if you're not here, we've been sitting around the table for six years working on this problem and we are going to make sure that the problem gets solved."
So the long and the short of it is, if the government money is drastically reduced and the local communities have pride in their resource, pride in their community and a shared commitment to a common end, it is going to happen. And that's something that I think we need to focus very strongly on and I think you'll probably hear during the next couple of days, is people talk about the successes: That's a local theme, a local ownership. Don't come in and tell us what to do. It's ours. It's our place, we live here, we will make sure that it happens because we all believe in it collectively.
Alice Chamberlin, earlier on, mentioned that it's extremely difficult to envision the future of what the RAP process is going to be. Well, when I sat down in my supervisor's office before becoming coordinator of the Collingwood Harbour RAP and was asked to do it, I said, "Well, what does a coordinator do? What is the RAP program all about?" Well, we don't really know, but that kind of thing can be okay as long as we're all working toward the same goal.
We have never sat back and anticipated the future. We are always reacting to the past and as RAP program coordinator for the province right now, I am intensely frustrated by that. And with the brains that we have sitting around the table here, I'm hopeful over the next couple of days we will take to heart, what our hosts at Wingspread have suggested to us, and let's come up with a product that we can discuss here. Here is where we think, we're going to have to be if we have the scenario of no more government programs. How are we going to implement recovery of the Great Lakes? How are we going to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem if the government funding is reduced to bare bones? How are we going to do that? Let's consider that a real calling and deal with it here as an issue collectively. And move it forward at the RAP forum when we meet in Duluth again collectively, with many of the PACs who many not be in a situation where they feel like they're getting somewhere; they're frustrated with the process. Let's have some potential solutions.
I just finished one of numerous reports that the IJC put out where typically there was an issue, there were the obstacles and then there were: here's some potential solutions. Well, why don't we deal with some of the potential solutions and start getting reactions, start anticipating what the RAP program is going to look like from here to the year 2000? As opposed to saying, "Well, next year EPA's cutting off, all provincial ministries are going to be cut by 30%, 50%... " What's going to happen? Let's let each PAC worry about it. I think we can come up with some creative solutions here. I think we've all found in the successes that we've experienced in our own RAPs formulas that made those successes.
I was asked to talk a bit about our successes. How do we measure success? And I think my PAC chairs turned it over to me to talk about. Well, this particular stream rehabilitation program needs some innovative techniques, of bioengineering, and new type of sediment cleanup and new type of this and innovative that and partnerships in this, and really the successes were very simple. And they were: very early you had communication, you had honesty, you had developed advocacy within your PAC. They became the owners. I think one way we've measured successes is by the strength and pride which are starting to be fostered within the communities of the RAPs.
The determination of those groups, the level of frustration they may have with government is one measure in effect, is one measure of success because they want to move forward, they've come a long ways, they want to move forward and now the formula's changing on them. They don't know what to do. They want to move forward but the formula's changing. So let's help them move forward with a new formula.
If this marks the tenth anniversary of the formal identification of AOCs, maybe we shouldn't be in such a huge rush to get all the plans finished and get everything done, but rely on the fact that we're going to have, incredibly I think, a mighty high quality that comes out of the Stage 2 process. In fact, all the way along the RAP process, let's not lose sight of how many positive things are happening.
So, two things I think I want to see happen by the end of this workshop. And one is that we entertain some potential solutions, or at least topics for further exploration at the Biennial Meeting, on where the RAP process is going to go, under a new formula. And the second is that, we look at those successes and figure out why: Why did those programs work, why did these projects work, why are those RAPs working?
Bruce Kirschner - Thank you, Gail. Our last speaker tonight is Ava Hottman, she's the Assistant Chief of the Water Program for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Assistant Chief, DWQPA, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Well, I've been listening to everyone else and I decided that I was going to talk a little bit about some of the obstacles that are going the face the RAP process in coming years, but I decided to end the evening on a more upbeat note.
One of the things that we have not talked about, as we've talked about individual RAPs around the basin, is the success of the RAP process. I don't really think of RAPs as a program or RAPs as a plan, but RAPs as a process by which environmental decisions are made and environmental problems are solved. And that we have changed, at least in the United States, the national dialogue on environmental protection, especially in the water area. Community-based initiatives are the slogans of the '90s, geographic initiatives, public-private partnership, voluntary action, and the ecosystem approach have become the national environmental rhetoric.
The downside of this to the Great Lakes community is that everybody wants a RAP. One of the new programs that I've been put in charge of, which could be called Becoming a Victim of Your Success, involves 321 watersheds that the state of Ohio would like to develop RAPs on. Now I have RAP coordinators and all kinds of people assigned to RAPs in the Great Lakes basin, but the state is not going to give me 321 new people. In effect the RAP process will become somewhat of a victim of its success as other areas within our states and within our watersheds across the nation, in Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, on the Gulf of Mexico, the Everglades all begin to compete for what we have.
One of the things that I do really want to dispel is: I work for the Ohio EPA and as of August 4th, I will have worked there for 24 years. Only for three of those years did I have anything to do with regulations. And I think it is important for everyone to understand that state environmental agencies do not spend all of their time on regulations. It was fortunate that they put probably the only "unregulator" in the agency in charge of RAPs. But I have been working on the Cuyahoga River since August 4th, 1975. I don't feel that 20 years is a very short time. But it went just like this and the biological community is there now, so I'm not willing to deny the success of 20 years of regulatory programs and lawsuits now that we stand for the RAPs. But I also think that it is time, and as we have explored in Ohio, to change the way that we do business. This is not always easy. I think as we celebrate successes, and that's a lot of how I saw this conference initially, was to celebrate successes, I'm very, very careful.
As I look through a number of the attendees, there is one Rick Brewer. In the Ashtabula RAP we have a very small town, relatively speaking, when you compare it to Detroit, Cleveland, and Toledo, with a very big problem, very big environmental problem. They were one of the first community-based remedial action efforts in Ohio. They worked very hard on the Stage 1 and I remember the night Jim Chandler came out and we were at the yacht club and Rick and I went for a walk on the pier by the yacht club and we said, "How are we going to do this? I mean, how are we going to get this river clean?" They'd been to Washington and they had been to the state capitol trying to persuade them to get federal financing of the RAP. And I think during the course of the next few days we're going to hear a lot about what's going on in Ashtabula, but I think about how long and how few industries and how the true private sector is not terribly involved in the RAP process in any kind of substantial way and what we will hope in the future, will there be more Rick Brewers, more industries that come forward and say, "We are responsible -- and we have a responsibility to our community to see that something is done." Because in Ashtabula, the private sector is paying for $2 million worth of monitoring in the Ashtabula and has now formed an innovative partnership.
RAPs need to be very careful though. In Ohio RAPs, the state is really in partnership with the local government -- we are going to have to lay a much stronger foundation at the local level. In Ohio, I must say that the federal funds have helped us work that foundation. We hope we can keep that going for the next two years. I believe we have the funds to do that and without the main help from U.S. EPA. RAPs are going to have to be stronger at the local level.
Bring in new partners, don't be afraid to form alternative organizations that collaborate and are partners with the RAP. I think one of the things that can cause a RAP a lot of problems is if it begins to think that the RAP identity is the only identity and doesn't look out to form coalitions with other groups that have the same goals and allow those other groups to join in as we try to be special and unique.... and that's one of the reasons in Ohio the RAPs have been as successful as they have, because they were something so radically different than anything we had tried before. But it is important that we remember why we are there and that is to restore the beneficial uses of the river.
At least at Ohio EPA we are having to sit down with people, that we've been in court with before on many occasions and sometimes while we were in court with them, to talk about other things. I think it's important that we maintain open communication. It is important that under the umbrella of voluntary action, which seems to be one of the new slogans, that the corporate and private sectors come forward with voluntary actions. We have seen it happen, but it is going to have to be a greater extent. Jeff Busch is here from Toledo. The Maumee RAP is approaching some 50 sites to be cleaned up in one AOC. It's not going to be an easy battle.
One of the things that we have to stop thinking about is: how long will it take us to succeed? I once said the following at an IJC meeting and got a real awful look, "We're not going to follow a table of contents and we're not going to get it done on the schedule, because what is important is getting it done, not meeting a deadline." I think as a planner in the government that this is probably the true joy of the RAP process, absolutely no one has said it had to be done by Friday, September 22nd, 1995. So that we've had the opportunity to explore options we never would have explored.
Because we have no money -- and really, I mean I think this is one of the biggest federal ironies -- is that it is one of the most successful programs in environmental protection in the United States and yet it has almost had no dedicated appropriation. We have all had to scrounge and put together funding packages just to keep RAP coordinators and pay for public events, and yet RAPs are one of the most successful programs. The lesson there is to learn that we didn't spend a lot of time building programs, we spent a lot of time making programs work together, existing programs, existing laws. Sometimes we used them as a carrot, sometimes we used them as a club, sometimes we used them as a ladder. And I don't think those things will go away in the next five years, and we'll still have these existing tools. What we have to be sure of as governments, is that we have empowered the local community sufficiently to sustain the ups and downs of the political process.
As we were talking about at lunch, we also have to overcome probably what I perceive as the greatest threat to RAPs -- community burnout. Everytime we reach a major milestone, we complete a Stage 1, we complete an IJC review, we move a step forward, we are constantly battling community burnout. That's why I believe it is so important for the RAP process to expand to pull in other partners.
The other thing we have to do, is achieve a high profile. Using the Ohio example, when there are 320 RAP-wannabes, it is important that we maintain our Great Lakes focus and that we retain our identity, and be high in profile in other public actions that involve the environmental water quality. That we need to look for new structures and innovative alternative organizations that lend permanence to community-based initiatives.
In Ohio we decided very early on that we would not have a public involvement program; we have no public involvement program in Ohio. We have local-based organizations that are partners with Ohio EPA in making RAPs efficient. It is not Ohio EPA, it is those groups which have public outreach, have public education and do things to involve the general public.
That does not mean that we have given up our legal responsibilities and our authorities to enforce the law when the law is broken or to bring the pressure of the law to solve another problem. What Ohio EPA has tried -- never to pull rank, never to use its authority without involving the RAP community in the process. But it is important to remember that states have powers local governments don't have and that voluntary associations don't have, to get federal money and to match grants from other federal agencies, and to direct federal money and state money and other kinds of local efforts. We also have the ability to light the fire under recalcitrant parties.
The other thing is, to borrow something from the Civil Rights movement, "We have to keep our eyes on the prize." In these times it will become very easy to become diverted to other actions, to become depressed about the lack of flexibility because of our limited funds, but as Sue Gilbertson says, we can use this for new opportunities. But we have to develop clear priorities. We have to decide what are the most important things and move forward on them fiercely. We have to also, fortunately we can do this in Ohio, is become involved in the political action of cleanup, and remediation and preservation. And that means developing legislative strategies and funding strategies and being a player at the table. To quote Woody Allen, not a favorite person of mine, "The world is run by the people who sit down at the table."
In Ohio we just hope to keep our RAP communities at the table because like I said when I first came to Ashtabula, "Hi, I'm from the state and I need your help." Because quite frankly we had no budget in 1990. We got $85,000 for all RAP programs including all Lake Erie programs at Ohio EPA and now we have a budget of over $1 million a year. And that doesn't count on what is being spent on implementation locally. But, what we have to do is become political activists for a cause within the limits of our state statute as I found out at dinner, but also to involve the legislators in this process. To many people in Congress the RAPs are just the Great Lakes form of tobacco subsidies, just another set of pork barrel projects. And we have to work to convince them that we are in the business of solving environmental problems that we have not been able to solve before.
Bruce Kirschner - Thank you, Ava.
Innovations Toward Remediation
Bruce Kirschner - All right, our first speaker is going to be Rick Brewer. He's the director of Business Development for RMI Environmental Services.
Director, Business Development
RMI Environmental Services
Good morning. On behalf of myself and Brett, I'd like to thank the IJC and the Johnson Foundation for giving us the opportunity to be here to make this presentation on a subject that we're pretty excited about: The Ashtabula River Partnership. I'd like to quickly review what we're going to be talking about. I'm going to cover the historical background of the Ashtabula River as a resource. We think that's kind of important that you understand where we come from and why we're at where we're at today. Brett's going to talk about the development of the partnership concept. I'll get into why a partnership was established in addition to the RAP effort. This is a question that's come up in various conferences that we've given presentations at. What are the partnership organization's accomplishments? What was or is required for a successful Ashtabula River Partnership? We took a look at ourselves and looked at what is working, which may or may not work for others, but we want to show you what's working for us.
(Slides) This is the Ashtabula Harbor. We're about 20,000 feet up. It's a well-protected deep water harbor, you see the commercial shipping area out here. The Ashtabula River starts here and winds about a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half upstream, and what is called an navigable waterway. The harbor really is an area of resource that is very significant to the economy of the City of Ashtabula, as well as Ashtabula County.
This is a 1951 aerial photo of the harbor and it's changed considerably and we wanted to illustrate that today. In 1951, this is the old ship yard where they used to build war boats, about a mile up the river from the outer harbor. Here's Fields Brook which is an infamous creek, right now that happens to be a Superfund site, but at that time it was not. Fields Brook is a creek that many industrial complexes emptied their outfalls into and of course in those days the effluent was unregulated because the establishment of the U.S. EPA didn't come about until the early 1970s. As you can see, you won't see many pleasure craft or recreational boats on the river. I think in those days it wasn't really a popular recreational area. The river was pretty much dedicated to commercial shipping, both in the inner and outer harbor. Here you see a lot of heavy equipment down along the ships and of course in the ship building area up here. Over here was a reclamation area where they tore ships apart.
This is a two-week-old photograph. We tried to take it from about the same angle to show you some of the changes. As you go up and down the river now, you see a lot pleasure boats and pleasure crafts lining the river. The commercial shipping is limited to the outer harbor area and if you look at the banks out here, the dots, you'll see the heavy equipment has been removed. Now the ships are unloaded with conveyor systems, which are pretty modern technology. All this area in here has become yacht clubs and marinas. Fields Brook is right here. In 1983, Fields Brook was listed as an AOC and named a Superfund site and here in 1995, approximately $30 million has been spent on Fields Brook to characterize it and for litigation expenses and no remediation has been done to date. So it's not something that we're very proud of in the Ashtabula area. And unfortunately it dumps into the Ashtabula River and it's the primary source for the contaminants that we have to deal with now in getting the Ashtabula Harbor and River redredged.
In the earlier days this area was 18-20 feet deep when dredged to accommodate the ore boats, now it's anywhere from 2-7 feet deep. Commercial shipping is limited to the areas out here so there's been considerable changes over the years. You can see an awful lot of development upstream. This is the end of the navigable channel that will be dredged. This is the old shipyard again. These are drydocks that are now docks for recreational boating. This is looking from the north into the harbor.
I'd like to go over sort of the investment in marinas and the significance of pleasure boating that's occurred on the river, primarily since 1986. This is a fairly major complex here, there's boats on this side that you can't see down there, that are docked. That's about a $7 million investment by a local investor. Just down the river is another small public marina. As you move downriver further there's a yacht club that's been established here. This is another yacht club. This is a public marina here. And moving up the river north, you have a marina here. This is the Ashtabula Yacht Club which I'm a member of, small marina over here and some marine facilities and docks over here. Those are the same facilities. Just have to guess at which bridge is the last little marina. So, you can see the pleasure boating on the Ashtabula River has really taken ahold, and it has a big impact on our economy in the Ashtabula area. In order for it to continue the river has got to get cleaned up and the contaminants have to be removed.
I'd like to talk a little a bit from a historical perspective about the RAP and the background of the RAP in our community. In 1983, the first real sign that we as citizens had that there was a real problem in the sediments came when the Ohio Department of Health issued a fish consumption advisory on the river. Nobody paid much attention to the contaminants in the river until that time and then in 1985, of course, the river and area in the harbor was declared an Area of Concern, and it was so listed. And then in '87 the Ohio EPA initiated the RAP development. And of course in March of '88 the RAP was established in Ashtabula, and with the additional organization that brought together public, political people and businesses to try to address the concerns on the river.
In 1991 the RAP Stage 1 (problem definition) report was completed. That happened after the 1990 extensive sampling program that was sponsored by private industry and was conducted at the cost of $2 million. And that information was also used in determining what needed to be done. The Stage 1 RAP was reviewed by the IJC also in 1991. The RAP has been our vehicle to get political interests on the project. We made several trips to Washington and to the state capital to talk to our congressmen and regulators in various meetings, trying to get the cooperation and the funding aligned to go forward and get the river dredged. And finally our last meeting with the state was very successful; I think it was almost monumental actually. We had the state commit to giving us $7 million, contingent on getting the river dredged and getting matching funds from the federal government. And we think that's all going to happen.
The RAP was also the vehicle to get what we call interim dredging done. The river was beginning to fill in to the extent that it was becoming a hazard to all of the recreational boats that you saw in the photographs. And because of the RAP, and our then congressman Dennis Eckert in his efforts, we were able to get some funding to get the shallow spots in the river removed that were non-toxic. And we put those sediments into a confined disposal facility right on the edge of the river. And the RAP served as a facilitator of partnership which began to come about in January of '94, and its major partner. And we think that the RAP, or some organizations like the RAP, need to be around after the partnership is gone. The partnership's goal was primarily to get the river dredged. But we think that the RAP or another community organization like the RAP needs to continue to do things to protect our natural resource, which is the Ashtabula River.
At this time I think Brett, I'd like to have you come up and we'll review part of the presentation.
Projects Director, United States Congressional Representative Steve LaTourette
I'm Brett Kaull, I'm Projects Director to Congressman Steve LaTourette who represents northeastern Ohio and also part of the Cleveland area. I've had the opportunity to work with the Ashtabula River for about three years.
There are really three central projects that affect the future of the river as Rick has described: the Fields Brook Superfund project which has been in litigation, has expended about $30 million in characterizing the type of remedy they're going to use -- yet no cleanup to date. They are close to remedy selection, I think, but still $30 million has been invested in that effort. That is the upstream source of contaminants to the Ashtabula River recreational channel. Formerly it was a commercial navigational channel dredged by the Corps of Engineers. That's no longer the case, it's now a recreational channel so they don't dredge to the project depth anymore. But we think there's about 750,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment in that channel. And therefore we need to have some type of environmental dredging action occur there.
And finally the third concern is the actual maintenance of our commercial dredging channel in the outer harbor by the Corps of Engineers. The navigational channel has been dredged for the last time by the Corps until we have some time of cleanup action. We need some type of sediment disposal plan or cleanup action because the polluted sediments from the Ashtabula River recreational channel are now polluting the outer channel, prohibiting any type of open lake disposal anymore.
Two federal decisions of concern were really the catalyst in formation of the partnership to address remediation. U.S. EPA had developed enough evidence that the pollution in the recreational channel had come from Fields Brook and they were ready to designate, not only the lower river Superfund site but also the outer harbor, effectively tying up our commercial shipping and also potentially trained a lot of new potentially responsible parties (PRPs), property owners, marinas along the river. Also, the requirement that, from the Corps of Engineers perspective which is of course separate federal agency with a separate mission and mandate, which includes commercial shipping on the river, they needed some type of sediment disposal option for the now polluted sediments. Back in 1987, Water Resources Development Act at that time provided for new cost-share arrangements for constructing a confined disposal facility (CDF) on the Great Lakes and that would require a cost share on our local part and that was thought to approach approximately $3 million. Well, it was pretty clear that our small postindustrial town of Ashtabula didn't have that type of money to invest in a CDF.
What are the negative effects of these two federal decisions? Well, the port of Ashtabula would be closed. I don't think the Corps is going to dredge inside of a Superfund site, and even if they did, they don't have a place to put that sediment. Lead time on developing a CDF is about six or seven years from the Corps' perspective and we don't have that much time. Certainly the recreational-based economic development that was shown in the slides, all the new marinas, we've got about a 1,000 boat slips that would be in danger. Presently it's estimated that there's about $60 million of future recreational development on hold until we clean the river. So we want to see those new investment dollars come in but they're not going to come to the Superfund site, they're not going to come into a river that cannot be dredged. We think Superfund would delay the environmental cleanup indefinitely. We look to Fields Brook example and see more than a decade. We know we'll lose our commercial shipping if we don't act fast. The legal entanglements of Superfund, in its present form, are the reason for that. And finally the stigma of a Superfund designation at a tourist site is maybe a point of interest, but not a point where you want to have a boat and swim and fish. It's not something that a community would point to with pride.
In looking at the components that we have to work with, the components of the Ashtabula AOC. Fields Brook Superfund project is upstream and was contributing sediments to the recreational channel, which is noted by the blue area. Again, we have about 750,000 cubic yards. Obviously, U.S. EPA is the main player up here with its Superfund program. So U.S. EPA is involved up here on Superfund. U.S. EPA in extending Superfund would be involved in the future of this whole area here. The Corps of Engineers picks up in the dredging of the navigational channel itself.
So we have private interests up here, PRPs have great financial interests, local companies and industries. U.S. EPA has its interests in making sure that the contamination is cleaned up. They were developing the evidence and the authority to potentially designate this area a Superfund site. Now, the contaminated sediments from this stream area are migrating into the federal navigation project so we are unable to continue our open lake disposal, which we've done forever at this point, necessitating the need to build a CDF at a cost of $12 million, $3 million of which would be a local cost-share responsibility. Looking at these components we realize a couple of things. Number one, we can't build a CDF fast enough to keep our port open. And even if we did, why are we making the federal/local investment to build a CDF with a 20-year capacity when we haven't addressed our environmental dredging upstream? Was there some way to take the U.S. EPA interest, the Army Corps of Engineers interest in federal navigation and link them and leverage them towards the common goal of complete remediation of the river so we can move ahead and continue open lake dumping? In other words, are there common ties among those projects? Well there are. Each needs a disposal site and a facility to be built for both projects. Large financial commitments are involved. Explicit linkages between Fields Brook, it's polluted recreational channel, the recreational channel is polluting the navigation channel. Hence, again we have to build a CDF. These things are all linked. Is it possible for us to take an ecosystem approach and treat the Ashtabula River and Harbor as one resource? That's the IJC mandate and perhaps that's what we could do to make this project work. But we really need some encouragement to try to take this coordinated approach to built a multi-party, multi-purpose disposal facility. The Indiana Harbor effort presently is doing that. The Corps of Engineers has a need to maintain its federal navigation channel as well. So they're finding a common scale by building one multi-purpose, multi-party disposal facility, and realizing some economic benefit in doing that. That's a precedent that we can hang our hat on so the RAP committee called a meeting in January of 1994. At that point it was a pretty clear signal that Superfund again had the evidence and authority to designate the lower river a Superfund site. We felt that they were probably moving in that direction to do that and again that would take a lot of power away for keeping the port open. So they came to town and made that presentation at our request, and following that presentation the concept of working together to address navigation dredging authority along with environmental cleanup was presented to the Indiana Harbor precedent as the example. As this concept was presented, EPA sent a Superfund attorney out and he explained the Indiana Harbor example. Following his presentation, the group voted unanimously to strike a partnership, a public-private partnership predicated on Indiana Harbor to take a new approach toward remediation. Dramatically, EPA agreed at that point that in fact they would stand down on the designation for the whole river if we could show some type of progress in the coming months. And U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineer also stood up to announce that they would dedicate staff and resources to support such an approach. The Ashtabula partnership was formally signed and chartered, a not legally binding charter on July 7. There were important government agencies there, U.S. EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio EPA, local communities, Commissioner Alice Chamberlin from the IJC came. How do we do it?
There are essentially two phases to the project. The development of a comprehensive management plan, or maybe what the old schoolers would call it, a feasibility study. In order to accomplish that we need additional river characterization. On the July 4th weekend, U.S. EPA's Mudpuppy was in town. It filled in the holes on a $2 million private effort that occurred a couple of years before. So now we've got pretty good characterization of the river we think. We need preliminary engineering and site selection for the disposal facility. Concurrent with that activity we need an environmental impact statement to be developed. Very importantly, cost-sharing formula, how much should private interests pay, how much does the Corps pay? What is Superfund's interest in this? Where's the local contribution? These are sticky issues that will occur during this phase. Community outreach is something we do early and we do often, and that's also part of this phase.
The cost of developing this plan is $1.8 million dollars over 22 months for a draft report, which will then go out for public comment. The important part is that currently we have over $2 million in hand to develop this report and we are moving on it right now. We are ahead of schedule on some of the items. It will yield all the products prior to breaking ground for construction. So we have a discrete task to accomplish. We have the money to accomplish it at this point for Phase 1.
Phase 2, I'll describe in a lot simpler terms. Build the facility. Remove the sediment and put it in. It's certainly the technically difficult part of it, but the issues that are addressed in the comprehensive management plan process over the coming year and a half will give us those answers that'll allow these actions. Cost-sharing is probably the most important part of that. How did we get the money? There are important new federal authorities to assist AOC that the Ashtabula River RAP and the Ashtabula River Partnership have used. The Water Resources Development Act of 1990 provided authority for technical assistance to RAP groups. That's called Section 401. And it's very generic, it can be used for all types of activities. Section 312 is a little more specific, but it gave first-time environmental dredging authority to the Army Corps of Engineers. They will dredge inside the federal navigation channel at a 100% federal cost for environmental purposes. They'll do environmental dredging for navigation purposes, I should say. They will dredge outside the federal navigation channel for environmental remediation at a 50% federal cost. Disposal cost requirements under Section 312 remain 100% local responsibility.
Clearly the case at Ashtabula, the environmental project has an impact on navigation responsibilities of the Army Corps of Engineers. Let's say you keep a clean navigation channel but you have contaminants discharging into it. It's in the Corps' interest to do some type of environmental remediation so that they can continue with their mandate for federal navigation channel maintenance.
But at this point we can't undertake open lake disposal any more. But here's where the confusion probably is. There are two projects here, the blue is the environmental dredging project. Formerly having federal navigation interest and was dredged to that depth. It hasn't had that in 33 years because we don't have the big boats and commercial interests so they can't justify coming up above the bridge. But this is all the current federal navigation channel that they do dredge and now because the old stuff is coming out into the current channel, we need a CDF like you have or we need to suggest environmental remediation of the upstream sources. So, by remediating this you are, the Corps, is actually helping its mandate to keep this channel clean. These are the upstream sources.
I think it's a new day for the Corps in a lot of ways. I've only been involved in this on and off for eight years so my perspective is not as deep as well, for instance, the state has been having bloody battles with the Corps on these issues. But in 1990, the Great Lakes delegation authorized this new authority and so it's the opening of the door to start doing these things.
Ava Hottman - This, I believe, is the first 401 Agreement ever written with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Brett Kaull - Let me talk about that and continue with the presentation a little bit. To get back on track, how are we paying for it? Last night we heard that in order to move ahead we need a unique mix of funding. We need state participation, federal participation, local participation. I think the Ashtabula partnership has packaged this type of approach. The U.S. EPA has dedicated a quarter of a million dollars to help us develop a comprehensive management plan. Call that goodwill money. I'm sure it's a very good demonstration of goodwill and cooperation and boy, do we appreciate it too. And along those lines $300,000 was added into the bill by former Congressman Eric Fingerhutt, my last employer, to support some type of activities. We decided we are going to use it to hire a project coordinator. We just filled it last week and actually we're dedicating only $200,000 of that towards the project coordinator. EPA dedicated two staff members, we have one of the attorneys on the Indiana Harbor project so he can use his experience to help us and we also have one of the RAP coordinators, Amy Pelka, from Region V, U.S. EPA. They come out to our meetings all the time. Now here's the interesting point that Ava was bringing up. Under the new 401 Authority, the Ohio EPA provided $300,000. They provided the cost share to leverage this new authority for the first time in the nation from the Corps of Engineers. They've also dedicated at least two staff members to the project.
So the Ohio EPA money leveraged a one-to-one match from the Corps of Engineers. That agreement was signed two months ago. It's the first time the 401 money has ever been used before. It's very general money, the RAP can use it in many different ways. We are using it to develop our comprehensive management plan. Now, also and this to me is the most dramatic sign of the Corps of Engineers doing business in a new way, they are shifting money out of their operation maintenance account, which should be used to develop a confined disposal facility on the outer harbor. Right, that's their traditional approach, build this thing, dredge the pollution, stick it in there. They have turned it in towards the development of this plan, of the comprehensive management plan. We hope to learn soon that we have $850,000 from them to do that. So that is a very clear demonstration on their part that they believe that the environmental dredging project will address certain navigation needs. That is a radical change for the Army Corps of Engineers. And they have dedicated two staff members to the project. Oxychem, which is one of the PRPs, but also one of the co-chairs of our partnership, has dedicated $25,000 to help with the sampling. And the community itself is supporting our coordinator position with $10,000 more in cost share.
What I have just described was define sources again for the development of this comprehensive management plan, which will place us on the edge of building the facility and removing the sediments, Phase 1. How do we fund Phase 2? How do you have hopes of accomplishing a project that could run anywhere from $40 to $80 million? That's a big thing to bite off. Well, there's a long standing commitment from Ohio EPA to provide $7 million. Now if you want to use that new environmental dredging authority from the Corps, you've got to match it one-to-one. It's a 50% cost share. Ohio stepped to the plate, and confirmed that when we are ready to dredge, we have a $7 million commitment from the state of Ohio. I'm not saying every RAP can get that, but this is a tool we have. Well with that federal authority, Section 312, we'll have a $14 million package and we think we'll have additional money from the Corps because of the navigation interests that are involved. The private and local contribution is already well demonstrated by $2 million of voluntary testing done by a few cooperating PRPs to characterize the river. If that work wasn't done a couple of years ago we couldn't move with this project, we would have to stop, characterize our river and figure out where we were going to go.
This work was an integral part of the Stage 1 RAP. The RAP was the absolute spring board upon which this partnership was launched. There's no doubt about it. Without that preliminary work we couldn't even start to do this. This is probably the most important point. Why not Superfund? We have to, and we think we can, convince the PRPs that the partnership is a better way to go. I don't expect them to come in entirely out of goodwill. A number of the PRPs are already not cooperating with EPA. You have a small cooperating group then you still have outside PRPs. The bottom line is is that they know from the Fields Brook experience that litigation is a lot of time and a lot of money. We don't have a decade. Our port will shut down probably, boats will have to start light loading in about five years. And when that happens a couple of times -- and this is one of the largest private commercial shipping facilities in the Great Lakes -- when that happens once, twice, that's it they lose their business, we lose the rail, the whole harbor silts in while we wait for Superfund to work or the new Superfund, whatever it is, to work through its problems. Instead we can offer that group to come in with us and say look, we have state contributions, we're leveraging federal money with it, we can buy down your cost to build this disposal facility to take care of the environmental dredging. We encourage Superfund to keep developing the evidence, if you will, they are the 800-pound gorilla in the closet. That is really driving, will help drive the interests of the PRPs to sit down at the table and say, hey not only is it the right thing to do because instead of delaying and shutting this harbor down, but it's the right thing to do financially. We have a financial interest, we are saving money by entering into this partnership and leaving the attorneys at home. Avoiding litigation, moving along timewise. An analogy to that is what drives the community to go to breakneck speed to do this, is the fact that the Corps of Engineers isn't dredging anymore. Our port is shut down. That is our very serious motivation to make this thing work and make it work as fast as possible.
Alice Chamberlin - Do the prime interests see the projects separately?
Rick Brewer - The reality is the relationship is definitely there, particularly with the PRPs on Fields Brook. They know that sooner or later they are going to have to do something to get involved with the river and we have an awful lot of them on as partners now. They want to be part of the design, part of the solution, that is; how do you get from here to there. There are some that are not on yet, they'll come on, once they're convinced that this is the most economical way to do this. How else would you go and get $15 or $20 million of federal, state and other kind of matching money to help you support to do what you'd have to do anyway, somehow, someway.
Elaine Kennedy - Is this really just a hole in the ground or is it a lined containment facility?
Brett Kaull - I was being flippant, I apologize, it'll be designed to be environmentally safe.
Gail Krantzberg - It seems to me, not knowing enough about the site, imperative that Fields Brook cleanup takes place in conjunction with the environmental dredging. Is the Fields Brook site still leaching back into the river?
Rick Brewer - Fields Brook is no longer polluting the river. Because of the NPDES permits that all the companies have to have for their outfalls, the water coming out of the brook now is clean. It's tested all the time; it's not contaminating the river at all. The concern is sediments along the brook are contaminated with 50 years of flushing pollutants down the brook and the concern is that, during a 100-year flood or something, those will get moved into the river. Those have to be removed, but probably the way it looks to me, with the sediments in the brook, would, if anything, be removed before the river is dredged. That happens to be a main concern of everybody involved with the river, too. We do not want to have the river cleaned up, and then have this happen. As a matter of fact, we will not let it happen.
Susan Gilbertson - Legally, statutorily, and with all those regulatory hooks, we can ensure that it moves in an appropriate, phased manner. They are not going to lose their funding because they haven't done something by a certain date. In other words, Fields Brook, and then some of the other things will occur. It will be sequenced, and I think it will all be put together in terms of the funding, and maintaining the legal cleanliness.
Brett Kaull - Let's just take the question from Jim and then Rick is going to talk about a partnership structure, or a milestone, and then hopefully we will have a little time for additional questions are the end.
Jim Murray - Maybe Rick is going to answer, but I don't know what company you are with and what is your interest? So far you have talked about resource, and how valuable it is. What is your company's interest and what brought them to be so vitally interested in the process?
Rick Brewer - My company is the RMI Environmental Services, and we have three plants in Ashtabula, and all our outfalls dump into Fields Brook. So we are PRPs. As far as we know, nothing that we have done over the years, because of what is being cleaned up in the brook, was contributed by us. But, nonetheless, we are involved. We took a very proactive role several years ago and wanted to be involved in the design of the cleanup because it became obvious to us that, if we allowed the U.S. EPA to hire a consultant to determine what the design was going to be, it would likely be much more costly than we would like. That is not a slam -- just how it works -- it ends up being much more costly to clean it up. We decided to be proactive and participate in getting involved in the design, and also began to organize companies to join in with us. We have been on top of Fields Brook as much as any company in the community. But my personal perspective is, I have been boating on the Ashtabula River since 1958; my parents had a boat; my wife's family had a boat. That's where we met. Right beside Fields Brook, at one of the yacht clubs, our parents started the one yacht club right beside the brook. We currently have a boat on the river; I am commodore of the Ashtabula Yacht Club; I have lived in Ashtabula County all my life. It goes beyond the professional and business thing; I have a real interest in the community and the county and what is going on. I am really interested in the resources.
I am a volunteer for the Citizens Committee. I am the co-chair of the coordinating committee of the Ashtabula River Partnership. I am also a member of the RAP. The RAP is a member of the partnership as an organization. We have a lot of organizations; 42 different organizations are partners.
Ava Hottman - Just to clarify a point, there are no citizens committees in Ohio RAPs. Citizens sit with state agencies as equal partners and are appointed to that by the director of the Ohio EPA. What we have is a mixture of partners that sit all around the council. So there isn't any separate committee, they do public outreach and public access, public organization. You work with different organizations but I think it is a really important concept, it is not a citizens committee.
Susan Gilbertson - I think this point illustrates a very critical difference from state to state, the Ohio legal structure accommodates that type of intermingling; whereas in some of the other states, the legal structure may not accommodate that. That is true for the federal government as well. This isn't to say you can't do things similarly, but you have to do them within a different set of operating constructs.
Rick Brewer - What I have to talk about will answer some of the questions. We love to talk about this, but the danger is we like to talk too long about it. "Why a partnership over a stand-alone RAP?" That is a question that we have been asked many times, and really didn't have a formulated answer, so we started to think about it. In our case, the RAP obviously was a seed organization that was facilitated by the Ohio EPA and has really helped us position ourselves to go forward with this partnership. The river project is very complicated because it involves numerous regulatory organizations, including the Corps of Engineers, as stakeholders. And it has Fields Brook, as we have talked about, dumping into it. We thought we needed a buy-in by all the stakeholders and we thought that getting through Stage 1 was an appropriate thing the RAP could handle, and do it very well, but when it comes to implementation we had the feeling that we just don't have the organization together, with cohesiveness, with all the regulators, all the companies, and other organizations in the community that we needed. So we formed this partnership. We developed a charter and clearly defined what it is we wanted to do, and we got folks to sign on to that charter -- I will talk about that in a minute. We developed bylaws because we thought we should have a structure around which the organization would operate; one which everyone had signed on to, and understood. Those were the first two things we did. We spent a lot of time doing that, it seems to some folks that it was a waste of time, but I think it has really helped us, as Susan has indicated yesterday. You need to have a plan, and that was a structure on which we operated. We also talked with management from the regulatory organizations, as well as industry. We came to Ashtabula on the 7th of July last year and signed before the media and the whole world, that they support this project by signing a charter that we had. And they made a little speech and indicated that they signed, or that they approved the partnership.
Through the persistence of the RAP never giving up, along with the successes the RAP had; we had a more broad-based partnership. The goal of the partnership is pretty simple and short: to look beyond traditional approaches to determine a comprehensive solution for the impairment of beneficial uses posed by the contaminated sediments not suitable for open lake disposal. The mission is basically broken down into four areas. The first is to find contaminated sediments to be addressed. As we have already talked, that is pretty well underway. The extensive $2 million study along with the supplemental study as done by the U.S. EPA and the Corps of Engineers. They have pretty well taken up most of the samples that should tell us what the contaminants are and the volume we are going to have to worry about removing, in terms of sediment: develop a detailed plan for sediment remediation -- that is well underway -- the Corps of Engineers, at our request, is taking a lead on that and developing a comprehensive management plan and an environmental impact statement. From time to time, they have agreed to come back to the partnership, and have us review it for approval. We have also told the Corps that we wanted the opportunity to have input to that, because we feel there are people in Ashtabula that can better do some of that than the Corps of Engineers sitting in Buffalo, and they have agreed with that. If you think about all that, when was the last time you heard the Corps say they were going to bring something back to anybody, for approval?
I think what we are talking about is different ways that this partnership really works. The Corps is a strong partner, and they are excited about this. We need to identify the resource needs to implementation and that is going to be ongoing. We are always going to have to wonder where the money is coming from to do the work. We have already done a lot of that and have some ideas, looking two, three, and four years down the road, for things we need to do. Generate a a timeline of milestones and activity -- that is being done concurrently with the development of the comprehensive management plan by the Corps and by the communities that are involved. I believe we need to have a schedule and I know Ava indicated yesterday that she doesn't like schedules imposed from above, but I believe you need to have a schedule because, if you don't have a schedule, I think you are in free-fall and I don't think you have anything to work toward. I think you have difficulty measuring your performance. If you can't measure your performance and show you have some successes, I think you are going to lose commitment from people who are working in the program.
I will talk a little about our organization. We have five committees; the coordinating committee is the managing committee; and we intentionally named that committee the coordinating committee instead of the steering committee, because steering committees are used in Superfund projects and we didn't want any relationship in our terminology with Superfund projects. The coordinating committee, as I indicated, manages the project; the siting committee, the project committee, and the outreach committee and resource committee are the other standing committees that report to us. The coordinating committee has the leadership role for the day-to-day decisions for the partnership. Somebody has to be available to take the calls and answer questions, and make decisions. We then report back on a quarterly basis on decisions.
I have been spending a lot of time on these activities -- I am hoping to get relieved here pretty soon -- because we have just hired a coordinator. I have been spending a lot of time; a local plant manager is a co-chair on our coordinating committee with me has been spending a lot of time.
The siting committee is responsible for the disposal of the site and they have already done that; recommended the disposal site, have a short list of three sites; and they will feed information to the project committee and the Corps of Engineers to assist in the environmental impact statement development. I might add that we have a lot of technical people who are highly qualified on all these committees. I think that is one thing you have to look for, is some professionals to get in your committees. You need professional leadership, I think, if you really want to move a project like this. The job of the project committee is to develop the scope of the project and do the design work, do the scheduling, lay out the milestones, build the comprehensive management plan. This is an extremely important committee and we have a highly talented person chairing it.
The outreach committee is supposed to educate and inform the community on what is going on at all times, particularly when there are major things to talk about, and they are also supposed to educate and inform internally the partnership. You can't just be worried about the public; you have to make sure the people in your own organization know what is going on. We have a woman that is leading our outreach committee. She is a real professional; she has a Master's degree in Marketing; she is a former public relations person. I think if you want to be successful, you had better put the right people in the right positions to lead. She is a volunteer, she has her own consulting business.
The resource committee is responsible for aligning the resources; looking for money wherever they can; for implementation; and it comes to two forms: money resources and other resources such as any kind of assistance which you can get from some of the partners that have expertise in certain areas that they would care to commit to the project. I want to quickly go over some of our accomplishments to show you how this organization has worked.
Basically, most of the major accomplishments have happened in the last six to seven months because we haven't really been organized that long as a partnership. We also want to brag a little bit about a couple of acknowledgements that we have gotten in the community here. In 1994 the concept was presented to the RAP; on July 7th the partnership kick-off meeting was held in Ashtabula. We had an excellent turnout; good media coverage; a lot of sign-ups that day. August 25th we had our first organizational meeting where these committees, which I just went over, were established, and what it is these committees would do; and we also signed on the committee membership. We have a strong committee membership in each of those committee areas. On September of 1994 we received a Best of the County Award. This is an award that is given out every year in September by a local organization, at a big dinner where you have 500-700 people and eight of these awards are given out annually; so we are pretty proud of that. In February 1995 we were nominated for the President's Award, Service Award. We didn't win it but the President wrote a letter and congratulated us on participating. We made a presentation at an Economics Profile breakfast, which is an important monthly breakfast where economic development projects are presented and our county considers this a major impact on the economy. In may 1995 the Ohio EPA gave us a $300,000 grant and we decided to leverage $300,000 more from the Corps. In June we announced to the public a short list of contaminated sediment storage sites. There was a televised news conference, along with the newspaper and radio media. Also in June we issued development of a comprehensive management plan and the environmental impact statement. The Corps took a lead on that, and that is underway. We received regulatory approval for the quality assurance plan of sampling the Mudpuppy was doing.
These have typically taken up to two years, getting them to a regulatory organization, and I think that is one of the benefits of having the U.S. EPA and the other organizations as partners. Nobody seems to want to be in the way of this thing. They want to get the ball out of their courts as fast as they can. In June 1995 we completed additional sediment sampling of the river; the Mudpuppy was there. The one thing I want to mention here is the dedication of the people. We had U.S. EPA people, and Corps people on the Mudpuppy, with their contractors. They had some mechanical problems beyond their control, and therefore they had to stay over extra days. It ended up that they stayed over the July 4th weekend; working 13-14 hours per day, in 95-degree heat, just to get this done on time. I think that is a real sign of commitment. Finally on July 17th we hired somebody to begin to replace me and my partner for a lot of the work we are doing, and be a full-time partnership coordinator. We also opened up an office down in the harbor area. On July 21 we completed a comprehensive outreach plan which I would be glad to go over with some of you folks later. It is a pretty interesting plan that our chairperson came up with.
The next topic, and the last one I have, is "What is required to establish a partnership that works?" and these are just my opinions with some of the things we have done. I think, first, you have to have a vision of what it is that you really want to accomplish to get real interest. Secondly, you need a mission. How are you going to go about doing it; what direction are you going to go? A clear definition of what is in it for the partners or participants. I think that is always true to make it successful. People want to know, "What's in it for me?" How will the community benefit? You need to be able to tell the public what is in it for them as well. Committed leadership; I don't think we could talk about that long enough. It takes a lot of personal time and effort and real leadership and drive to make this successful. The resources to get it started were very important; the assistance we received from the U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA and the Corps was essential.
You need an aggressive outreach program to reach the public. We don't want to get caught blindsiding the public somewhere down the road, with something we are going to do, and somebody says they didn't have a chance to address that or ask questions. We think it is very important that we have an excellent relationship with all the media. Don't blindside the media and drop something on them either, because they are your main conduit to the public. Dedication of the project's success by regulators in an aggressive fashion; that relates back to the 4th of July thing; it relates to getting the QA/QC approved in record time. Those kinds of things we need the regulators to be aggressive, and they may not be used to being aggressive on certain things; sometimes it is hard to get bureaucracy moving. Commitment from all the parties to expedite activities under their control. The ball is in your court; don't let it land on the ground and stop rolling; pick it up and get it out. You've got something to do; get it done. If you don't, the co-chairs or the coordinator are going to be on your back.
This last item may be the most important one. I think the plan has to be a "bottoms-up" plan, developed by all the players from the bottom, rather than somebody coming from the top down; and telling you how you are going to do it. Get everybody in a room; you can get a team formed and develop a plan; and agree that is what you are going to try and follow. We aren't trying to live outside any regulations, we are trying to live within the regulations; but you have to have everybody on the board. I don't think you can just have one regulatory agency on the board; and when you get all done, expect the other regulatory agency to buy in. You had better get them on board in the beginning.
Bruce Kirschner - Our next speaker is going to Virginia Aveni. She is going to talk to us about a Brownfields Initiative, which has been undertaken in Cuyahoga County, and explain how that may be useful in other AOCs.
Senior Planner, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
I will give you a little background about how we got into this, and I believe that Bruce wanted this presentation largely because it is a parallel to a RAP; it is based and was organized very much like the RAPs are, by using a stakeholders group to do the identifying of the problem and the planning; and it has grown into an advocacy group for our recommendations. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission picked up an initiative on Brownsfield Redevelopment; and Brownfield we define as property which, either through perception or reality, is contaminated and has environmental impairments, which prohibit redevelopment and reuse of the property. In doing our work plan at the Planning Commission, which has been very much involved in the RAP, we will get all the environmental problems, that is my responsibility for environmental planning for the Planning Commission, what the environmental problems were, which were affecting the regional dynamics of the county and that was outmigration which had developed to the point that, within the geographic area in the county, we had lost about 43% over 10 years of our industrial capacity. We had, for the first time in 1990, more housing starts taking place around Cuyahoga County than were within the county. The problem of redevelopment was compounded by Superfund. Then this whole presentation kind of goes back to the liabilities of Superfund, and most of you are familiar with that, and know that the strict, joint and separate liability of Superfund requires that anybody who has ever had title to the property or deposited anything on the property is liable under Superfund law for their own contribution, and all of the cleanup that may be required and, with that, the liability has been in case law, extended to lenders, not based on their contribution but on a possible management role on that particular property as well. There is some debate whether in fact that law was really misinterpreted, but it had literally dried up any lending and, I think all of us in the Great Lakes basin can relate to this, that in the core cities, for older industrial property it is extremely difficult to get a loan to do any reuse for a new owner, or even for owners on the property itself. We had a case in Cuyahoga County where a foundry could not get the loan to do the air pollution control equipment that was required by the Clean Air Act and the Air Pollution Control Regulations. This was based on the fact that they were contributors to the very contamination that they needed to clean up and this is not an unusual case.
So, the discussion came down within our community: "What do we need to do about this," and we decided the first thing we needed to do was to bring all of the people to the table for an educational effort to understand what all the impairments may be. We identified those, not only as regulatory, based on Superfund law; but financial, because the cost of the redevelopment, the remediation, the assessments, and the very low markets in these areas, because there is so much property that fell into this characterization that the cost in financial resources were a major impairment.
The community was not together on either what the issue might be; exactly on what might be done about it, or even the way to manage it. We found, in our city at least, in our core city in Cleveland, that within the city structure -- and this could be true of our county government as well -- local governments don't deal with this on the same basis. They have an Economic Development Office over here, that is basically based on doing deals; in anything anyone wants to bring in, we want jobs so badly that we will take any project. You know, zoning may be changed, you can build on the lakefront, anything to get jobs in the community. The Building Department has a budget for demolition that is not related to the future use of the property and so the cleanup there basically called for the dumping of all the demolition material into what may have been a basement, covering it over and then here is land that may be land-banked for the future because there is not a private owner. It may be condemned for tax purposes, or whatever. But, we are growing exponentially acres and acres of land in the area, so that there are not community strategies. There are health departments; they are not in some cases trained or did not have the staff to do the necessary assessments. And they didn't talk to the economic development people in the end, except as required on a project-by- project basis.
We decided we needed community strategies development to try to bring this local capacity building together. Our commissioners, and two of our major foundations (the Georgetown Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation) gave us a grant to do a symposium, and it was a fun project because, the very kind leadership, interest and commitment which Rick Brewer displayed, we found people eager to participate; to come from all over the country; to really give us expertise on what people were doing in each one of these areas. The Northeast- Midwest Institute was one of our most perspective supporters in this area. We have used and built on a lot of work that they had done in Chicago the year before that. We seemed to be at a peak time when people really wanted to find out what to do to redevelop our industrial cities, in the Great Lakes, in the Northeast particularly.
We literally draw from the whole eastern part of the United States. We had people from about four to five states outside the Great Lakes who attended and the target was the regulators themselves, both state and federal regulators; local planning groups; economic development people; developers; bankers; and the citizens in environmental organizations. The representation was probably about equal, although it was more on the development side, except for environmental professionals from corporations that were largely in the business, and especially in the business of doing assessments and remediation projects. When we finished the sessions, we had breakout sessions in the afternoon, and the community strategies team came back with the recommendations that we needed. A followup which we accomplished by having the commissioners appoint a 42-member stakeholders committee, modelled on the RAPs, to look at what we needed to do to help remove the barriers. After six months of intensive deliberation, we had meetings every two weeks, and the business community, particularly -- it is amazing that people will take that much time from their regular work to attend these meetings, which would run about two hours in the morning -- then spend the time that it took to what developed into a strategic planning committee to come back with the recommendations, and actually write them. Our report looks like this, and we have gone into three printings of this and it has been sent to everybody and their dog, who has looked at Brownfields because of the interest in developing the same kind of a model.
When we issued our report based on a kind of strategic plan, which included both private and public sectors actions, and we actually broke that down into what would be almost voluntary actions, including management, changes and regulatory changes (both statutory and rule- making) it would indicate what Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA might do to solve the problem without changing any laws. While we were doing this, we were not the only people in Ohio doing it. The Governor had appointed another committee that was working in parallel in Columbus on state legislation for a voluntary cleanup program. We completed our process in time to weigh in and do quite a bit of advocacy and lobbying. The recommendation of this brownfields group was for a regulatory program, to allow voluntary cleanups within a Superfund framework, but to have oversight by the Ohio EPA. The group there recommended a totally privatized program, where certified contractors would do the assessments and the remediation plan, to be submitted to the agency, which, on approval, would get to what would be a generic/numeric standards which would be developed. Either generic/numeric standards or a risk assessment, site-specific risk assessment that would meet required risk goals. A 'no further action' letter would be issued by a certified professional, and the agency director would issue a covenant not to sue. There was a lot of anxiety about this in the environmental community, by taking the state's civil responsibility completely out of what future problems might arise on the property. At any rate, the State Bill passed with that privatized kind of a program and is now engaged in an intensive rule-making with a similar kind of committee. This is really like watching sausage being made, because we have people who are actually developing what will be these actions in the statutory framework, probably at a new level.
U.S. EPA, at the same time that we completed our report, was interested in what was going on, and our congressman at the time, Congressman Stokes, had already brought a grant into Cuyahoga County for the community college to help do an environmental justice piece, and a work equity project, to help train people in assessment and remediation. They decided this was a good pairing and offered us a grant for $200,000. We were not even seeking money to do this, but to continue a way that local government might provide the demonstration of how we do these projects at the local level. We are finishing our second year as a model demonstration community. The effect of the use of that money has been that the agency has been amazingly open to actually take out the pieces and use policy development coming out of that. Of course, it is not just us, it is the rest of the folks at local government that they have turned to, to see what can be done to help get the regulations out of the way and actually define this piece out of Superfund. The first thing they did was announce the delisting of all the low and medium priority sites on the CERCLIS list that fall down below Superfund level. That is a result of what we, and other folks going to them and saying, "Yes, we would be glad to help provide the local leadership on this, but what can you bring to the table?" We don't have funds to clean up the property; the regulations are in the way; and, in our experience, we will not get a sign-off by U.S. EPA of how 'clean is clean' when you get through. It is the time factor as much as the cost that kills any reuse of the properties. Lenders will not lend when they do not know there is a return to come back on whatever investment they are putting out. U.S. EPA says we can write a 'comfort letter' which says, "If there is a state program in place," and perspectively Ohio EPA came in to fill this gap and actually provide a lot of leadership. It has been a very proactive and much more flexible partnership, although informal at this time. There is no formalization of these roles.
The other thing that U.S. EPA brought out of this was a development of soil standards work that they are doing, which will hopefully, at some point, follow what the state has in generic/numerical standards, based on the future use of the property. Our state law said that they will use the Superfund range as far as the risk goal, and we are arm wrestling now on the subcommittee on what the finalization will be in state program. Most of the other states, and I believe that Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois -- all of the Great Lakes states, except New York -- have voluntary programs. Pennsylvania just passed theirs. They are all a little bit different. The next thing U.S. EPA has done is recognize these state programs, formally for what is defined as 'The Brownfields' again, the sites less than Superfund, that qualify for a memorandum of understanding between two states where those programs have been recognized. That is Minnesota and Illinois. We hope that Ohio will be recognized as soon as our rulemaking is done and it all takes effect in the fall.
The local capacity building of the piece that I passed around -- the local elements are that we are going to be working on the next year -- and those include trying to integrate the Brownfields Program and voluntary cleanup program by educating people within our economic development community. There needs to be a local capacity, not necessarily for doing the field work, but working with the contractors in feeling a familiarity. That seems to be the bottom line as far as the lenders go. If you find banks where they have someone on staff who has worked with contractors in the area, understands the law, and develops a comfort with the professionals in the field, and feels confident, there are still loans going on on those properties, even in Cuyahoga County. Absent the sophistication that is built up by volunteer persons on the RAPs and so on or professionals in the field, you don't have the local capacity to deal with this.
The next thing we are going to be concentrating on is the establishment of a geographic information system (GIS) for the county. Our initial survey, which is very rough, was that about 14% of the property in Cuyahoga County is a brownfields site, because they may or may not need remediation, but they at least have to have an assessment, because there has been an industrial use on it. The GIS -- we have already built up the database -- and this is going on a parallel stage. U.S. EPA can deliver a CD ROM with at least their own database on that, that can be tied to other files to illustrate what the uses have been on the property, and some base level information. We just received about $90,000 in a grant that we are going to be expanding on that, and adding other characterizations that we think will give a pretty good profile of what the environmental definition will be of the property, including degree slope, wetlands, defining the flood plains, etc., and then bringing in the possible contamination part. Integrating the economic development plan for your area, with the environmental information, and I think that is where we are at in the Cuyahoga RAP. We are beginning to look at the factors that work in the reverse area: what are the federal policies that are pushing the abandonment of these areas, and the outmigration that is affecting grey fields at the same time? It's the problem of continued expansion of highways, even industrial revenue, policies on capital gains, and a whole range of things that are continuing to drag our economy from the inner city out to the other areas.
The public health capability is something we don't have a good handle on, either. I will close with the information that we have, and don't have, on groundwater. That is going to be the hardest thing within our state volunteer program, for us to know how functionally and legally to define groundwater contamination and what the remediation strategies are for that. We don't have groundwater as a source of drinking water in Cuyahoga County, so we are looking at a whole classification system for the state. It is a deal breaker, as far as the cost. If we have to pump and treat groundwater, where we have literally hundreds and thousands of acres in an area, most of that property won't move; it will continue to sit; the cost is too high; there is not enough market for it; and so the property will continue to sit and, if you have leaching problems, the environmental problem will probably go on. But the cost of cleaning it up to what is a safe level for public health use, and a way of determining what the travel time, etc. go onto the modelling of what that particular standard will be, and what sort of remediation is going to be necessary on those sites. That is something we need to look at locally, but I don't know whether we would want that written into state law, because it might mean that nobody would use this law. It is a real challenge.
I echo exactly what Rick said about what it takes to make these programs work. It is requiring leadership and commitment, and it seems to me this is the time when people are especially interested in being involved in what the planning for their community is going to look like for the future. Land use seems to be one of the hottest buttons that comes back to what we expect to be doing with this property, as it is reused. We are not going to have large industrial capacity and great new steel plants that are a mile or two miles long, but we do have industrial uses and manufacturing picking up. I would just tell you we have gone the next step in looking at financing in the state, and in Cuyahoga County we have been arguing for grant money. There is a need for public money to help do the strategic part of this. Even with the privatized program, the really difficult-to-do side needs at least to be offerable by the local economic development people. Just like building a new industrial park, we need to at least be able to come in with enough money for the assessments to say: this is the cost; we have the infrastructure here for you; we have other advantages of being here; and the perspective cost to clean up is this much. We don't have money to do that. There are new bills in the state legislature that do this, but they also are encouraging rural industrial parks, but we need to think about what an 'urban industrial park' would look like. At the same time, we are still interested in the rural industrial areas. We do need public money to do this, and we don't have it at the local level.
Bruce Kirschner - Our next speaker is going to be Kathy Bero. She is going to be talking to us about community education projects that they have piloted in Milwaukee, and they are used in other areas now in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Director, Lake Michigan Federation
I do things a little differently, so you will have to bear with me. I have some videos to show you. I do want to ask you a couple of questions: I want you to raise your hand if you have heard of the problems facing the habitats, or the species within the habitat. The Serengeti Plains? The Amazon Rain Forest? The Great Barrier Reef? What do all these places have that the Great Lakes don't? They have nothing on the Great Lakes except one thing: and that is a really good marketing strategy. Would anyone disagree?
Here in the Great Lakes we have, and some of you might be familiar with these; we have approximately 65 species in habitat that are globally rare, or found no where else in the world. How many of you knew that? I frankly didn't know that until about six months ago. There are approximately 38 million people who live here. That is a really formidable force if they are informed and activated; we have a lot of people here. Some of you might have seen the Communications Consortium Media Center's report on what people think about the environment, and how to educate people about environment. It had some very interesting information. It was an opinions trend study; and one of the things it said was that people in general, from the surveys they put together, feel environmentalists exaggerate the threats to the environment; and 28% in 1991 agreed with that statement. Now, in 1995, 42% agree with that. No 2: Threats are as serious as the environmentalists say they are. In 1991, 66% of the people believed that to be true; now 48%. The third point that I thought was interesting was that: In the last 10 years, has the condition of the environment gotten worse? Today, 45% of the people believe that is true. So, if 45% of the people believe that is true, in the Great Lakes basin alone we are talking about 17 million people -- that is a lot of people to rally around cleaning up the Great Lakes. Where are they? At the International Joint Commission meeting? We get only 600, 800 persons, something like that. Pretty minuscule. So how do we get all these people going? How do we get them excited about the Great Lakes? Well, how do we get them excited about virtual elimination, or zero discharge? What do those terms even mean? I can't tell you how many meetings I have been to, where we have talked about, how do you define virtual elimination?
With this question in mind, about four years ago the Lake Michigan Federation decided it is time to try to get some really solid marketing kinds of programs that are educational. We basically called them 'public empowerment campaigns.' We are not talking about strict marketing and advertising; but we are talking about getting people excited with information. The first one that we decided to go on was, household pollution prevention, and, being honest here, when I came up with this idea and wrote the grants, even my boss didn't support it. There were no environmental organizations in the basin that supported a campaign on household pollution prevention. We have all seen the little fact sheets showing alternate recipes you can use in your home, and all that kind of stuff. Well, everybody said: "Why are you wasting all this time on puff projects?" My boss said to me: "If you can raise the money, you can do the project. But I am not putting any time into it." I went to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which is a fairly progressive sewage treatment plant, and they committed $75,000. That is how strongly they believed that this would have an impact on their inputs into the system. Households are an area that you can't get to; you can't regulate them; very difficult to track them up the pipe and see who is doing what. They said this would be a great opportunity for us to get informational materials out to the public to let them know what they are doing. It also serves a second role: once they know what they are doing in their homes, then they will take that further. We hope they would take the next step, and they did, and I will tell you about that in a second.
What we did was: The Sewerage District supported the first year, and then we had funding through U.S. EPA and Milwaukee Foundation to support some of the work in the second year. We also started receiving a lot of attention. We won the Best Environmental Education Award in the country -- we beat out Texas -- and some of you might not understand that Texas comes up with some really good educational programs. I sat next to their Attorney General when getting the award and she was very sad. They are used to winning it every year. It has gotten a lot of attention, nationwide.
I have a lot of literature which you can take with you. But, what I want to do is show you a couple of clips from some of the videos we have been using in the public service announcements (PSAs). The way this project works is we developed a recipe book. None of the information is original, or new. It's all from various other sources that we just put together in an attractive way. It is a self-mailer, and it is very simple for people to read, and we have series of other brochures that go with it. People get really excited about this. We started, in Milwaukee by doing a six-part series on outdoor Wisconsin. I don't know if you are familiar with that, but they air in 15 different states. They have a pretty wide viewing audience and they showed us, mixing up some of these recipes. That, in conjunction with the No. 1 television station aired our PSAs at prime time during Oprah, and at night time. They never did them in the middle of the night, or early morning. They were really great about it. Between those two things, we got calls from literally thousands of people. When the PSA would air, we would have phone calls every two minutes for about a week to a week-and-a- half. I mean the phone was ringing off the wall. We had no way of knowing this was going to happen.
What we started to notice, after that first week-and-a-half, we were also very good at getting these things out immediately; within two days of the call, it went in the mail, so people didn't lose their enthusiasm. After about three to four weeks, we started getting another rash of calls; not as often, but pretty numerous. And one of our volunteers started noticing that these calls were coming from people on the same streets that had called originally, so they were getting their guide, and they were sharing it with their neighbor. Then they were calling and asking for a couple; I am going to send it to my daughter, or my friend over here. We got calls literally from all over the country. Right now, apparently, something is being aired in Florida. Last week we got a lot of calls from Florida -- we just don't know where they are going to come from next. Over 300 communities are now using this program.
The key to this program, with the PSAs and videos and the written materials, is that we let any community that wants to, change the lines that say "for information, contact." They also can change their resources, and all that stuff. So they now have ownership of this. They feel they can really get behind it; they only have to pay $100 to get all the masters; and then they do whatever they want to do with it, with regard to distribution. So over 300 communities, in four countries, are using it: U.S., Canada, Argentina, and now also in South Africa. It is getting wide distribution for, I think, two reasons: 1) it is simple, very simple, and it tells people what they can do as individuals at home, where they are comfortable, and where they feel they can have control; and 2) it's fun. We had comedians do the videos and PSAs, so it is fun for people to get involved. They don't feel threatened; we don't have a lot of big words; we don't have lots of big concepts; this is very simple. This is the foundation from which we can then start getting people involved in conversations of zero discharge and virtual elimination. You can't get people to feel comfortable with these terms if they are uncomfortable, and it is not going to happen by throwing them a bunch of reports, and saying 'read this and then you are going to know' and then come out to a public hearing and talk. This is a much longer-term strategy but it is building a really strong baseline.
Bruce Kirschner - Mark Mitchell, the Director of the Rouge River Education Project will now outline some successful techniques for implementing an information and education strategy.
Director, Rouge Education Project
The area which I'm going to talk about is southeast Michigan. (Slides) This is Lake Huron up here, of course, St. Clair River coming down, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, western Lake Erie and so what we are talking about is this area here, southeast Michigan. Another satellite photo moving into the Detroit area, downtown and in the suburbs. Basically this area that I'm circling is the Rouge watershed, 465 square miles. Four branches of the river; main, upper, middle, and lower and together they make up about 126 miles of river flowing from the suburbs, the morainal areas appear moving down into the ancient bed of Lake Erie. The one thing you have to know about the Rouge River, it is a very urban watershed. It's probably more like 60% now since this slide was done several years ago. Probably more like 60-70% urbanized by now as a watershed. The industrial base, the feeling you get from the Rouge watershed, we take teachers and people down here all the time on our bus tour, but this is near the mouth of the river, near the Detroit River. This is the Ford Rouge River complex where they used to bring raw materials in one end and a car would come out the other end, and this is a sense of the lower watershed. Very industrial, very kind of wasted land down there, and, of course, the car played a big role, the development of the automobile played a big role in what our communities looked like in Detroit and what the city is like and who the people are that make up Detroit. You can't really see it but there's a line where the Rouge comes into the Detroit River, you can cut it with a knife, the turbidity is much greater than the water coming in from the Detroit River.
One of the problems of the Rouge River, well rainfall is not its problem, but in urban areas, of course, it picks up oil and grease and other pollutants which end up, in our case, in combined sewers quite often. Also, raw sewage from homes and businesses. And we have 168 combined sewer overflows into the Rouge River. This makes for kind of an interesting pattern of water quality when you start to look at it with schools. This is part of what they are trying to deal with right now in the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project. I'll say a little bit more about that later. This is what a combined sewer outfall looks like and there's usually at least one we can get to near each school that's participating.
Now what lead to the development of this education project? These are kind of indicative of some of the sentiments of some of the public and the newspapers, "Is the Rouge too rotten to be reborn?" That was the feeling that a lot of people had, I think. It was either that or they just ignored it altogether or they didn't know it even existed in their communities. And so there was a sense of well if public participation is important in the development of a RAP, then perhaps we should get young people involved from the beginning and this was 1986 when we talked about it; and then in 1987 the education project was inaugurated, was first formed. And the place where it found its home is The Friends of the Rouge, which is a nonprofit citizens group. Jim Murray helped found that organization in 1986. And it's good for a nonprofit organization to undertake a project which has a school-based monitoring program. You can, of course, do a lot more things, you have more flexibility than if government or even a school district were proposing to do it.
We started with 16 sites around the Rouge River and one of the first things we did was set up a steering committee comprised of Michigan DNR people, SEMCOG, which is our planning agency, Wayne County, teachers, and media people. And so we brought these folks together and it was a planning strategy type building sessions where we talked about what sorts of things do we want to do with this kind of project. We had done something on the Huron River. How are we going to adapt it to the Rouge River? What schools will be selected? How will they be selected? Who's going to fund this? How are we going to evaluate it? How are we going to disseminate it? We started with 16 schools scattered around the Detroit area and the interesting thing is that all of these schools, with the exception of one which is no longer in the project, are still involved. So for me that's a confirmation that people liked the program, that it has really been helpful to them as educators.
In regard to the socioeconomic context, Bloomfield Hills, is part of Oakland County, which is the third richest county in the United States. You move downriver towards the mouth, these folks down at River Rouge, downriver, make $6,000-$7,000 a year annual income. Incomes in Bloomfield Hills are $150,000-200,000 and up a year. So there is interesting diversity within our program in terms of economics. So we do a series of workshops and this one happens to be collecting for macroinvertebrates or those insects that live on the bottom of the river and they tell us something about water quality. Elementary through high school students do this activity. We have university resource people that we train; I teach a course at University of Michigan and we teach these folks to serve as contacts that go into the schools and facilitate the program. So they are a resource then to new teachers coming into the program and they are there during a two-week program in May during which this runs. We have upper elementary students identifying macroinvertebrates and performing an index. These are some of the things we find.
The purpose of the Rouge Education Project is to increase awareness about the Rouge River. That's kind of the overall purpose of the project. Within that though there are other goals and one is to increase problem solving skills in students and to increase interdisciplinarity of the program. It breaks down those disciplinary walls that exist in schools between social studies, and science, and language arts, and mathematics. And you can see this is an index that they use, taking the organisms and finding out what it might mean to have clusters of certain organisms in terms of overall water quality. You find lots of stoneflies and mayflies, that says something good about water quality. You find lots of midges, that's not so good. It's all mathematics and identification of organisms. We do a stream survey which is a physical survey of the river, odor, appearance, substrate, riverbed conditions, surrounding land uses and there's a form that they fill out and all age levels do this. The middle schools and high schools do field tests, oxygen, bacteria, pH, BOD (the amount of waste being consumed by organisms), temperature, the nutrients, turbidity and total solids. And we do a series of workshops with teachers and students because teachers learn along with students and along with the science folks that we bring in. Kind of a collaborative learning model. Students practice the test in class before they go to the river.
They make their own sampling equipment. And they go down to the river and take samples. Now you have to understand that we have 80 schools now throughout the Detroit area and elementary through high school. Logistically it's very difficult to get all the schools on the same day taking the same samples and providing some sense of quality control in that endeavor. And so training is important, safety is important. We don't want people to fall in, especially when we get these media reports that come out saying the river is too dangerous to even touch. So that's sometimes hard to deal with. This is an elementary student doing dissolved oxygen test. This is the young man who's taking a sample down on the lower Rouge, channelized part, for fecal coliform bacteria and those globs are sewage fungus that you see kind of floating by. This is probably the most graphic part of the river for me, but this is the Kettering High School site which is a Detroit inner city school.
This is a plate some of the schools did, the Kettering site by the way, that site was about 17,000 coliform colonies per millimeter of water, which is well beyond the state standard for body contact, but this is what the students actually came up with, they incubate the samples and count them and so then a public health question becomes, well if it's so bad then what are the sources of that contamination and all the while, even while you are doing that you are building science skills. All these schools are linked by a computer network and so schools in the upper watershed that I talked about can talk with students from the lower watershed. And they can talk to different watersheds. They can communicate through Econet, which is a computer network and is a part of that large thing we call Internet. They can talk to schools in other watersheds that are doing similar programs. And so we have folks talking back and forth, exchanging data and observations about the river. And some people use the old fashion method of graphing, which is fine. Some people use a computer to do that, a graphing program. And this just talks about the fecal coliform levels as you move from headwaters to mouth, different schools, the peak is at the Kettering site that I talked about. There are other facets to this though and we used to call it water quality monitoring program. I'm trying to get away from that. We are trying to talk about it as a watershed education program, that it's really more than monitoring. It's getting to know the river, not only from a biological, physical, chemical standpoint, but also from a historical, economic, political, geographical, behaviorial science, and talking about the issues of the day.
So we do have a historical source book that we give the teachers that talk about Native Americans and how they used the river. And talks about early settlement of the watershed, that goes into how people used to use the river in 1936. The people are canoeing and reading the paper by it, so it really is a different sense of how people use the river. And so out of that involvement, that investment in the river, people can begin to look at, like this class did, they found a malfunctioning pump station and they brought it to the attention of the city engineer in their community and eventually that was cleaned up because they found high-peak coliform contamination below that point, but not so high above the point, so then they followed up with that.
All of this work in the school year culminates with a student congress where they exchange data and they give presentations. It's usually at a high school. It was at the Detroit Science Center this year. Students bring their drawings or poetry or data. We have a poster session. Students are able to get together and talk about along the same branch, what's happening with the river, why is it changing along that reach of the river? And, there's hands-on stuff like building clay watersheds and figuring out how water runs off the land. Just fun activities that people can do to build those concepts. And some artwork. But where do we take it from that point then? You've got all this activity within a school, certainly in regards to the RAP we want it to be as strongly disseminated as possible, this awareness of the river, this concern for the river and so what we are trying to do is to encourage parents to become more involved in the project. Now that we have elementary schools involved, parents are much easier to get involved than at the high school level. And we want administrators to know what's happening so that down the way school boards, school districts, and community leaders can build in greater support for the projects. And so, really I think through this project we are trying to have students be the disseminators of information, the gatherers of information, to have ownership for the river, to begin to think about the river maybe in ways they hadn't thought about before. What's the future going to be like when they are an adult and when we have their kids in the elementary program, which is possible now because starting this coming year, we'll have been underway for 10 years.
This whole endeavor now is funded through the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project, which is administered by Wayne County and Jim Murray has certainly provided a lot of leadership in that endeavor. We have a five-year plan right now up to the year 2000 basically. We have about $400,000 that we are getting through this money that came from the EPA through Wayne County. The bulk of the remainder, we require $700,000 (it takes about $150,000 a year to run this program) so the bulk of that then will come from fundraising efforts through adopt-a-school programs by business, by other avenues like grant support, by school districts taking on more of the support, by a lot of different avenues and so over the next five years we have to build in more support for the project. Having said that, as Kathy Bero mentioned, it's hard to reach people in their homes and that's really the next level of pollution control. We've done the point source thing, now we need to go after the nonpoint source thing, and the toxics, and all the other things that people do. So our hope is that students will bring it back to their parents and we receive feedback that that's happening and whether you value the green, weedless lawn on the left or the more natural lawn on the right and what happens to that as a part of the storm sewer being right there, where does that go? Those value-type questions are hard to get at, but I think through education we have a chance of building a large group of students, 3,000 some students in the Rouge this year, if you multiply that by parents and other folks then we are reaching a fairly broad cross section of the Detroit area. So students can do storm drain stencilling, "dump no waste, drains to river," which is right on the concrete. They can do clean up, there's a Rouge cleanup after the education program part of this where they can go down to the river and plant trees or clean up or build bird boxes or whatever they would like to do.
All of this effort has lead to the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN). The Rouge Project was the model upon which GREEN was founded and you have GREEN Programs in Milwaukee River, you have a GREEN Program in Cuyahoga River, you have a program in the Grand River in Ontario. You have a program on the Don River in Toronto. So around the Great Lakes there's quite a few programs already in existence based on, some people call it the GREEN Model, I also call it the Rouge model and I hope I've given you a sense of where this project has gone. I think through these programs, the Rouge, the Milwaukee River, the Grand River in Ontario, we have a sense of building a population of students that will become adults who will be more inclined to support whatever we need to support, whether it's higher sewage rates, or building more infrastructure or modifying their personal habits. I think that this is one approach that's been successful, that we have found successful and our teacher's have found successful.
Jim Murray - How many schools districts are in the watershed?
Mark Mitchell - There's 27 participating right now.
Bob Burris - Out of how many total?
Mark Mitchell - I don't really know. There's probably 35-40, so we've got the bulk of them. The parochial schools are the ones that we don't have a lot of those.
Kathy Bero - It's an excellent program that you are doing and one of the things that you pointed out that I think isn't very strongly understood here in the Great Lakes basin is that many of the programs that go on here are models for the rest of the world. I think Mark's slides really show that, but any of you who have done extensive travelling in other countries will know that often times we're getting asked to come to South Africa, Russia, wherever it might be and talk about the kinds of things that we are doing in the Great Lakes basin. It's so important to remember that when we are putting our programs together, when we are talking with others about what we are doing and making sure that the programs that we create are good programs, you know that are strong programs because we've set a track record of being a good example and I don't think we want to embarrass ourselves, but I don't think we will if we keep focussed on that and I think that's so great that you showed that. I would love to see, I was thinking of the Biennial, but I would love to see something like that up there to show people the Great Lakes are a global resource because they are so important.
Gail Krantzberg - Two questions - One is, that $150,000 that you mentioned an annual cost. What does that support? Is that equipment for the schools?
Mark Mitchell - Right, that's all a part of it and that's one of the things that really we can point to that we really need to build a success program is staff and program coordination. So that figure, out of that figure, about 30%, 25-30% goes toward staff salaries and consultants we bring in. The rest goes toward equipment, the computer networks, space for the office rent and that sort of thing. I've got the budget breakdown with me.
Gail Krantzberg - Getting back to one of the things you said right at the beginning is how do you build sustainable programs. If you get the school boards to recognize the value of the breadth of educational opportunities that this program elicits, like politics, like geography, like art, like zoology, all of it. If they can work that into their curriculum, make it self-sustaining within the boards so that we don't need to keep doling federal or provincial money out.
Mark Mitchell - You're right and what we are trying to do now is we've put together a, it's really looking at all the state objectives and linking them to certain aspects of the Rouge Project. This objective is met by this activity so that teachers have some ammunition when they go back to school boards or whatever to say, look what I'm doing is not only meeting the district objectives, but it's also trying to implement school reform and school change. And so that's really I think going to be critical for us in making a case.
Jim Martin - Can you give us three reasons why the program's been successful?
Mark Mitchell - I would say, and I would differentiate between why it was successful to start up the program in the beginning and why it's successful now. Because I think there's two personalities in any education program and one is that the initial excitement phase, where you start up a program, then there's the second phase where you need to carry it on somehow and you need to build in that excitement. I would say the involvement of a broad cross section of people in a steering committee-type setting or advisory committee was really essential to what we were about. Out of that steering committee came the recommendation that each teacher participating had to sign a letter of agreement to participate. What that letter of agreement said was to outline specific responsibilities that we would provide from Friends of the Rouge but it would also make the case, these are the things we expect of you as a participant. Right away that gets rid of any folks who just want to kind of go-around-for-the- ride sort of thing, which we are very fortunate at the Rouge because we have a lot of talented teachers. I know there's talented teachers in all the watersheds represented here. So it's really trying to get at those folks who we know will take this and run with it.
The second thing is, we really could not have put this project into the Rouge without the leadership of Jim Murray and other folks. Jim kind of asked us to come over to the Rouge and Huron River. This is my Master's work by the way, in the beginning at the University of Michigan and so it had a home there, and then it kind of moved on to the Rouge and now GREEN is separate from the University of Michigan. So anyway, I think you need someone on the inside who's influential, who can advocate for the program. We have to work at two ends, we have to work at the educational end of things. We also have to work at the administration end of things. So the program has to be sound educationally and it has to be designed in such a way that it pays attention to education reform, what schools are trying to do anyway. There needs to be a support network. This is tough work for teachers. This is taking them out of that box where you do this subject this hour, this subject the next hour. It takes them out of that box and you need a support network to help them do that. So that's why we train university people to come in and help new teachers. That's why we provide equipment and training for them. And that's why the value of the network is that you have that support out there. We have a mentor teacher program right now. So teachers who have been in a while can kind of coach new teachers coming into the project. So that's building leadership then within the project and also helping those new folks come along.
Funding, of course, it's critical. I think though that when you look at a Volkswagen-Cadillac spectrum for a continuum, we provide a lot of stuff. It's more of a kind of Cadillac end of things. We could do it for less money I'm sure, but I don't think it would be the program that it is right now if we did.
Jim Murray - When we first talked about doing it on the Rouge, we went to the school district, the superintendent and just had a closed door. Our teachers work hard, our test scores, they have to do this, they have to do that, there are so many hours they have to do this in preparation. We just don't have time to do that and so we got the names of 16 teachers and wrote them a letter saying we've got this thing that we'd to talk with you and they're spread all over the district, we talked about that. They had money for 10, they could come up with money for 10 different teachers. All 16 stayed with the program. It was the teachers that put this program in the schools and not the administrators. Now the administrators are touting it as a way to do things, but you have to go into those people that are motivated and dealing at the grassroots level if you're going to get change.
That's a critical point, and we had to do it in a hurry, so we really couldn't go through the superintendents anyway.
Bruce Kirschner - Our next speaker is Greg Hill from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and his presentation is on contaminated sediments remediation in the Fox River System.
Great Lakes Unit Supervisor
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
People around this table are working in the Great Lakes, which in order to think about this globally you have to have a big vision. You can't be just looking at one small site and what's happening in one small area. You have to be visionary, almost as a guru, seeing the future. Pete McCarthy and I are here today to talk about the Fox River Coalition because we think it has all the makings of a success story for dealing with contaminated sediments at one of the AOCs. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working with this coalition of industrial and municipal local units of government and federal partners in putting together the voluntary approach to deal with the problems of contaminated sediments in the lower Green Bay AOC.
I'm going to give you a real brief history of why I think the Fox River Coalition is right and what's in the Green Bay RAP. As may of you know, the Green Bay AOC had the first remedial action plan document accepted by the IJC and that was in 1988, maybe late '87, and at that time we didn't know there were Stage 1s and Stage 2s. A relatively comprehensive document with more than 75 basically full-time volunteers attending meetings, talking about the ecosystem in the lower Fox River in Green Bay and what the desired future state was and what they wanted it to be. But the workings that made it possible to have a RAP developed quickly and early in this program was based way back in the 1970s when the Clean Water Act was passed and it forced, for the first time, industries along the Fox River to get together and work out a deal, if that doesn't have a bad connotation, on how to treat the waste water and improve the aquatic environment in the lower Fox River. We did a wasteload allocation dealing with conventional pollutants, the BOD [biochemical oxygen demand], for the lower Fox River, and people give you numbers, but it's a very heavily industrialized and also a number of municipal wastewater treatment plants that discharge to the lower Fox.
In the 1950s there were three species of fish that lived in the lower Fox: carp, sucker and probably a shiner. At the end of the wasteload allocation when wastewater treatment plants were put on board in the mid 1970s, the conditions in the lower Fox River improved to the point that there are over 30 game species of fish now in the lower Fox River. It is portrayed as a premier walleye fishery from the DePere Dam down. So what we've done is improve the aquatic environment to the point where it can support fish. We have wastewater treatment plants that are at or above permit limits for both conventional pollutants and toxics throughout the system. We have no combined sewer overflows in the lower Fox River. What we are dealing with now is past discharges of PCBs and metals that are contaminating the sediments.
In the Green Bay RAP there were many impaired uses, but the sources of impairments can be grouped into two things. One is contaminated sediments and one, the way it manifests itself is a hypereutrophic environment in the lower Green Bay. Within the AOC there's the DePere Dam, which is seven miles upstream from the mouth of the river to a point, artificially drawn here, between two points out in lower Green Bay. This is what is officially the AOC. However, what is tributary to this AOC is both the Fox River and the Wolf River systems. The upper Fox River discharges into Lake Winnebago, which then dumps out into the lower Fox River, which goes down into Green Bay, and this is about 27 miles. The Fox River extends up into northeastern Wisconsin. This whole watershed, which again is tributary to Green Bay itself, encompasses all or part of 17 counties. There are 17 locks and dams on the river. There's 60 municipalities. Over 100 industries, and 13 pulp and paper mills. In 1992, it was estimated that the annual load of total phosphorus to lower Green Bay was 500 metric tonnes per year and approximately 90,000 tonnes of sediment, nutrients, and suspended solids to Green Bay. So we are looking at two very different problems here. One is contaminated sediments, and the other is a very significant nonpoint source of nutrients and solids that are being discharged to the AOC and out into Lake Michigan.
Now I am going to talk very shortly on the nonpoint source and then I'm going to turn it over to Peter McCarthy who is going to talk about the Fox River Coalition. Through no small effort of Jack Day and some of his co-workers up in northeast Wisconsin, in 1992-93 a group of scientists and economists were hired under the title of Northeast Wisconsin Waters of Tomorrow. They put together in one year an analysis of cost-effective alternatives for dealing with the nutrients and solids that are being discharged to Green Bay. It was an offshoot of the RAP, it was not formed by DNR the regulator. It was an independent action by this group of concerned citizens and officials in northeastern Wisconsin that pulled together the money and hired the staff to put together the analysis. The result of this is many-fold. One is we've had a budget initiative, which unfortunately in these economical times, fell on hard times so we didn't get it budgeted, but the offshoot also is a whole new way of looking at a watershed approach throughout the state; where we are looking at what makes sense. What are our highest priorities and how to deal with conventional pollutants, nutrients and solids from nonpoint sources.
The further result is that through this we have accelerated the number of priority watersheds that are being dealt with in our nonpoint source program in the Fox-Wolf area. It's a benefit keyed to the RAP, listed in the RAP as a recommendation, but from that point on has moved independently of the RAP, and whether the RAP takes credit for it or they take credit for it, it doesn't matter because more farmers are putting on more best management practices and reducing the load of nutrients and solids. A second offshoot of this deals with the area that is from Lake Winnebago down to Green Bay itself and that is the area where we have documented contaminated sediments with PCBs and metals that has resulted from past industrial and municipal discharges to the lower Fox. The goal that everyone is after is this desired future state that is identified in the RAP and was identified in the September 1993 RAP update. This is an update of the original RAP that was done in 1988. In order to deal with these problems as well as the nutrients, Pete is going to talk about the Fox River Coalition and what they are doing, what we are doing for contaminated sediments.
Mary Ann Koth - Can I ask you if the group you just mentioned that did that report is the group he is going to talk about now?
Greg Hill - It's a different group.
Mary Ann Koth - Someday I'd like to ask you who were these people that did this nutrient plan and why did private citizens get their own money together and put a plan together?
Greg Hill - If we have enough time, although we are running just a little bit behind schedule, Jack Day can answer that better than I.
Bruce Kirschner - As Greg said, our next speaker is Peter McCarthy of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District and he will be speaking about the Fox River Coalition.
Director of Technical Service
Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District
Jack was instrumental in organizing that group and that group has reformulated itself and still goes on.
In talking about the Fox River Coalition, if I could just spend a short period of time talking about the history of the Fox River Valley. It's like many other watershed histories. When settlements came to that area and industry began to grow the river was used for transportation, among other things. Transportation of raw materials in and finished product out. And also transportation of waste materials out of the area by dumping into the river. It is important when considering how the coalition came together, to understand that this prior use was normal. Normal use of yesteryear appears like an outrageous abuse today because we have raised the standard and that's a concept that's important when it comes to assigning responsibilities or assessing blames, or deciding who pays for what.
The PCB discharges took place, the majority of them, in the 1960 and early 1970s. A major portion of them came from the paper industry, although there was other sources of PCBs as well. They settled to the bottom muds of the Fox River and it was a complex transport pathway that governs how these PCBs move through the aquatic system. The sediment transport, suspension and redeposition, dissolution into the water column, emission from the water column into the air, redeposition of airborne PCBs. In 1989, 1990, the federal government financed a mass balance study to try and model these transport mechanisms and get a handle on what is happening with the PCBs in this watershed. The model was developed and calibrated and one of the more recent runs I've seen estimates that if no action is taken, it will be over 100 years before PCB contaminant levels drop down to below water quality standards. But with remediation we can reduce that by an order of magnitude, something on the order of 10, 20 years depending on how long it takes to implement. So the incentive is there to do something. The incentive is there to get busy. The concept that holds the coalition together is the PCBs were discharged at a time when their adverse impacts weren't really known. And it was normal use of the river at the time. The benefits of that type of operation was that the industries survived and flourished. Jobs were plentiful in the valley. Society benefitted from industry behaving in a normal fashion in the basin. Society will also benefit from the cleanup and from the restoration of the aquatic habitat. So the concept that the coalition is based on is that society should also pay for the cost in some fashion, some equitable distribution for the cleanup of the PCBs in the bottom muds of the Fox River.
The coalition came together with this general concept, it was a brainchild of a representative of one of the paper industries who came to the Wisconsin DNR and started discussing the idea and I didn't realize until just last night that that was only three years ago. I had thought it was a much longer process. The coalition is a voluntary group. It's made up of local and state government and paper industries. It's original members were three counties, five cities, four metropolitan sewerage districts, four industries in the state of Wisconsin. It's now expanded to more than 35 parties. Monthly meeting attendance is 40 people plus. There are over 100 interested parties who have participated in the process at some point or another. The coalition has three main work groups.
There's a technical work group. The work that the technical work group performs ranges from pure science aspects of PCBs to non-PCB contaminants in the same areas, applications of remediation technologies, review of the consultant's work. Finance Work Group put together the first $650,000 that was to be used to hire a consultant and get a remediation plan in place, a design in place so that the first pilot remediation of the site could take place. Since that time it has raised an additional $285,000 for more detailed sediment sampling and testing. Right now they are applying for $235,000 in a grant application to the Great Lakes National Program Office. To give you an idea of just what the sediment deposits look like, take a look at the book that was handed out, just the inside cover gives you a view of this segment of the river in the watershed that Greg Hill showed you a little earlier. It extends from the northern portion of Lake Winnebago down to the Bay of Green Bay. If you look further back in your book, you'll see a Figure 1. This is the upper reach where some severe sediments are in the Little Lake Butte des Morts area. There are seven deposits totalling almost 2,000 kilograms. Figure 2 is the next reach of river to the north. That shows 24 deposits of almost 1,000 kilograms. Figure 3 shows the next northerly portion, extending north to the DePere Dam, city of DePere, which shows five deposits of approximately 1,500 kilograms. Figure 4 shows the reach of river from the DePere Dam to the Bay of Green Bay. It shows the data that was available at the time that this was pulled together. The additional $285,000 that I just mentioned has accomplished additional sampling in this reach to get more detailed information. A report on that sampling and testing should be available toward the end of this year.
The technical work group also prioritized these various deposits. If you look at Figure 5 a little further on in the book you'll see that entire reach again with priorities assigned to each of the deposits that were found in the river. This is the basis of the cost-effective approach to attacking the most easily remediated deposits first, or the most concentrations to get the most bang for the buck.
Another work group within the coalition is the public information group. The public information group is rather a brave group. They started off with just a small coalition and a public that knew virtually nothing and a lot of opposition from environmental groups who didn't understand what the coalition was about and since that time, with the expansion of the coalition, a broadening of the base of knowledge, and incorporation of many groups who are now very supportive of the coalition, the job is now to reach out into the public. There are going to be two programs coming up in Appleton and Green Bay, respectively. They are going to be public participation programs. They are held on Thursday evenings. There's going to be a display and poster board period. Opening remarks by the local mayor. Panelists consisting of an elected official, an industrial representative, a DNR representative, environmental group representative and an independent scientist. And that panel will make a presentation and then will field questions and answers. Then a social period at the end where people who are too shy to ask a question in public can come up and meet the panel and get more information if they wish. Just this week sometime, it may be even today, members of the coalition public speaking group are sitting down with members of the press in just a coffee, social get together, very relaxed atmosphere, sitting down with one of the local Green Bay newspapers for an hour and a half followed by the second Green Bay newspaper for another hour and a half. And the idea is just to kind of explain the program to them in a very relaxed atmosphere and field any questions and get their people up to speed on what's happening. So that when the program starts developing more news releases they have somebody experienced and understanding of the program as a base for writing their reports.
In regard to progress to date, the consultant is progressing on the plan for the first pilot remediation. They have been public information meetings associated with this work. The public has indicated a concern about landfilling and local landfills and what kind of materials that might entail. The alternatives considered for remediation are pretty standard. Containment or capping, excavation and landfill or excavation and treatment with residual landfill. Some pretty standard approaches. I mentioned the sampling below the DePere Dam and the public participation that's going on right now. The big challenge is ahead and that's developing financial packages for the future. Somewhere around $1 million has been raised so far that has primarily been geared to planning the remediation, to getting more sampling information. We are going to have to come up with an equitable means of financing actual remediation. That will be the challenge for the future. But I think the basis is there now for a strong public-private participation that will be built on putting those packages together. Are there questions?
Louise Knox - How big will your demonstration project be?
Peter McCarthy - I'm not that involved in the technical details. It's a very concentrated deposit in the Little Lake Butte des Morts area and I couldn't give you the volumes right offhand. They are in this booklet though.
Jim Martin - Three reasons why the Fox River Coalition will be successful in finding money the money to remediate?
Peter McCarthy - I think we have a strong argument. I don't know if I'll come up with three. A strong argument that the public and private together have a responsibility for this remediation. I think it's a strong argument that society as a whole has benefitted and will benefit. And so there is a reasonableness to balancing the cost with that benefit.
Ava Hottman - Were there active releases in terms of onland disposal, abandoned waste sites from industrial sites or were all of the active release sites, had they been contained and you were just dealing with in-place pollutants?
Peter McCarthy - My understanding is these were primarily end-of-pipe discharges, directly to the river without containment.
Ava Hottman - Okay, so you didn't have contaminated soils or contaminated industrial landfills that were leaching. So you didn't have active releases that you needed to stop.
Jim Murray - What is it that you are going to demonstrate?
Peter McCarthy - Demonstrate that a contaminant, a PCB-contaminated bottom mud site can be properly remediated without adverse impact on the surrounding aquatic environment, and it can be done at a reasonable cost.
Greg Hill - Pete, if I could expand that. The DNR in 1989 was authorized to start a contaminated sediment program outside of Superfund or Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) or Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) or anything else, it was a separate water quality based sediment remediation program. The Little Lake Butte des Morts deposit A site was one of the demonstration sites that was identified back in the early '90s. That's the site that's going to be a demonstration site. It's the furthest upstream PCB contaminated sediment source to the lower Fox and it's a relatively small, less than 40 acres, and, I can't tell you how many cubic yards, but it's nearshore, manageable unit where we expect to be able to demonstrate a technology for dealing with heavily contaminated PCB sediments.
Jim Murray - That's what I'm struggling with, maybe you could help me here for a second. The PCB has been remediated in a couple of different ways. Sediments have been dug up and taken to a TSCA site. Is that what's being proposed? Are you going to landfill this?
Greg Hill - The final alternative has not yet been selected. That is one of the alternatives under consideration.
Jim Murray - Incineration or bioremediation?
Peter McCarthy - I think incineration is an alternative, bioremediation is definitely one of the alternatives. I'm not sure about incineration. I haven't heard directly yet. I haven't read that incineration in one of the alternatives. Let me explain the idea of a pilot demonstration, not in terms of what's known nationally or what's known to this group, but what's known to the people in the area who are paying for it. That's a major hurdle for the local municipalities to understand why this is important. So the demonstration demonstrates to them that it can be done for a reasonable cost and that it's worthwhile. I don't think we are pushing back the boundaries of science here worldwide, but it's certainly is important in terms of the current fiscal conditions that the local communities are on board, they've got to understand it.
Louise Knox - I support that. We did a demonstration, I guess two years ago now, in Hamilton Harbour, very small demonstration to see if our estimates for costs of removal and costs of treatment were roughly right and see what kind of results we could get. I think any community that's thinking about doing that kind of work needs to confirm on a small scale that their estimates are roughly right and that their technology has been working. I'd just like to add an observation here and it's that from Rick Brewer's presentation and the presentation you've given, I know that there are at least three of us in AOCs who are all in the same place in dealing with this issue of contaminated sediments in the sense that we have created a forum to bring together the people we think have some responsibility to the issue. We have characterized the sediment, have identified technology, and we're at the stage of selecting options and finding funding to go all the way. I think you're the furthest ahead because you got federal and state funding. In Hamilton Harbour we had federal funding of $5 million. We don't yet have provincial funding to match the $5 million but we are seeking it, and we need $3-1/2 million from Stelco, and $1-1/2 million from the Harbour Commission. It's kind of funny, the timing of this, how we all got to exactly the same stage at exactly the same time. My concern is we are not there yet. This thing could still choke. When people come to have to spend the kind of money that it's going to take to remove larger volumes, and for us it's tiny compared to what you are doing, we're talking a large volume for us is 20,000 cubic meters. That's going to be $15 million if we treat it using the treatment technologies under consideration. A lot of money, a lot of work, and I just want to make sure that it doesn't stop here, that we don't all choke, that our communities don't say nope, nope, I'm sorry that's it. So far everybody has been able to spend little incremental amounts of money to be able to do the preparatory work, but nobody has actually taken it out yet. So I think one benefit of this conference is maybe we can get together, form a little group and compare notes maybe a bit more regularly on how we are progressing within our coalitions, or our committees. Let's stay in touch because there is a danger it could come apart.
Rick Brewer - To what extent, if any, is the U.S. EPA working with you and the Corps of Engineers if they are going to be required?
Peter McCarthy - I don't think there's a great deal of involvement yet, but there is an involvement with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). They came on the scene perhaps a year ago, not having any kind of appreciation for what the coalition was trying to accomplish. And they were ready to move into their natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) and identify probable responsible parties and basically march through their scheme of things. It was one of the crashing ways that kind of ripple through the coalition from time to time and test its strength to stay together. What has happened since that time is FWS has a greater appreciation of the coalition. The coalition has been responsive to what FWS has to say regarding the amount of public information meetings and some of the technical analysis and so that now FWS has indicated their support of the coalition's direction, and they are actually looking to the coalition to develop a remediation plan. So we feel we have really gained in that ground a great deal.
Greg Hill - Pete, if I could just clarify a little bit. EPA has funded the Green Bay mass balance. They are the funding source where we have solicited about not quite half of the million dollars that has been put together for additional sampling and feasibility study and alternatives analysis that Pete identified as ongoing efforts right now. So EPA has provided a good chunk of change there. The Corps of Engineers is involved in the navigational dredging question for the lower Fox River and Green Bay for navigational purposes. We have not yet involved them through 401 or 312.
Rick Brewer - One thing I was concerned about, based on our experience as I hear your story of the Fox River, would be that if the U.S. EPA and/or the Corps of Engineers is going to be in any kind of a decisionmaking mode relative to the project down the road, I wouldn't wait to get to that end point where you are ready to go to work to bring them in.
Peter McCarthy - And that's why they are part of the coalition, either as doers or reviewers in a major way.
Jim Murray - Because it's PCB, they will have to review the final disposal for the remediation. The EPA will, won't they?
Peter McCarthy - We have the first TSCA waiver for delegation of permitting of PCB wastes in the U.S. Wisconsin received that, so they will be a party to the review but we will have permitting authority through that TSCA waiver.
Susan Gilbertson - A couple points in terms of clarification. In this arena there are three federal agencies that are potentially involved: U.S. EPA; U.S. Corps of Engineers; and U.S. FWS. The FWS has probably the most substantial potential action lurking out there and when Peter described the FWS as looking to the coalition to define a remediation option, my understanding is that the FWS would like to work with the coalition and take advantage of any actions or options or whatever that the coalition comes up with and that they can work cooperatively with the coalition to define what the appropriate remediation option should be. But to date there has not been, please feel free to jump in, that type of trilateral partnership that I think you've seen in Ashtabula, because the state has basically asked for the option to try and pursue this approach sans FWS. Now this has a couple of advantages, there's an axiom that I like to use, that action is good and inaction is bad and the thing that will guarantee a federal enforcement action is inaction on the part of the coalition. I think that if the coalition shows reasonable progress, if I may use that term, that they are moving down the river, putting together the funding, because that's going to be very difficult. I think that will help defer federal action, but if there isn't action taken then my understanding is that the FWS is primed and ready to step in. Greg, does that agree with your assessment of it?
Greg Hill - That's right. The question that comes to my mind, why in Green Bay versus Ashtabula, where the federal agencies have said, no action at this time because you've got a partnership, it's similar but different.
Ava Hottman - The difference is the presence of a Superfund site. There has already been NRDA done.
Susan Gilbertson - From the Superfund side of the Act, not the FWS side of the Act.
Ava Hottman - In terms of the ecosystem involved, in Ashtabula, were talking significant differences on a scale from Green Bay and the Fox River in terms of size. You know we have more contaminated sediment volume, at least at this particular site. I think it's the presence of the Superfund site that really makes the difference.
Brett Kaull - Also we need Superfund and we want Superfund. We just don't want Superfund implemented. What we have really presented, there are two options, there's the partnership and we're again as we talked about this morning, offering really other funding options that should be more attractive to the PRPs and hence they'll come to the table and they'll help the federal government with their problems. Meanwhile, the federal buyin helps lower the costs of PRP and then for the community the bonus is the harbor doesn't shut down. Because Superfund will do its business regardless of its affect on the harbor. But beyond that if that doesn't work, if that's not a good deal, that's fine. With Superfund when all the evidence will be developed it will be ready to come online. They know what that reality is. We can't do it without Superfund, yet we can't do it with a Superfund designation right now. So we are walking a very fine line, but if the question is, was EPA going to do it, I believe they were. But frankly, we put everybody in one room in November and shut the door and said aren't we ashamed. I know that EPA is tired of hearing about Ashtabula, I know people have been banging their heads against a wall. Folks were about to push it into oblivion. I think if we work together and use all these elements to leverage each other towards a common goal maybe we can triumph. I think that in part is what drove a willingness to hold off.
Susan Gilbertson - I like to describe it not as a covenant not to sue, but a covenant to craft a win, win situation for every party who had either a legal, a political, a policy or a personal interest in that area. What we crafted essentially I think was a binding covenant that was a win, win covenant.
Brett Kaull - Nonbinding, completely nonlegally binding.
Susan Gilbertson - In terms of the relationship, we view it as binding.
Brett Kaull - Cemented. There's a moral bond that was struck by the pressure of the situation.
Ava Hottman - I'm really interested, not so much because of the Ashtabula, but because of the Maumee. Were there National Priorities List (NPL) sites in the Fox River?
Greg Hill - No.
Ava Hottman - So there were no PRPs present.
Greg Hill - Correct.
Peter McCarthy - PRPs have since been identified by the FWS, which is not giving up any of its options. I don't want to give the impression that they've joined forces. They still have that process outstanding. They are listening to us, giving us some breathing room.
Ava Hottman - But that's very different than what happens when CERCLA is brought to bear in terms of the federal Superfund. If you're not on the NPL, these aren't Superfund.
Greg Hill - They aren't yet. Like you said the options are still there and when we move ahead with the coalition and we start talking to the industries that have discharged in the past, when we go in for an investigation they want to make sure that it's CERCLA quality data gathered to preserve their options under Superfund as well as enforcement options.
Ava Hottman - Do you have a state remedial action program?
Greg Hill - Yes, it's called the Environmental Response Program.
Ava Hottman - Do you all know that there has never been a cleaned up river site in the Superfund program that was not associated with a specific facility? There has never been one in Superfund that was just contaminated sediment? I think it's real important to put some perspective on the Fox River, that's why I was asking, there has never been one. Partly because my impression of the federal Superfund people in Washington, they don't know how to do this. Aquatic sites are completely off the list in terms of NPL, they don't know how to score them, they don't know how to rank them, they don't know what to do.
Louise Knox - But don't your PRPs know that?
Peter McCarthy - We're upstream of Ashtabula in finding out how to deal with these issues. We still in the energetic, isn't this fun stage. And I'm sure we are going to bump up against these issues. I don't want to leave the impression that we are a totally unified coalition. There's still people in that coalition who have their own interests, their own agendas, their own schedules, their own ideas, but the fact is, the coalition is working. When Fish & Wildlife and the Sierra Club come together in the realm of the coalition and help develop and produce these public information meetings, that's just a great sign. That's an accomplishment in itself.
Gail Krantzberg - I'm not sure it's in question. I think the point is that regardless of Superfund or whatever federal or provincial or state or jurisdictions or laws or statutes or anything, the formula is what's important and I'd like to get to the generic sense of what's going on here rather than legislation and so on. The point is, and you just made it, is isn't this a crying shame. We all have something to get out of this for our community, we all can benefit from this. These are the formulas that you are bringing your coalition together and I would like to hear the discourse on that one next step, which is we can demonstrate the benefit to each of the players. We need to demonstrate the benefit to each of the players to become a partner in the project. Certainly the economy scale is one of them. We need to come to a common consensus on what needs to be removed, or what needs to be dealt with and the best mechanism, best method, best option, feasibility studies and so on, that's all generic, we were all doing that and I think we need to go, what are the steps? And the primary, most fundamental step to me is to demonstrate that there is a benefit to each one of the players, otherwise they will not be at the table. That it's going to be paid for in an equitable fashion and I think the way you described it, was extremely intriguing and we used it in Collingwood in order to get the cleanup there. The town paid, the town had nothing to do with it except they had jobs when the shipyards were polluting and so they benefitted from that pollution. So they came in and they felt it was part of their job to also help with the cleanup because they will benefit from the cleanup. And that's the model, I think, that you are getting at when you talk about equatability.
The part that I have difficulty with and where things can break down and which I think Louise Knox was getting at, is that the partnerships, these coalitions, are nonbinding, they are in good faith and we always have at least a player or two key players who have hidden agendas. We have to be able to get them to break out of that and to convince them that that agenda is going to destroy the possibility of a massive environmental improvement. We need to overcome that hurdle. And that's I think where Louise was coming from when saying we need to continue dialogue, because if we run into a brick wall and somebody else has overcome that brick wall we want to know how they did it. I think that's one of the things that, you got many of your players together but I sense there's still some tension, still struggling, and the challenge then is how do we overcome that struggle if we have nonbinding partnership agreements because there is no legal mechanism behind our RAP processes at all in Canada.
Ava Hottman - that's where the statutory details -- in the United States, you cannot ignore that part at the table. Whether it comes from U.S. FWS, whether it comes from the CERCLA Program, whether it comes from a state mandated cleanup -- that is, to me we all function with a gorilla at the table, which is there is a very draconian solution that is available and if you take that draconion solution in which nobody really wins, including the environment. But that's how the law is set up; very complicated, legal liability and rights to be protected. If you take that gorilla away, that is a very strong disincentive to stonewall when you get down to dividing up the cash responsibilities. And for us in the U.S., we will always have to play, whether we create new state programs or do other things, we will always have to play in an area of statutory jurisdictions, statutory constructions.
Kathy Bero - I'm completely missing the boat on the magic behind Superfund because in Wisconsin we have two RAPs, Milwaukee and Sheboygan, that have Superfund sites. We are making very little progress and because they are Superfund sites and they have been engaged in litigation, there's a lack of information flowing to the RAP committees. So this whole conversation of Superfund magic has just gone right over my head.
Bruce Kirschner - We do have one AOC that has experience with Superfund. They had a full-scale remediation of a boat slip at Waukegan Harbor, and our next speaker Charles Isely III will bring us up-to-date on progress in Waukegon Harbor.
Charles C. Isely III
President and Chief Executive Officer, Lake County Chamber of Commerce
Well, it is interesting to sit here and listen to what you all have to say and I do think it is interesting also because of the partnerships and I will sit here and tell you flat out without any equivocation, in spite of the U.S. EPA, our RAP process is working and one of the reasons is because we incorporated under Illinois law our RAP as a corporation. We are a business. Now the Corps of Engineers can't understand that, they can't accept that. That's our biggest problem. Because we are willing to volunteer to bring the $21 million to the table through the RAP to dredge the harbor. I think that we have a similar problem like you have in Ohio and I had a lot of fun talking to my good friend Rick Brewer over here. We're converting a commercial harbor AOC to a recreation facility. That is the goal. Unfortunately we aren't really going to be doing it but we have to do part of it because we have a fish advisory that everybody takes for granted, that we have a fish advisory for the Waukegan Harbor. Now it's ironic, the fact is that none of the fishing charter boats fish in the harbor. But it hasn't had a public affairs effect on everybody that wants to come to eat the fish there because they don't know the difference when they are coming 500 miles away to go fishing, or the national news puts out these 10-year-old fish advisory test results.
It's a big problem and I'm serious when I say this about the harbor because I do think it's ironic that a slip, a commercial slip in the harbor was what was physically cleaned up, closed off, and it was one of three Superfund sites in our AOC which again we fought with the federal government to get changed to an expanded area because when they drew their little goose egg, I don't know, it was at least six or seven months we fought to get that changed because that's real fine for your little goose egg, but if we don't do the stuff outside the goose egg it ain't going to make a dam bit of difference what we do inside of it, and we finally got them to agree. We had 18 specific points of reference within that expanded area that are causing pollution into the harbor and into the watershed of Lake Michigan. As I said, three of them are Superfund sites. We're working on the second one right now. The people are getting the job done. And I think it is interesting that with the removal of sediments is the big point in the commercial harbor because ships are running light loads. The lake freighters that come in bringing gypsum cement cannot come in full now because of the fact of the sediment buildup because the harbor hasn't been cleaned in over 20 years by the Corps of Engineers because of the sediment with PCBs and other contaminants. We have 21 or 22 monitoring wells in place so we know exactly what everything is we have in this area and so we know what's there and, as I was telling Peter McCarthy earlier before I started, if the state of Illinois granted us another riverboat gambling license we'd have the third Superfund site under construction today because these people have put up $40 million for their proposal to put in riverboat gambling by building a lagoon attached to the Waukegan River because the riverboat gambling boats can't go in Lake Michigan and they have $7 million in their package to clean up another Superfund site, believe it or not. And the dam Legislature didn't give any more licenses.
The state of Illinois has determined that 53% of our population, people who have a certain income level, aren't currently being served by riverboat gambling. Okay, you may think I'm funny but I'm a business person and I understand the relationship. One of the people who saw my shirt today and said I was on the part of the Harbor American Challenge because I knew by talking with the people in Chicago if they had won, guess what, they'd have had to use our harbor to run the contest out of because the City of Chicago told them, hell no from the beginning they wouldn't support it, and I was ready. Okay, be that as it may, I think that it's interesting to me that you can do it through the RAP process. Of course, it seems to vary by state by state and as I said we've had 58 meetings of our RAP and I've attended 56 of them, those are the formal meetings once a month, we don't meet in the month of December and we have a good binding group of the mix, and I would say to you it's interesting when I heard the word public participation. When you use the word public that means to me government. We say private venture versus public and I don't know if that's what the person meant but I think because we don't have as much public, I'm saying local government representation, I think we are getting a lot faster movement in spite of the fact that IJC says we ought to have more of their involvement. And we had a political affairs committee we worked with telling what we need. We are doing a lot of outreach programs, having beach sweeps and cleanup the beaches, recycling tires. We're trying to get them to put up a household recycling waste center in our area because we just had one of those events and it was the best one the state's ever held. More people turning in stuff. We weren't as lucky at the one we had last year that we helped co-sponsor, down at the harbor where some people brought in some old 3.5 bazooka rocket rounds from World War II, and they weren't supposed to bring that. With the one we just had you are not supposed to bring batteries, but they brought, I don't know how many, pounds of batteries, we sold them. The RAP made some $80 on that.
Mary Ann Koth - I want to know, what do you mean when you say you're incorporated. You're actually a company?
Charles C. Isely, III - In the state of Illinois under corporate law, we incorporated our RAP as a business, a not-for-profit corporation. Now, that might not mean anything to you, but I'm considered one of the experts in the state of Illinois on not-for-profit corporate law because I teach classes on it. The only difference in Illinois between for-profit and not-for- profit corporations is the structure. That is in one you have members, that's not-for-profit, everything else is the same in relation to what you do and what it costs you to do business. If you have a for-profit corporation, you have investors. I don't know how it works in Ohio. But that's the way it works in Illinois.
Mary Ann Koth - I would love to use this model. In fact, I plan to go back to our RAP and say I think this is the only way we can go, but I'd like to know who are you in the group, is there anyone from an agency that works with you? Do you hire consultants? Where do you get your money from, stuff like that?
Charles C. Isely, III - I'm the president. No. We do it all volunteer. We get the money from the business community.
Mary Ann Koth - Okay, so businesses contribute money to you.
Charles C. Isely, III - We sell memberships.
Mary Ann Koth - I'm looking at taking all the information I hear here and trying to put it in Minnesota, so that's why I'm asking these questions.
Charles C. Isely, III - Okay, that's why I just said earlier we have three important problems and goals. One, is we want to get delisted. Confirm that the fish are good to eat, we know that they are. With that we just got our first $100,000 grant from the Great Lakes National Program Office of the U.S. EPA to do some fish testing in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers. We hoped to have that started this year, but we couldn't find a lab to run the test for us and so we are on schedule to start that next March. Secondly, is that we want to get the Corps of Engineers to approve us as their participant in the dredging of the harbor because we have got the commitments for our part of the $21 million that they want us to have on tap in relation to getting the dredging done. They have to move 270,000 cubic yards initially and do 80,000 yards for the next 15 years, every other year.
Mary Ann Koth - Where did your money come from?
Charles C. Isely, III - From our business constituency. They said you have to have your partnership guarantee. We didn't get it from any city, which they are used to dealing with, or any government. We got it through our not-for-profit corporation.
Rick Brewer - What's the Corps' share?
Charles C. Isely, III - Their share is under 30 million.
Louise Knox - So you raised $30 million?
Charles C. Isely, III - I raised $21 million.
Louise Knox - You raised $21 million and they're going to put in $30 million.
Charles C. Isely, III - Now all we have to do is find a site. That's the third point. And I understand last week that they have a couple potentially identified. So I'm saying those are my three goals.
Susan Gilbertson - The siting that you mentioned is not going to be a trivial undertaking.
Charles C. Isely, III - We understand that, that's where the biggest expense is.
Jim Martin - So why have you been successful? Because you incorporated and became a business and could raise money that way?
Charles C. Isely, III - I think so.
Mary Ann Koth - But how did you raise that kind of money?
Charles C. Isely, III - By going around and asking for it.
Mary Ann Koth - Oh yeah?
Charles C. Isely, III - Well, I'm sorry I know no other way, I've been doing it that way for 40 years in my professional life.
Brett Kaull - These are voluntary donations of $21 million from corporations, no liability ---
Charles C. Isely, III - I didn't say that.
Brett Kaull - Well, that's the point I want to get to. Why would they put the money up?
Charles C. Isely, III - Because we asked them and because we were willing to stand up front and be the front runners.
Brett Kaull - But there's enforcement and there's liability on those corporations?
Charles C. Isely, III - Certainly.
Brett Kaull - I'm going to take your class, by the way.
Charles C. Isely, III - Well, I've been told I've been reasonably aggressive in my profession, but I never forget what I tell you because I don't tell you anything but the truth. And among my own peer groups I know that I'm not liked because when I came to Lake County, I took plenty of business from other areas of the state. In the time that I've been there I've created over 45,000 jobs and I'm the first nonelected person would ever admit that. The RAP is my side job by the way, and I enjoy it. We restructured this last year when we got through with Stage 2 and we divided it all up and made little task forces for these five different areas and we are proceeding. I'm just now the chairman, but it's fun, it's been interesting and it does work.
Bruce Kirschner - Bob Burris from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will be speaking to us about agricultural nonpoint source control efforts in the Maumee River AOC.
Coordinator, Great Lakes Water Quality
Natural Resource Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture
Well, I'm not going to talk about contaminated sediments, I can tell you that. I'm going to give you an overview of the phosphorus issue that was ongoing in Lake Erie and some of the work that stemmed from the Maumee River RAP. Originally the RAP delineation just included a small area around the harbor, all within Lucas County, and when everyone got together and one of issues was sediments and the other was nutrients they decided that, well, if they were really going to effect this thing they were going to have to look at a lot larger area than just at the harbor. This is a little bit of a change of pace, in fact, we are looking at an area considerably larger than what we have been talking about here. This is about 4 million acres drainage area that's going to be coming down into the harbor area and you're looking at very diffuse sources of sediment and phosphorus, you're not looking at concentrated sources, and so you're going to have to look at it a little bit different because you are affecting a whole lot of people. So what I want to do is talk about some of the things that we tried and some of the things that worked and also some of the things that did not work.
Lake Erie is essentially the crown jewel of Ohio's water resources. An average day on Lake Erie sees about three billion gallons of water use. An average day sees about $23 million generated by the tourism industry. An average day sees about 12,000 walleye and yellow perch caught by sports fishermen. An average day sees about 60,000 people visit the lake and the state parks. The charter boat industry has increased 15-fold over the last 15 years. Since 1985 it's probably almost doubled again. In 1992, Lake Erie's anglers harvested 2.1 million walleye. As you all know, it hasn't always been that way. In the late '70s you had the dead fish, the algae, sediment plumes, the no fishing signs, and you had facilities that were reeling from water pollution problems. In the mid-70s and early '80s we were concerned with municipal phosphorus loadings. Since that time the massive amount of money put into that problem reduced the amount of loading coming from the municipal area. Now, we have turned to essentially looking at the nonpoint source areas. Although the point source areas' phosphorus were reduced dramatically in late '70s, it became apparent that meeting the phosphorus reduction goals required reduction of loadings from nonpoint sources. Sediment and nutrients were coming off the farm land within the Maumee basin, especially flat row crop areas. We are not looking at a tremendous amount of rolling land or highly rollable land, but still you're still getting significant amounts of phosphorus when it comes all down to the harbor. Of the entire Lake Erie basin, the Maumee harbor is the largest contributor of sediment and phosphorus to the lake.
Historically, the river typically carries about 1.3 million tonnes of sediment and about 2,300 tonnes of phosphorus into Lake Erie annually. The Ohio portion of the Maumee River drains over three million acres and 80% of this is cropland. Sediment degrades the water quality in several ways. It blocks the sunlight, etc. The other problem that we identified was the anoxic area within the middle of Lake Erie and when the oxygen goes to zero, then the fish die. As a result of the sediment loading the harbor had to be dredged of about a million cubic yards annually at a cost of around $3 million. The U.S. and Canada divided up the phosphorus reduction goals amongst themselves and the goal for Lake Erie totalled about 2,000 metric tonnes. Ohio ended up with the lion share of that simply because they have the largest drainage area into the lake, with about 1,390 metric tonnes. The goal was further divided between nonpoint source and point source. This was a big bone of contention and it took about two years to make this division. No one wanted to claim responsibility for the 1,390 tonnes and so after a lot of discussion back and forth, they finally came to a division of that. Agriculture was very hesitant. There were a lot of heated meetings and discussions on whether their share should be as much as it was. But after looking at it and looking at the research they agreed to accept the 900 metric tonnes for Ohio.
Initially, I'll talk about some of the things that didn't work. This happened in about 1987 or 1988 and so those numbers were put out, agriculture you get 900 metric tonnes and the information was put out across the agricultural community, and for about two years nothing happened, nobody changed their practices, nothing too much was done. Then some agency people got together from Soil Conservation Service (SCS), Ohio DNR, Ohio EPA, and U.S. EPA and said is there any way we can change our tactics to make this a little more personable? I think what has come out in a lot of the discussion so far is that we tried to make and create a sense of place for that phosphorus reduction goal. So we divided the goals up essentially on a geographic basis and then ended up dividing it politically to each one of the counties, and what this shows is that within the basin the different counties got a representative proportion of that total goal, depending on how much agricultural land they had that drained into Lake Erie. Once that was done then the next action was taken which was a cooperative kind of a gamble between the different agencies, the state agencies and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which was then SCS, and U.S. EPA. We said, what would happen if we gave them or provided some grant money into those counties and so each county was offered some grant money to put together a phosphorus strategy. They were given an allotment and said that's your goal and it's up to you to develop the strategy and how you are going to meet that. You can do it through different types of conservation practices. You can change tillage methods. You can do whatever you want to do, but in the end you've got to end up with some type of a strategy that's going to reach the goal that you were assigned, and in addition, we assigned some technical staff to those areas to provide some support. Money for that came through NRCS. The funds to implement or put these strategies together essentially were developed or were provided by Ohio EPA through U.S. EPA 319 grants. Each county was essentially given a challenge grant of $2,000 if they would put together a diverse group to come up with this strategy. So there were a lot of meetings in the basin.
You're looking at about 35 counties that you are going to try and develop a strategy. First of all they had to convince the people that this was even necessary because the agricultural community wasn't going to buy the fact that their county needed to take any action. If you think about something that's removed from where you live and whether or not you're willing to change your practices to help somebody probably an hour or two hours' drive away, it's very hard to make it personable. But through these discussions and through providing some technical staff to those discussion groups, we began to see changes in attitude. That meant going out with them, meeting with them, going through a series of slides, and talking to them. They slowly came around and said well, maybe the fact that we are 75 or 100 miles away doesn't make any difference if our water eventually ends up in that harbor. The other thing we tried to encourage them to do, and I think this is one of the successes of our effort, was that we encouraged them to get non-traditional people to sit in on their phosphorus committees. So typically you would think you would have mostly farmers, and we did have a lot of farmers. We had about 26% out of the 360 members, farm groups were 10%. But some people they had not addressed before or not tapped before were farm machinery dealers, the chemical and fertilizer industry, and you think that may be a little ironic, the fact that you were telling people to use less phosphorus and you are going to sell less phosphorus and yet they were going to sit in on the committees and come up with strategies to accomplish this. Government organizations made up a third and that was soil and water conservation district supervisors, which were also probably farmers in some cases and some cases they were local legislators or officials. But the other ones we added too were education, people there from the major universities in the area as well as environmental groups and the League of Women Voters also participated.
In all funding was provided to 33 counties at $1,000 per year for two years so we ended up with $66,000 there. There were a series of competitive grants that went for about $300,000 and this funding came through Ohio EPA. NRCS provided additional technical assistance of five people that they put in the basin to help implement some of these strategies. Principally they were looking at increasing the amount of cover on the land through conservation tillage. Sometimes to do this they came up with these innovative programs to provide a buydown on certain types of tillage equipment. And they had informative displays which they set up at a equipment dealers. He was selling chisel points and they are showing here that if you use the one type you got 75% cover, if you use the other type you only got 40%. So they were providing resources to retrofit their equipment to go to the points which resulted in 75% cover. Then they had field days at research stations around the basin. This was at Stone Lab, which is a research station in the lake, they took some people out and it was surprising how many farmers had never ever been to Lake Erie, let alone to Toledo Harbor. They took a load of people right out to a dredge and they saw it and this had a marked affect on the farmers' attitude. They were actually seeing firsthand what happened to the sediment after it left their farms. They put out fact sheets and reports as part of the RAPs. Then after that they came up with these plans and ideas and things to do that required some additional funds that hadn't been provided for and so they made some applications and with some discussions with U.S. EPA, Region V and Ohio EPA, we were able to garner essentially about another $800,000; $640,000 of it went into the Maumee River basin and the rest of it went into the Black River basin.
What they were doing was buying down the cost of a piece of conservation tillage equipment. Some of it costs about $20,000. They were providing somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 as an incentive. With that the farmer had to agree to use it on a minimum of 300 acres a year for three years. He was not allowed to sell the equipment for that period of time, so you couldn't have somebody coming in and buying equipment and reselling it and making money. Some of the farmers could use the money to retrofit existing equipment such as when someone didn't want to buy new equipment but still wanted to change their process. They could use the chisel points, the chisel harrows. The other thing was to provide a piece of equipment on the back of their harvesting equipment, which is called a chaff spreader and that chaff spreader only costs about $200. A new combine by comparison is somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000. That chaff spreader spread the residue so that next year they can come back in and use conservation tillage or no till in that field. Previous to that it would leave a windrow and you'd have areas with too much mulch cover and areas that were left bare and unprotected so you couldn't get uniform planting. That maybe a small change, but some counties had 100 or 200 of those installed. Farmers could have probably bought them themselves, they were all $200, $300, but they just didn't do it. In the Maumee AOC, 235 drills were sold and this was one of the reasons to bring in the equipment dealers because they came up with some of the ideas they thought would get new technology out on the farm faster, and so they used some of their ideas within the committees and were pretty successful. John Deere completely exhausted their supply in three states, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. They were shipping everything they could get for two years. They had not anticipated that type of a response. In fact we didn't either. We figured the agencies sat together and figured the money would last for three years. It was a three-year grant.
Ava Hottman - It lasted 42 days.
Bob Burris - Yes, about 42 days. They had one signup period and it was completely gone. So that part of it was very successful. The other thing we wanted to do was track what accomplishments were going on the land because that's what we were really trying to do was change the amount of residue on the landscape. So essentially we are looking at several different things. The first one is the acres of mulch and no till which essentially is just looking at the changes in cropping patterns. Second, the amount of small grain and hay. That also provides a significant amount of residue on the surface.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment was a government program that was focused on highly erodible acres and as I said before there were very few highly erodible acres in the basin, but there was a provision added that allowed water quality filter strips in riparian areas to be included. So that opened up an opportunity within the basin for people to participate. We had a fairly significant enrollment within the CRP. CRP picked up a little bit each year from '87-'93, the seven years that there were sign ups, it increased a little bit each year -- ended up with somewhere around 130,000 acres within the program across the basin. Which isn't a tremendous amount when you're looking at four million acres, but it still counted. You can see a dramatic increase there over about a five-year period. Conservation tillage has been our major success story. Here's corn and soybeans acreage combined, looking at them together you can see a dramatic shift from conventional tillage to conservation tillage. Part of this success is what happened to the "no till" corn acres and the "no till" soybean acres. The biggest increase that we've seen is the "no till" beans, a dramatic increase, it's like ninefold. We credit a lot of that to kind of a combination because I guess the money got there at the right time and also the equipment that came out about 1991. John Deere came out with a new drill that was state of the art and everybody wanted one, and it really did a good job and it just happened at the right time. You see what happened, you have 900% increase.
So looking at the phosphorous reduction, we added all those up, in pluses and the minuses, and from '87 through '93. At the present time we are at about 68% of our goal. So in summary, what we're looking at, there are kind of four main factors that all fit together: 1) A commitment to water quality and implementation for a team approach. In our case it was essentially the Ohio EPA, the NRCS, the Ohio DNR, and the U.S. EPA that worked together. 2) Technology, the ready availability of adequate conservation technology. Essentially, in our case it was in the form of tillage systems that worked in northwestern Ohio. 3) The other one I think was money, the commitment of adequate resources to do the job in terms of people and funding, NRCS we put probably in technical assistance, about $250,000 a year went there, and Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA, we probably put in excess of a million dollars, a million and a half over the three or four-year period. 4) Another factor was that steering committees were set up and we tried to give the people, as I said before, a sense of place or personalized the problem that they could relate to in their own farm, and until we assigned essentially a phosphorous load to each county, none of them really had any sense of that they owned it. And once that happened then each one of them wanted to see how they could put together some type of strategy to meet that goal.
At this point in time, I think there are four counties that have exceeded what we assigned them. The lowest county I think is about forty some percent; most of them are well above fifty percent of their goal. I guess that's the other thing was kind of a voluntary program but there was really a gorilla in the closet and I guess the other ironic thing right now is the fact that we've done, or at least the word is out that we've done, too good a job with the phosphorous loading reductions. Some people now believe that the combined effects of the zebra mussels and the phosphorous reduction has made parts of Lake Erie too clean for certain type of fish production.
Ava Hottman - Before any of you think of this as a giveaway program, for every dollar in financial incentives that went out of this program, seven to ten dollars were contributed by the farmer. We got a federal grant and matched them ten dollars to one dollar. The state put no match in, except for technical assistance. You know, arranging boat tours on dredges and stuff so you could see their ultimate goal. And NRCS put in a lot of technical assistance. We had competition among counties, that played a part, people wanted to beat each other in reducing phosphorous. But the farmers themselves helped design the program, the cash incentive program, and banks cooperated. The thing that kind of made my day, one time was seeing an ad in a rural county paper up in northwest Ohio, that had all these farm implements on it and there were little boxes that read water quality equipment, water quality equipment, water quality equipment. And the farmers of the Maumee River basin and the Black River basin who were part of the program did not see themselves as getting farm subsidies, but saw themselves as buying pollution control equipment. And that was very different.
Bob Burris - I think that was the advantage of that, having them on the steering committee. The equipment dealers were our salespersons rather than having some agency person out there preaching which was really effective.
Ava Hottman - But the farmers really saw themselves buying pollution control equipment.
Gail Krantzberg - Would it be fair to say that when the farmers saw their soil in the form of sediments being dredged out of Lake Erie it dawned on them that even though you may be doing something up stream it's eventually coming downstream, you're actually benefitting yourself by keeping your soils on the land? That was actually the upturning point?
Bob Burris - Yes, the agency people had preached to them for years that that was an economic loss to them, but I don't think it really hit home until they went down there and saw one of those big dredges. Then it was pretty dramatic.
Also when the farmers saw the confined disposal facilities comprising 500 to 600 acres and realized that this material used to be their top soil, they understood that they were perhaps part of the problem.
Jim Martin - What was the gorilla?
Bob Burris - Well, essentially at that time, the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) rules were in the process of being adopted which would have required essentially a farm plan or a regulated process on each farm in the Lake Erie basin. So, they would rather do it their way than to have somebody tell them how to do it.
Louise Knox - Was the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada enough incentive to encourage the farmers to meet the reduction allocations that the U.S. had promised it would carry out?
Ava Hottman - I think on the part of the Ohio EPA, it's real important to remember there was like a ten-year continuity between the staff that actually wrote the Ohio Phosphorus Reduction Plan and most of this staff had become managers by that time. People told us we could not do it with voluntary programs, that it was the only way it could be done was with regulatory programs on row crop agriculture in Ohio. I think, in terms of the governmental agency, there was a real desire to prove people wrong, that it could be done with voluntary programs, and Section 319 in the Clean Water Act was authorized and we were able, just timing-wise, to move a lot of money out to the field. Historically, nonpoint source programs with agriculture are done in little demonstrations, here, here and here, a couple acres here and there. What our goal was to hit within a big watershed simultaneously to see if you could get a collective reduction which told us about watershed-based implementation not demonstration farms, but moving in to implement on a watershed scale. You can get voluntary results.
Susan Gilbertson - We made a determination too, to target our 319 money specifically in these large basins and we made a very conscious decision to work with the states to direct money into Great Lakes watershed-based activities.
Ava Hottman - U.S. EPA's Region V's Water Division Director had to go to Washington to explain why they were putting this money in a pilot effort to do this. So, it was very controversial at the time; it was considered very radical.
John Jackson - Last night we were hearing from the governments how the money earmarked for RAPs was basically disappearing. Today we've been hearing a lot in terms of there's these other programs and Corps of Engineers and U.S. EPA money going into cleanups. Are these programs also going to be cut, and therefore the lessons learned from these of little value to other AOCs?
Mark Mitchell - How did you measure success? Did you do it with water quality monitoring or some other parameter?
Bob Burris - No, we tracked the acre, we set up a transect survey in all the counties. So they tracked the changes in the tillage methods, the cropping patterns in every county. They looked at about 400 points in each county and we had such an in-basin research, edge of field research, that had gone on in the '70s and early '80s that it gave us real good figures on calculating reductions in phosphorus loading. So we prorated it into the number of acres and extrapolated it across the basin.
Ava Hottman - We had 10 years of tributary monitoring for agricultural parameters.
Bruce Kirschner - Our next speaker is James Murray and he will be discussing the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project of Wayne County, Michigan.
James E. Murray
Director, Wayne County Dept. of Environment
Kathy Bero, you had asked earlier about the gorilla in the closet and I think that's an important concept. Do you have a driver's license?
Kathy Bero - Yes.
James Murray - Why?
Kathy Bero - So I'm mobile.
James Murray - You could drive a car without a license in your pocket couldn't you?
Kathy Bero - I suppose I could.
James Murray - So why do you have one?
Kathy Bero - So I don't get arrested and thrown in jail.
James Murray - Aha, the gorilla in the closet. I think we've been saying the same thing over and over and I think we're getting some information that are tidbits on implementation, but the question was asked, and one of the things I think Jim Martin told us to try to relate: Why are we successful? And number one, Gail (Krantzberg), what is a successful RAP? I'm not sure I have the answer to that. What do you think it is?
Gail Krantzberg - I think there are many facets of what is a successful RAP. Having action, having commitment, having communication, having participation, implementation; there's many elements. It's not necessarily delisting an AOC that makes it a successful RAP.
Susan Gilbertson - When there's an environmental improvement, over time. Brett Kaull, how do you define what's a success in a RAP?
Brett Kaull - If everybody's in the room and they could put whatever hats they're wearing aside and work towards moving the ball forward. That's it. Frankly, I don't care to be friends at the end of the day. Get it done, do it for the resource. That's my view of success.
Kathleen, what's a successful RAP?
Kathy Bero - I would say a successful RAP is achieved when the resource is restored to the state that no longer poses a risk.
Brett Kaull - Alice, you're a Commissioner, the Commission called for the RAP process.
Alice Chamberlin - I'm happy to report with all sincerity that it is not completion of Stage 1, 2 and 3 in our view; it's important that everyone here know that. Well, as I said in my opening comments, it is remediation of the resource, that's certainly the goal of the Agreement, but the more important thing I think, is to be able to measure incrementally the different goals that the community's place-based planners have set for themselves.
James Murray - I think we're hearing universally that the resource is important and I think everybody says we need to work together. Our evolution has been command and control. You have to have a driver's license and if you don't, we're going to scare the hell out of you to make you think you have to have one. And so everybody thinks they have to have one, and they get one, and they take care of that part. Doesn't mean they obey the traffic laws, but they do get a license. I think the part that's happening now is we're making this giant shift, we're right in the middle of it. Some people, my science friends, call it "paradigm shift," that you just can't command it down -- that's what we've been doing, and we just can't continue. We've got to work together, as much of a struggle as that is. People always have their own agendas, that's good. I mean as a society your goals, hopefully, are the same as mine; the resource is important. You might have a different way of getting there on your menu of things to do. But it's the resource that's important. My religious friends call it epiphany, when you've got a paradigm shift, in their language they call it epiphany. The great American philosopher Yogi Berra said, "When you get to a fork in the road, take it." I think that's what we have here now. Welcome to that fork in the road and it's time to take it.
Greg Hill - Now there's a good guru.
James Murray - And we're struggling with: How do we take that? And I think we're all saying we take that by working collaboratively. But we still need that gorilla in the closet, or that threat. There's one delisted now. But there were 43 Areas of Concern. And I think, from what I heard Ava say, she's not here right now, the goal would be that we would get every watershed to be an Area of Concern to its residents; that should be the goal. Not that we've taken 43 little spots on the map and said these are AOCs. Shouldn't all watersheds be AOCs? Shouldn't the world we live in be our AOC? I thought that was a dramatic statement that Ava said that we started with maybe $5,000, she's up to a million and everybody wants to be an AOC. They want a watershed plan, that's in our fabric, that's in us, in our population, it's a good part of us.
How do we build on that and how do we continue that success in the misery of every day while trying to figure out what we're going to feed ourselves, send our kids to schools and get medical services? It is going to happen some way but it's a struggle and the people of the Great Lakes, the 37 or 38 million have been leading the world. I mean, we're the birthplace of the modern industrial complex, we're the arsenal of democracy during World War II, we created a standard of living that everybody in the globe emulated, everybody. I mean we brought health care facilities, housing and education to common people that had never been realized any place else in the world except for the most wealthy and the most privileged. You are able to participate in government, to an extent your forefathers and mothers never did. As a result of that kind of, go at it, let's go do it, that's what we've attracted into this basin, and now we're reaping some of the, not only the benefits from that, in you and in your children and in those that look to us, but some of the how we're going to get to the residual kinds of problems we didn't quite previously understand.
I hope we don't think the RAP becomes something that's more important than the resource, or a job becomes more important than the resource. That's an important part of your personal life, but it's not important to the RAP, it's not important to the Great Lakes. We're going to move in and out of what we're doing here, other people are going to come in, and that's what's going to make this whole system work is that it's got to be able to be carried on by others. Not just you, not Brett Kaull, not Ava Hottman, not Alice Chamberlin, that other people can come in and do it. Just like we do in the regulating community, just like we do in business, that it's going to survive because it's the way business should be done.
The Rouge is an urban project. It's the only mass urban project that we know is going on. And we're starting with the supposition as you're looking at the Areas of Concern, some polluted with PCBs some of them with other kinds of things. We looked at the whole watershed, and the goal is: swimmable, fishable, that's what the federal law says. You know these are all the constituent parts and we're finding in wet weather or even in dry weather, we've got persistent problems that lock us away from that use. So I'm not sure in Green Bay if they have "swimmable, fishable." They have contaminated sediments, but is it in a condition that is safe or swimmable/fishable, and if it is not what are you going to do to deal with that? We're dealing with one part of it, on sediments, what are the other residual parts of the problem.
So we're focusing not on the "rural" part but the urban part and implementation is what we're getting into now. We've already done the Stage 1 and Stage 2 and we're getting into the implementation, and as we're going we're trying to learn from that. It's a watershed protection program, it's the whole watershed, it's not just on sediments it's not just on contaminated sites, it's not just on combined sewer overflows or nonpoint sources. It's multiple sources of pollution, it's multi-media and it's to restore the resource to meet that swimmable/fishable goal.
(Slides) This is where Henry Ford developed the Ford Rouge complex. It was the first modern industrial plant in the United States. They could build a complete car at this site, and they built complete tanks at this site and other sites based around Wayne County during World War II. This part of the Rouge River was put into cement by the Army Corps of Engineers, and that was the way they handled flood control projects. I don't think now that we would want to do that. But this is the part that when most people think about the Rouge River, this is what they think about. This heavy industrialized section goes for about six miles up to where Henry Ford's house was on the river.
Upstream of that six miles for 127 miles on four branches is where the rest of the Rouge is, through the backyards of 1.5 million people. It's one of the heaviest developed watersheds in the nation, but at 438 square miles, it's not a big watershed comparatively. It's in parts of three counties, primarily Wayne County, about a third of Wayne County, a little bit of Oakland County and a smidgen of Washtenaw County to the far left. Forty-eight municipal units of government that have never worked before on this kind of an effort, 1.5 million people. Again, the Great Lakes are great, and I think the important part of when you took people out to see that dredging, maybe some of them thought about the loss of the soil, I think they knew that, they'd been taught that since the 1930s when we had the dust bowl. I think the guilt they feel about when you see it actually being taken out of the resource, and I don't know if you feel that way Bob, but I think that tears at people when they hear that.
We have this thing my mom calls SARA, it's when you don't want to accept something you deny it, until finally you have to deal with it, like cancer...it's mainly used in the medical society. SARA, "S" is surprise, I mean my mom has emphysema, she smoked all her life. She knew what she was doing, she knew what it was doing to her body, but when she finally had emphysema it was "Oh, I can't believe I have it!" and everybody knew she had shortness of breath, she hacked and coughed, and I think our environment has been showing these stresses but we've been kind of denying what's going on. And the second thing is anger, "How did it get this bad?". "Oh my God I can't believe I've got human waste in the backyard!" I mean that's what people said on the Rouge. We've had combined sewers for 55 years, 80 years, "I can't believe we've got waste in the river, going through peoples yards." We just deny it, we're great at denying some things. And then the "R" and the "A", the first thing you want to do, because it seems so big and so overwhelming, is you reject it, "Oh my God I don't have this!" "That can't be happening." "That river is hidden away." Mark Mitchell can tell you that most of the people in Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties -- with the University of Michigan, we pride ourselves on some of the best educated people in the country -- said, "I didn't know the river was in our backyard, that it went through my community." We hid it, you could be within 50 feet of it going down the street and you wouldn't even see the river back there because we kept it hidden.
And then the "A" in SARA is acceptance, "Yeah, it is that bad" "Yeah, the Great Lakes are that bad." That's what will keep people moving: the data. I was asking Ava Hottman earlier, "Why are they giving her a million dollars?" People are saying we haven't got anything. The fish advisories, I mean it's telling the story, the people don't want it, Brett Kaull said the same thing, it was the fish advisories. Not that you called a RAP. I mean the RAP kind of gelled things together. And on the Rouge, I mean we had Kotex and condoms stuck on the vegetation, up and down it. And when we finally took the public down there and showed them it was this mass scam, they said, "I can't believe that 1990, or 1985 when we started, that this is this bad, this is just unacceptable."
So I think the other part of the paradigm is, that people do not want waste in their backyards. That's unacceptable. Whether it's PCB or, human waste, but that's what people will not stand for that and you've got to keep putting it in front of them. Whether it's a sign that says, "Polluted, Keep Out" as much as your Parks people are going to say, "We don't want that sign here." "Oh my God, we don't want it here, people won't come back." You heard the guy in Green Bay, "They won't come here, we don't want that kind of problem stuck out here for everybody to see." Make them see it, that's what the IJC did. Don't let them deny it anymore. And that's what you're doing right now.
The Rouge River basin is very highly urbanized, 50 percent is highly urbanized, 25 percent is undeveloped land. We've done a study in our area, our population in the next 20 years is going to grow about 6 percent. About 40 percent of the undeveloped land is going to be taken up by the 6 percent increase in population just because of the urban sprawl. We have extensive public access on this river, 50 miles of river in our backyard. It's one of the state's most accessible resources. I grew up in a low-income area. I played in the river when I was a kid. Maybe that explains some of my problems. And other people are playing, if you go down there, the paths are well worn, the evidence of campfires and people and kids playing down there are all over. You just can't deny it. There's a place in Southfield where they have a fishing derby every year. They don't tell anybody there's combined sewers upstream of that. We have a multiple level of resources, what we're getting people to do is: this is your neighborhood, they want to pay attention to it, they're demanding their citizens pay attention to it. Right now in the RAP that we finished in 1988, we are identifying combined sewers as the number one source of problems that had to be dealt with first. The estimated cost was $780 million. We had all the units of government that had CSOs, 13 of them in the watershed, sign NPDES permits to have those completely remediated by the year 2005. And that was with no promise that there was going to be federal funding, because their citizens said, "This is just unacceptable." We were able to work with Congress, and it was very helpful to us. We've been able to get $300 million in federal assistance and a small part of that, you heard Mark Mitchell say $400,000 for this education program over the next five years. Four hundred thousand dollars on a billion dollar program to educate the public while you're doing this is 50 cents for every thousand dollars you're spending.
I mean when you deal with your elected folks and you have to deal with the public hysteria of locating whether you're going to do an incinerator or whether you're going to do a landfill or where you're going to put this. "Not in my backyard." We were able to locate four landfills in Wayne County, in Wayne County the most populated county in Michigan, the seventh most populated county in the United States with host community agreement. But we had to include those local citizens and there had to be some benefits that they could derive from it. So those things can happen and I think that's part of the paradigm, you've got to include them, you've got to involve them in those decisions. And we have to understand that the shift from the urban core into these greenfields has created a change in the watershed that's not retrievable and it also has an affect in the old urban area that is foregoing that resource. We're dealing with this, the citizens are finally talking about that in those terms. The combined sewer project is 30 percent of the basin, there's 169 different overflows on that system. In Birmingham, which is one of those areas Mark Mitchell was talking about, the average household income is $150,000 a year, down in the far southern end the average household income there is $16,000 a year and these people and their elected folks have still signed permits that says we're going to build control. The rates are going up and yeah, there's a lot of controversy. But when you come right back down to it, is waste acceptable in the river? No, we've got to do it. That's what you're getting, and no one has been kicked out of office for that reason.
Our concern now is, if we spend a billion dollars on the Rouge in that part that was shaded, we won't have one minute's increased usability of the river because of nonpoint sources or polluted storm water runoff, and how do you put those two things together? In every place we go, dealing with the elected folks and with the citizens, they all say it's unacceptable for us to be polluted. "I don't want to pay for my neighbor's problem, but I'm surely willing to pay for mine." If you got the farmers to agree that this is their part of the problem, I mean that's a monumental step. That's part of the data we have to give them. And it has to seem convincing and it has to seem fair, otherwise citizens aren't going to buy into it. But everything we saw is they're willing to pay for their part of the problem. But they don't want to pay for somebody else's, they don't want somebody else to get off the hook. The CSO areas are telling us the same thing, "You're making us pay a billion dollars and we're willing to do it, but you have to go to those other communities with storm water problems and make sure that they do what needs to be done to address this problem because they are a big part of it.
Kathy Bero - Let's be very clear. That pollution that's coming in at nonpoint source is from where?
James Murray - Is from stormwater runoff.
Kathy Bero - What's the contaminant?
James Murray - It's grease and oil and fertilizers and pesticides and bacteria.
Kathy Bero - So, when you make a statement that for a billion dollars spent they will not gain one minute's use of the resource, you're talking about the bacteria?
James Murray - That's right. Under the current standards though, that's the current standard and the current law says that's what you have to be. And the debate is going to be; in wet weather that's when we have the problem, when it's raining we get those kinds of contributions. Now, we've had some sporadic problems in dry weather which means we've got illicit connections some place, but in wet weather you will get animal-derived fecal coliform bacteria that will spike it up there and health officials will uniformly say, "Well we're not going to say that that's safe, we don't think it's as problematic as human, the pathogens probably aren't as dangerous to humans as the human bacteria is or the human pathogens," but they're still not going to say it's safe. In wet weather we're not expecting people are likely going to use the resource when it's raining anyway, for swimming. But that's what the current law says you have to get it to right now anyway. And part of the debate right now is: What is the standard and can you convince the public that some other standard is appropriate? Or, if it isn't appropriate, is fishing and canoeing acceptable? And you're not really going to encourage anybody to use this resource for swimming. But that should be a public debate, and right now the way the law is set up, well the debate is swimmable/fishable. Now they're saying you can do these others, but they've made it so hard to get into those others and we have so little experience with it that it's going to be a debate that's going to be hard to get into and the regulatory agencies, of which I can be a part of sometimes in and am, can be as alarming as other folks have been in this whole debate.
Susan Gilbertson - Jim, what you're essentially saying is that a use designation analysis, which downgrades it from fishable/swimmable to whatever.
James Murray - What's the standard for whatever? There is no standard for whatever.
Susan Gilbertson - Doesn't Michigan have standards for industrial usage?
James Murray - They have no different standard for industrial usage because no one's ever used it and you're going to get the same standard that body contact is not going to be acceptable. And how you get to say what is an acceptable fecal coliform level, if you've got one thousand is it one thousand for partial body contact, is it ten thousand? We're finding in areas that I could absolutely feel very comfortable with, that we know there are no illicit connections, but we're going to have 20-25 thousand fecal coliform in wet weather.
Susan Gilbertson - I agree, the state would have to go through a standard set of processes and determine...
James Murray - But they haven't in our state.
Susan Gilbertson - Yeah, and it also, as you have pointed out, I think you are one of the few people that I have ever heard so clearly articulate that argument or that dilemma, and so honestly! Which is we're not meeting fishable/swimmable, that's what we want and if we're not getting it, what does it mean? That's a debate that you don't hear.
James Murray - Well, and that's what we need to get the public to debate about and we need to have the regulatory community there. When we started this we brought in the U.S. EPA and Michigan (MI) DNR, now Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the first reaction from DNR (DEQ) was, "Gee, we've never done this before, we don't really want to do this" and U.S. EPA was, "We're from in Chicago, we've never done this before either and we don't really want to do this" and you're talking about multi-media, you're talking about contaminated sites, you're talking about air, you're talking about these other kinds of constituents, we have to talk to our other agencies or our other divisions in our agency, and we've never done that before.
Gail Krantzberg - Are you saying that within the context of drafts in Michigan, there is a legislative level of cleanup that it must be fishable/swimmable?
James Murray - It's in the rules, our rules.
Gail Krantzberg - So the goals set an exercise that citizens groups deal with, which may be that we're happy with fishable/canoeable, we're happy with that, that doesn't apply.
James Murray - We've never done that. We can go through that exercise, but we never have and that's what we're trying to do right now. Our state folks and I think U.S. EPA from a different perch are trembling because they've never done it before either. In past practice, and in some of our other things that are institutionally easy, I mean institutional ease is a great reason why you don't want to give up some of these past practices. Command and control, as much as you want to argue about it, did a great deal for us, but we're into those small pieces of incremental improvement that are so widespread that command and control doesn't work on them, like the farmers, but the gorilla in the closet shouldn't be let go either.
Susan Gilbertson - The Holy Grail has been in the U.S. fishable/swimmable, thou shalt by year such and such, and maybe we need a Holy Grail that isn't a Cadillac, I would settle for a used Taurus.
James Murray - Well, I think part of the IJC's role here is, as we call for the protection of the Great Lakes and these AOCs, how do we focus our resources? I think having 42 AOCs has driven U.S. EPA and some states to distraction. How do you promote this same kind of activity in all AOCs, or do you direct it, and then you get the frustrations from some that don't get as much attention. "You're not paying any attention to us, we're not getting our job done, our resource is as important to us as it is to you and others, we need some help." And I'm not sure what the balance is, I mean there's only so many resources.
Bruce Kirschner - Our next speaker John Beeker is the Director of Environmental Planning for the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.
Director, Environmental Planning
Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
I wasn't quite sure what we were going to try to accomplish, I had some ideas that I thought would be important, some of the discussion and some of the challenges that we've heard over the last couple of days and tried to respond. I would like to introduce three architects of the coordinating committee process in the Cuyahoga River, Ava Hottman, who was with us in the beginning, and Ginny Aveni, and Mary Beth Binns wasn't with us from the beginning but she certainly has become closely identified with the process, and she's been with us for five years now so we really have come a long way. I would like to say this though, I think that one of the goals of this program may be a bit naive. I was at a conference last week, a folk music conference and taking some banjo lessons with a master banjoist, and he played traditional style of music in which he produced these incredibly rippling sounds, and his comment to us, the students was, "You can learn this, but I can't teach you." And I think there's a similar moral here, a lot of the experiences we can learn but they can't really be taught; they aren't that transferable. Nonetheless, I think there are some experiences we can relate to.
I guess another point I want to make is that I'm not going to talk to you about the geography of the river or issues of pollution in terms of technical issues, I'm going to really be talking about process and organizational structure, I think those are as important as the presenting problems on the ground. In fact if you look at the Cuyahoga River in terms of what its primary issues are, you'd say they run a gamut of urban industrial and nonpoint source pollution. We've solved many of the point source issues, but we have at least a two billion dollar program or need ahead of us. And I think another equally critical topic is the organizational problem that we face. Two problems, we have fragmented responsibilities across a gamut of management agencies, we also have what I would call institutional particularism, which is within a particular agency there is often a focus on a very narrow problem, a technical problem or an organizational problem. And so the challenge organizationally, at least sort of mid-career with the RAP process in Northeastern Ohio, has been trying to find ways of overcoming these sort of institutional problems.
I'm giving you a kind of standard organizational chart here because I wanted you to see how we see ourselves organizationally. I'm going to talk about two structures really, the coordinating committee, which was the body appointed by Ohio EPA, it's 33 or 34 people, it is a body that has been empowered to actually do the planning. Ohio EPA, as Ava Hottman mentioned, backed off very early and basically conferred the responsibility to do the remedial action planning on this community group, and we've taken that opportunity to heart. Who are the elements within the process? Well sort of your traditional or standard stakeholder components of business and commercial interests, environmental community organizations, local public agencies, state and federal agencies, these in fact all sit at the table as peers. Obviously there are different levels of participation, but we've had a remarkably stable coordinating process for the eight years that we've been in the process. I would say there's probably been a turnover of not more than 25% of the membership. And all the major local and regional management agencies sit at the table, many of the significant industrial interests also sit at the table, we have the very interesting benefit of having very sophisticated mature environmental leaders involved in our program, by that I mean they have some patience, they have the ability to listen, and to work with the frustrations of public agency life.
Another sort of starting point I wanted to address, I think what we have learned, I should say I'm speaking for myself and I'm hoping the other Cuyahoga folks can challenge me if they disagree. I think we're leaning toward a different kind of concept of what Stage 2 is, it's not really essentially the development of a comprehensive plan, but it's really working toward a planning agenda and managing that agenda and trying to build both the institutional capacity to implement it with innovation but also to build public support through sustained public involvement. I've identified what I think are some of the elements of a Stage 2 planning model, it's a managed planning agenda focusing on sub-watershed areas as a way of building constituencies for the river because we have such a large complex set of problems. It's complementing ongoing water quality management, regulatory activities and implementation by the state agencies, by the regional sewer district agencies, boards of health and so forth. And it's building the capacity of local agencies and other management agencies to take, what I consider to be, a true ecosystem approach where you overcome your institutional particularism and try to be problem oriented across a range of environmental issues, I'll give you some examples in a minute. And it's really a political process, building a public constituency that will provide the support you need in order to fund the mega-dollar problems. And it's building, being versatile if you will in terms of building partnerships, and I'll point to some of those in a minute.
The coordinating committee faced a problem early on and we were fortunate in having a good idea that has met the test of time. We basically have about a dozen agencies who are contributing some staff, my own agency has provided about a person-year equivalent over the long haul, other agencies have provided up to a person-year equivalent. Primarily there was no individual who could focus specifically on the RAP process and so we probably needed to have a core staff who would be really empowered by the whole group, so we formed a non- profit organization to accomplish that, to have full time staff committed to the process, that they in a sense would be neutral staff, they wouldn't be beholden to any of the stakeholder groups. We wanted a professional staff, we also thought that with that sort of core element we could leverage sort of non-traditional financial sources and we could do some work that would be beyond the scope of say a regional planning agency, in terms of public outreach and a research agenda. So in 1989 the steering committee convened, these were essentially 10 of the 33 people representing the stakeholder group, convened and decided to form a 501C3 under Ohio law. The board of directors today includes about, it's about one-third local public agencies, one-third environmental organizations and one-third private sector interests. The state agency was an original board of directors member but in the course of time it was felt to be a true community planning organization that we needed to distance ourselves a little bit, or they felt they needed to and so they are now ex-officio members of our board of directors. The mission of the agency has evolved over time, planning coordination, public involvement, we are now evolving into some real hands-on public outreach projects. A major program that we're hoping to start this fall is what we're calling an urban stewardship program, which will have both a planning and a public involvement component. It is going to be focused on one major subregional watershed this year and we hope then to evolve that into the future.
We also support what I consider the significant technical research which would not have been done otherwise, fish tissue analysis, we did a benefits assessment study, a public opinion survey, we participated in bacteria studies, so we've really developed both a technical coordination of planning and public involvement program. Financial sources, the last time I counted we have received funding from about 15 major sources, including five local foundations. I would say our main support over the years has come from the Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation, but we have support from other foundations, some of our members have anted for some civic projects, we also assess ourselves every year, and that represents about 10% of our budget. Our program includes a core staff which historically has been at about a $70,000 budget with another $30,000-$50,000 in special project activities. Our staff right now includes two planners, Mary Beth Binns and we hired a junior planner last year. We also have a part-time, I use that word a little bit loosely, we have a person who is paid part-time for what is in effect a full-time job, our public involvement coordinator. We also have just hired two consultants, a technical writer and a marketing specialist who's going to help us position ourselves in terms of the watershed program we're working on. One of the interesting challenges that the board of directors faced over the last couple of years, particularly last year, is to try to figure out what our role is. We're not the coordinating committee and yet we are in a sense the engine for the work of the coordinating committee and the RAP program, and in effect we've evolved a whole series of roles and we're still trying to figure out what the boundaries of these roles are. I hope I'll have enough time to give you some examples of these. We see the RAP really as a forum for the stakeholder to come together, we meet about five, six times a year as a large group. We see the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization (CRCPO) as a staff to that, it is also a catalyst both financially and technically. And in regard to the planning perspective for new partnerships it takes a lead planning organizational role in some areas. It's funded some studies, we're trying to demonstrate new models of cooperation, I'll illustrate that in a minute. We also see the RAP really as an embryo of a whole host of activities that may or may not be part of the RAP community process itself. That role really is to be sort of a broker between organizations that have to carry out the programs. The staff also prepares some significant reports, so it's not all working as a broker or catalyst.
Let me identify a couple of different sort of programs, I think it'll illustrate the different approaches that we've taken. One of the projects is an environmental education project, we call it the environmental vignettes, it involved the production of eight, four minute spots that were produced in partnership with public TV. The partners included local foundations, Ohio EPA, a soil and water conservation district and other agencies. In addition to that we tested a curriculum and provided some training and educational opportunities for local schools. Students in the urban schools generally tend to be underserved by these kinds of programs. The CRCPO's role was as a fiscal and planning lead, and was able to leverage out of a $30,000 grant about a $100,000 program. That was through a match by public TV and some of the other partners.
Another program we're very proud of is the fish tissue study, this turned out to be a major technical breakthrough. We like to take some credit for the priority that the State of Ohio now gives to fish tissue as a concern. We funded a $200,000 study providing resources, some of which came from the state but significant ones came from local agencies. The basis for that study that was a fish advisory for the Cuyahoga River which we felt needed to be addressed, the CRCPO role was both a funder and a technical participant.
Another program which has kind of mushroomed is the storm drain stenciling project, you're probably familiar with this, but this involved developing partnerships with some of the big urban centers and Friends of the Crooked River, which is a non-profit advocacy group, and the role here was to provide the local staff to organize basically neighborhood-oriented projects and to try to build some capacity for this and essentially export the program throughout the community. I'll give you some idea of where we're headed, we were a catalyst in terms of a major breakthrough in terms of public access in the Cuyahoga River. We have a Metro Parks System which basically provides wonderful open space on the periphery of the urban core, the river runs right through the center of the urban core, through a committee that was organized through the RAP process. Potential partners came to the table, the Metro Parks ultimately decided to develop a metro park right on the main stem of the Cuyahoga River with some very innovative kinds of partnerships. The CRCPO is not the sole participant, there are a lot of other organizations working toward a common goal. But I think the concept that we were able to promote was this notion of a need for river access and identifying the management agencies and their partners, including some large businesses that would have to come to the table.
We have a navigation channels study, this is a hard-core water quality assessment study or I should say a hard-core cost/benefit study which is going to relate to the special standard which has been set for the lower six miles of the Cuyahoga River. Because it's a navigation channel we have some particular pollution problems, we're expecting to have a study underway within a month or so to determine whether reaeration of that channel would ameliorate some of the pollution problems. I won't talk about habitat restoration, although it deserves some discussion. We have a project that we hope gets launched this fall funded by the Great Lakes National Program Office to do a demonstration of both institutional and technical demonstration of habitat restoration in the riparian core. We're very proud of that because we think that part of the problem is an institutional problem not just a technical problem.
I'll wrap up by identifying some strategies, summarizing some strategies that I think are sort of central to our program and what I consider to be some issues. Again, we see Stage 2 as an agenda setting and managing the agenda, it is one of our strategies building local partnerships to fit the case, maintaining a core neutral staff, we've come to a point where we think that sub-watershed is really the proper scale to try to build constituencies for river cleanup. I think in operating principles, there's never enough public involvement, we're constantly trying to innovate there. I think an interesting sort of strategy, not everybody shares this with me, is our Stage 1 report identified what I think should be the priorities for the ongoing Stage 2 process, and I think from time to time we have to use that as the whip and chair to keep the process focused, and also it sets an agenda for pressing on and continuing to do environmental assessment. I think another strategy is to link what we're doing to community development processes and agendas across the community. Another strategy which is implicit, I really put this down because I know Bob Tolpa is going to follow me here, is to keep the federal agencies at arm's length.
Frankly, I think our activity has been strengthened because it is a local process and the federal government has provided some financial support, but I would say 90% of the program is more locally. Issues, these maybe are something we can talk about in our closing session. Who gets credit for the programs that we're doing? Is it the RAP? Is it somebody else? This whole question about image. Another issue that we're facing is community-based planning is a collaboration. Is it or is it not environmental advocacy? It depends on who you are and where you sit as to how you answer that question. That's a tension that we have within our group. Another tension that we have is how to relate to specific land use proposals that we know are going to damage the ecosystem and yet on the other hand we need to maintain a planning posture, not an advocacy posture. We're confronting liability questions in terms of if we're going to be sponsoring community outreach field projects, what happens if somebody gets hurt? For a small organization like us that's a major concern. What are the terms of engagement with the ongoing water quality management activities? Major CSO work is underway, how do we relate to that? What are the terms of those relationships? The water quality standard setting issue, who's in charge of that? And I've got another challenge, it's a management challenge, how to keep the core staff focused with all these tugs and pulls.
Let me just sum up by saying the obvious resources that you need to continue the process are, you have to have a core group. One that stays the course, leadership, we've been blessed here, we have two excellent chairmen who really are knowledgeable, committed, and neutral. I think you have to have a diverse funding support base, you have to be willing to ask a broad array of organizations for support. Your staff needs to be professionally and technically competent in order to be credible. You have to have some successes, because this is a long process. You have to be able to, I think, be adaptable. Public and political support is tough to maintain given the competing problems and you have to build a foundation of trust among the participants. And I would argue that we've had a good success in these, but I think these are what we're all here for. How you adapt these to the different AOCs, I think is the $64,000 question.
Bruce Kirschner - Bob Tolpa, the Chief of U.S. EPA, Region V's Office of Special Activities will be speaking about his activities related to their Common Sense Initiative.
Chief, Office of Special Activities
Region V Water Division, U.S. EPA
I have been involved with northwest Indiana since 1988 and I'm the chief of the Office of Special Activities within the Water Division within Region V in Chicago. And right now I probably have the very best job in the federal government, all kidding aside, it's a wonderful position. I have geographic initiatives in northwest Indiana and southeast Michigan, my staff works with Mr. Murray on Rouge River National Weather Demonstrations Project, and we're also staff lead for a national endeavor with the iron and steel industry across the United States called the Common Sense Initiative involving six sectors.
Today I'm going to talk to you about partnerships and this was a partnership that we carried out in northwest Indiana. It's interesting as I listen to John Beeker talk about what's happening on the Cuyahoga River, northwest Indiana has started to evolve to where you're at. It didn't start out that way, but let me tell you what I do. We do geographic initiatives, and from our point of view, geographic initiatives involve a coordinated and focused application of every applicable U.S. EPA and state environmental program on a specifically delineated area. This is how we went into northwest Indiana, roughly in 1988, it's an interesting area for those of you who aren't familiar with it. It's on the very northwest corner of northwest Indiana, it's got a population of about 300,000 people. It's also home to approximately 40% of the iron and steel industry in the United States, it also has the largest inland refinery in the country and it's very industrial. And what we did in 1990 was agree unilaterally, as U.S. EPA, as a federal regulatory agency, to target this area. Some of you in this room were responsible for this. After the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1987 and revising the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1987, there were a series of field hearings by Senators Glenn, Levin, and Kohl and northwest Indiana was always targeted as one of U.S. EPA's big failings, we hadn't done enough there. So we said, "They're right, we've got to do something," so we walked in and we put together this geographic initiative. And at that time the State of Indiana wasn't onboard. So we basically laid out every U.S. EPA program. And then we wrote an action plan, unilaterally, that set about to protect Lake Michigan's nearshore and open waters, provide an important level of protection for this area that they hadn't had in the past. Also, we sought to improve the way that the federal and state governments did their environmental protection business. What we wanted to do was break the cycle of the municipalities and industries in the area being in and out of compliance.
Some of our biggest cases in the history of U.S. EPA had been in this area, but after a few years, these same companies would fall out of compliance. U.S. Steel Gary Works, we sued them in '72, in '77, and again in '88. Originally, we just targeted the AOC. Now, the area's been expanded roughly to cover all of the State of Indiana's lakeshore, it's about 45 miles. Our action plan has seven elements, we cover air quality, compliance and enforcement, land and groundwater remediation, pollution prevention, the RAPs and the Lakewide Management Plan and sediments. We used to have, in a previous draft, we used to have a separate element for public outreach and education. Now, the State of Indiana and U.S. EPA have agreed that that should be infused in each and every one of these elements. It can't be a stand-alone element, it has to be a vital part of every element. We had a huge problem with sediments, the Corps of Engineers estimates that we have in this river system over five million cubic yards of grossly contaminated material. In some places the sediments are 20-30% oil and grease, approximately 150,000 cubic yards migrate out into Lake Michigan every year, carrying about 70,000 pounds chromium, about 100,000 pounds of lead, 400 pounds of PCBs. Also, you just get this enormous base loading. Roughly, a billion gallons of processed waste water flows out of here a day. So we worked with the Corps of Engineers, we worked with enforcement to bring about sediment remediation, and these were some of our bigger settlements. We negotiated a settlement decree with U.S. Steel in 1990 for $34 million, the Gary Sanitary District for $24 million, LTV Steel, for $6 million, Federated Metals and Inland Steel in '93 for $55 million. The thing that we pioneered in this area which we're very proud of is that U.S. EPA and the states now have a program called Supplemental Environmental Projects where you take fines and penalties and rather than sticking them into the federal treasury of the United States, the money stays in the hands of the defendants, but they are required to use the money to clean up. There is no way that we could ever have garnered these kinds of funds from Congress for clean up in the area. But it's part of our settlement agreements. U.S. Steel sent a check for $1.2 million dollars to the federal government. The Department of Justice required that the rest of the money stayed there for clean up. Inland Steel sent $3.2 million, the Department of Justice required that $21 million will be spent on sediment remediation. The Corps of Engineers will soon release an environmental impact statement for dredging about 4.7 million cubic yards of contaminated sediments from this area and we've used a host of regulatory tools to develop a confined disposal facility in conjunction with the Corps of Engineers. U.S. Steel Gary Works will pull out about a half a million cubic yards of sediment. We're going to court in February with the Hammond Sanitary District and as a condition of settlement, if we win the case, there will be further sediment remediation. We will have handled better than half of the estimated total of contaminated sediments in the area.
The topic that I want to address today though is one of the things that I'm probably the most proud of and that was the voluntary agreement that we had to deal with the northwest Indiana's problem of petroleum distillate floating on top of the groundwater. The area has been the home of heavy industry for many many years, since around the turn of the century. If you look at this map you'll see some of the steel companies, Bethlehem Steel, United States Steel Gary Works, Inland Steel, LTV Steel, and Federated Metals. With that you also had a large proportion of petroleum-based industries in the area. You have a lot of bulk storage, you have Amoco's largest inland refining facility, Mobil used to have facilities there, Phillips. The area is underlain with an estimated 30 to 50 million gallons of petroleum distillate floating on top of the water table. This area is all sand and in times of wet weather, the water table rises and the hydrocarbons come up and flow over the land or will seep out of the soil. And, in fact, at one time we became so jaded that, for those of you who remember the Beverly Hillbillies, we stood on these sites and started singing their theme song because you can see the crude bubbling out of the ground. We put together a floating oil workgroup where we tried to figure out how to deal with this problem. In 1991 we had a 100,000 gallon release that U.S. EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted before it got to Lake Michigan. The water body we are dealing with is the Indiana Harbour ship canal, it's a manmade body of water in northwest Indiana, and it's surrounded by industry. It's probably not unlike the Cuyahoga, it's very much like the Rouge River, we have a lot of oil there, and we as U.S. EPA with the State of Indiana, tried to figure out a way of getting at this oil. And our emergency responders from the Superfund program suggested putting booms parallel to all these properties. In 1991, we met with 22 different companies who either ship oil, store oil, or produce petroleum products and we said, "We'd like your help." They looked at us with a blank stare, walked away and never did anything. So from '91 until about '93, we were scratching our heads. We were trying to think of every available federal or state authority to deal with that problem. In the meantime the oil kept coming up, it still does. You see a sheen on water all the time. We had talked about booming the canal, but we said if we boom the canal then that amounts to an enforcement action, because who will maintain that? We went round and round and round trying to figure out what to do. And from this point, you're only a mile away from Lake Michigan and you're only about a mile and a half away from the water intakes of about 300,000 people.
So as we tried to deal with the problem, we kicked around ideas of if we install booms, under what authority do we do it? Can we do it under Superfund? Can we do it under the RCRA? Can we do it under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA '90)? If not Superfund, then what do we use? And if we install the booms could we compel the property owners to maintain and dispose of the booms properly? We spent literally about six months, our Office of Regional Counsel, our Office of General Counsel in Washington came back and said, "If you put the booms in, it is an enforcement action, you will have to have some compelling reason." Once we were going through this, the same emergency responders who had suggested the booms said, "What about just talking to the people," and it kind of all stopped us in our tracks; geez, we hadn't thought of that. I know that sounds simplistic but we are first and foremost a regulatory agency and we had never thought of simply talking to these people. And they said, "You know we're going out to these sites and we're inspecting them; they're pretty nice to us." So we sat around trying to figure out how do we talk to them. If we go out and talk to them, either the State of Indiana or the U.S. EPA, will they listen to us? And we all agreed internally that we didn't know how to do it. Those of us that were involved in the process weren't skilled in environmental negotiation.
So we brought in a company called Clean Sites, who does an alternative dispute resolution. For those of you familiar with the Superfund process, when you have a Superfund site that has multiple potentially responsible parties, or people who may have put the waste there, they will often call in alternative dispute resolution consultants to negotiate among all the parties and come up with settlements, rather than litigating. So we called this company in and they agreed to do it. And they went out and met with all the people along this waterway. And because of the enforcement in this area, they didn't trust us, which was not surprising. It took our consultant, our contractor about two months just to get the companies along this waterway to sit down at a meeting with us. And then even after the first meeting what they would do is listen to our pitch to them, that indeed we wanted them to take proactive steps, that we didn't necessarily want to have to enforce regulations. We thought that they could do the task cheaper and quicker and better than us. And after talking to them for about an hour, they asked us to leave and wait in a separate room and they talked. And then they came back and said, "Well we've agreed to meet with you again." This went on for several months, finally they agreed to do something, they weren't sure what, but they agreed to do something with us.
And after about a year of negotiations we came up with a memorandum of cooperation to address the floating oil problem. The property owners, on their own, would assess the flow of groundwater under their property, to see if it was going towards the waterway. They would see if there was floating oil present in the groundwater. If there was no product, or if the groundwater wasn't moving towards the waterway after one year of monitoring they were free to leave the agreement. If there was product in the groundwater and if this floating oil was moving towards the waterway, they would install either a barrier system or a barrier and collection system. It took us, the whole process from start to finish, about two years. About four months before the signing, the State of Indiana said, "We have new oil laws now, we could enforce it against these people." Indiana, for a long time, had felt sort of weak, because they didn't have strong laws, they didn't have enough attorneys. And perhaps they wanted to flex their new legislative and administrative muscle. And we said, "We've been working on this for a year and a half, why do it now? Give them a chance. If it doesn't work you can always come back and do that later." No sooner did Indiana agree, than our Office of Regional Council said, "Bob, you're setting a dangerous precedent, we can't agree with this." They stopped the process cold. And our attorneys, I'm telling you a true story, they dug in their heels and they said, "No way. You're setting a dangerous precedent. You will make it difficult for us to litigate against these people." And U.S. EPA had a section of attorneys that wanted to implement the new OPA '90, and they were looking for cases. And you've got terrific targets out here. Amoco Oil came into the area in 1889, they cover approximately 1,600 acres and they have admitted publicly that they have roughly 17 million gallons of product underneath their facility. Now they've installed french drains, they have pump systems, they've been pumping since 1945, but we still wanted to go after these people under the OPA '90.
My question was why? The answer was, "We haven't done this type of enforcement yet." I'm sorry that's not a good enough reason. It wasn't until the Vice President for Environmental Affairs from Amoco Oil came in and met with the Regional Administrator and said, "Look we're not asking for a bye, we're not asking for immunity from prosecution, we're not asking for indemnification from past liability, we just want to try this." And there were a few word changes, there was some face saving on everyone's part and we finally executed the agreement.
Susan Gilbertson - We did not execute the attorneys, although that was an option.
Bob Tolpa - And we did sign it. Some of the things that have happened since then, there was a big storm, Amoco had crews out, vacuum trucks had crews on the water cleaning up materials that seeped out of East Chicago, Indiana, storm sewers, not from their property. I asked them, "Why were you doing this?" They said, "Well we like this concept, we want to give it a chance." It's been a year, we've got our current conditions report, we know where the materials are going. One of the things we agreed to was that they would not give us information. Don't tell us what you're doing, don't tell us what you've found, our goal will be when we don't see the sheen. If you give us information, we may have to act. If you don't tell us, we can't act. I mean we could compel, but then again what would be the point when people are taking action? So in about two months we will be having a meeting with these people and they will be presenting their first-year efforts of how well they're doing.
Virginia Aveni - I didn't quite get the point where they would not negotiate, they wouldn't agree to doing it, they were still on hold, basically the principle parties were still basically on hold, before your attorneys told you not to negotiate with them further. Was that what triggered their fear of an enforcement action and brought them in to talk to the administrator and agree to go ahead with it?
Bob Tolpa - No, I'm sorry, the sequence was, in 1991 we called the large group in and for about two years nothing happened, and we hadn't started this process yet. In '93 we started this process and for the first two months they wouldn't talk to us. Then they finally agreed to talk to us. Now, one of the things we told them, and one of the things they pointed out to us was that indeed we had taken enforcement actions nearby. But we said look, "We're giving you a chance here before we shine the bright light of enforcement on you. And we said you can do it better than us, we're not that good in oil remediation."
James Murray - What was the difference, you said you called them in in 1991 and nothing happened for two years and then someone said, "Why don't we talk to them." When you called them in in '91, what was the discussion, and how was it different in '93?
Bob Tolpa - My theory has been in northwest Indiana, and I don't, I repeat this, I don't suggest this for everywhere. But in this area I go back to the movie "The Untouchables" with Robert DeNiro where he was walking around the table with his lieutenants and he said, "My experience has been that a man with a smile and a gun gets more than a man with just a smile." In northwest Indiana in 1990, it was very much an outlaw area. They would not negotiate with the state, they would not negotiate with the federal government, they'd had meetings with the state where the principals from some of these companies would get up, fly to Indianapolis, demand a meeting with the governor and get it, because they did not feel that they had to comply. They had, one of the companies on this list put a five-mile yellow streak out into Lake Michigan and the U.S. Coast Guard told them to cease and desist, and they were less than responsive.
James Murray - So the difference between the first meeting in '91 and '93 was they were told that you're breaking the law, what are you going to do to fix it?
Bob Tolpa - No, we told them we're very serious, would you help us? And I think the fact that we had such a good history in this area of being true to our word helped change their minds.
Susan Gilbertson - The, true to the word part means, if you don't act, we will.
Bob Tolpa - We will do something.
James Murray - But in '91 they didn't believe you would. In '93 they thought you would?
Bob Tolpa - By '93 we had garnered over a hundred million dollars in fines and penalties.
James Murray - That was the difference?
Bob Tolpa - Yes.
Bruce Kirschner - Margy Peet, our next speaker, will be discussing intergovernmental agreements and how they can help you get your job done more effectively.
Water Quality Coordinator, Environmental Health Division
Monroe County Department of Health
The intergovernmental agreements I'm going to be talking about have been primarily between Monroe County and, I'll just explain that in the Rochester Embayment RAP, Monroe County is the group that is actually preparing the RAP under contract with New York state, which you might say is one of our first intergovernmental agreements between the state and Monroe County. I'm just going to take a few minutes to introduce you to the Rochester Embayment. Looking at the south shore of Lake Ontario, the dot kind of in the middle of the southern shore is the Rochester Embayment area. The Genesee River watershed which flows into the Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario is a very large watershed, 3,000 square miles of watershed that pretty much runs north to south, the whole width of New York state and also goes down into the State of Pennsylvania. There are eight counties in New York that are in the Genesee River watershed and one in Pennsylvania and the watershed that flows into the Rochester Embayment which is that little indentation in the Lake Ontario shoreline at the top of this map, it is a very large watershed. The Genesee River flows from south to north and goes through lots of villages and small cities and when it gets towards Lake Ontario it flows through the City of Rochester. There are 19 towns, one city and eight villages in Monroe County.
There are also several other towns, villages and cities in the rest of the Genesee River watershed, and that's one of the major points that I'd like to make here is that in New York state the local land use decisionmaking lies with each city, each village or each town. The county does not have any responsibilities for land use decisions, that's all done at the local level. I know it's a little bit different in Canada and it may be different in some other states as well, but that's where decisionmaking is made for land use issues. And a lot of the pollutant problems that we have are related to land use issues in the Rochester Embayment AOC. This is an old industrial part of the city that no longer has too many industrial uses. Another water feature in the Rochester Embayment area is Irondequoit Bay. Irondequoit Bay has had a lot of research, a lot of water quality studies since the 1970s, and we really feel that we've been conducting RAP efforts and implementation activities, literally since the 1800s in our AOC. And the Irondequoit Bay area is where we've done a lot in the last 20 years. This is where the Genesee River outfalls into Lake Ontario, there's also a beach area that's very popular and very much used in this area, we're looking south now and just to the west is a very popular beach area that is a county park. As I mentioned, Monroe County is preparing the RAP for the state of New York. We completed our Stage 1 RAP and as I mentioned our partnership with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is in a way one of our first intergovernmental agreements. Our Stage 1 RAP is done and we are now working on our Stage 2 RAP. While at the same time that we're preparing a Stage 2 RAP, we're also continuing to implement water quality programing that we started back in the '70s and programing that we've developed as we've been going through the Stage 1 RAP and the Stage 2 RAP processes.
Now I'm going to talk a little bit about the use impairments that we're hoping to address through the use of intergovernmental agreements. Algae is one of those, and eutrophication and undesirable algae in the Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario and in Irondequoit Bay is a very serious problem in our AOC. And the eutrophication and undesirable algae also contributes to several other use impairments that we have in our AOC. One of those use impairments is beach closings, like that beach that I showed you earlier. This beach gets closed for one of three reasons; one is Cladophora algae on the beach, this has been an increasing problem despite the fact that everybody's saying there's not enough phosphorous going into Lake Ontario these days, the beach has been closed literally for the last two-and-a- half weeks right now and it's not because we've had a whole lot of stormwater runoff, it's because we've got a lot of algae and the algae is harder than usual to take off of the beach. And the problem with the algae on the beach is that it attracts seagulls and the seagulls cause a fecal coliform problem. There may be more than just the seagulls, but we've got higher fecal coliform levels than we've seen in probably 20 years this year in the water. Another thing that sometimes causes the beach to close is turbidity, what you're seeing here is the Genesee River flowing into the Rochester Embayment, a very dramatic sedimentation problem.
The Genesee River watershed is a huge watershed, it's got very erosive soils. The Genesee River basin in many of it's areas is like a grand canyon, there's a very deep gorge that has a lot of sedimentation problems. So sedimentation is one of the things that when the winds come from the east also closes the beach because if you can't see people when they're drowning you can't save them. And the other reason for closing the beaches is high fecal coliform counts. Combined sewer overflows in the City of Rochester are no longer causing the fecal coliform problem because we've got a deep tunnel system for storage of combined sewage in the City of Rochester. But, as Jim Murray said earlier, solving the combined sewer overflow problem did not solve the other problems. We are still having beach closings because of fecal coliform and a lot of that is from stormwater runoff, some of it from the seagulls and the algae that I explained earlier. But we also still have some cross connections we suspect and some septic systems that are failing in the watershed as well. Another problem is degradation of aesthetics, this actually is Irondequoit Creek which flows into Irondequoit Bay, this particular problem was caused by a construction site that was not well taken care of and that gets us back to the land use issue and the towns and the villages and the cities who have the land use power.
We need to have intergovernmental agreements with these people because they're the ones who can make the real impact. So this muddy creek is an indication of our aesthetic problem and it can also be a habitat issue as well. Algae problems and sediment problems also lead to some of the use impairments of taste and odor problems of our drinking water. We do have some serious algae taste problems in our water that comes from Lake Ontario as well as the water that comes from our upland water supply. Another use impairment that we have that we think intergovernmental agreements can work toward addressing is loss of habitat, loss of wetlands that may come from development.
So now I'm going to talk a little bit about the factors that have led us to the concept of having intergovernmental agreements. The first one is nonpoint sources of pollutants that come in many cases from development, either development that's occurring or development that exists because there's too much impervious surface. It's our feeling that we need to have government partnerships between the county in this case, since we're taking the lead in water quality management, and the towns. And I should also mention that we think that similar kinds of intergovernmental agreements are needed in the other counties in the watershed. And in our counties, each county in our Rochester Embayment watershed have started with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts what they call a Water Quality Coordinating Committee. So each county in our watershed has a Water Quality Coordinating Committee that has a lot of different agencies in it. So we feel that our county Water Quality Coordinating Committees throughout the watershed could initiate these kinds of intergovernmental agreements between counties and towns, counties and villages, counties and cities.
Obviously, because we're a multi-county watershed, we also need to have partnerships between counties. We need the county and the state to be cooperating on these issues. We need the state to be cooperating and coordinating with the federal government and we obviously need the U.S. and Canada working more closely together. So we feel that in order for implementation of our RAP to work we need all these kinds of partnerships. This is a watershed map that shows the Irondequoit Bay watershed in the red dotted lines there, and this is just to illustrate that this is, compared to the Genesee River watershed, it's a relatively small watershed, most of it's in Monroe County but not all of it. And there are several different towns within this watershed, within the Irondequoit Bay watershed, and each of these towns have a lot of problems of their own, they don't have a whole lot of staff time to spend learning about water quality and making daily decisions that affect water quality. They need some assistance.
So when you think that that's one of the reasons for having intergovernmental agreements is that the county who has spent a lot of time doing water quality planning can give the town some assistance in helping them make some of their daily land use decisionmaking while recognizing that they make the decisions. I also wanted to mention that watersheds do not follow political boundaries, that's another factor that causes the need for intergovernmental agreements. We believe that local governments, the local municipalities, want a maximize their resources so they're going to take whatever help they can get from the counties and other governments. They also want to make decisions that are good for the environment and they're starting to recognize the political boundary problems of drainage. In our area there is not a countywide drainage district. Each town will have their own drainage district. In some cases each town will have 15 drainage districts based on subdivisions. So the drainage management issue in our area is a disaster because there are so many different people involved. Our first intergovernmental agreement was between Monroe County and the town of Pittsburgh and we have now grown from this first intergovernmental agreement which we initiated in 1990, we renewed it in 1993. We now have three intergovernmental agreements with three different towns.
We developed an intergovernmental agreement between Monroe County and the State Department of Transportation because they were the ones who regulated the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal water flows into some of our other streams and the Erie Canal water is dirtier than our stream water, so that when we have Erie Canal water flowing into streams, the Erie Canal is actually polluting some of our streams. So we had an intergovernmental agreement with the State Department of Transportation regarding how much water they're going to let into our streams. That's now void because the Department of Transportation no longer is in charge of the Erie Canal, the New York State Thruway Authority is in charge of it so we need to come up with a new intergovernmental agreement with them. We have negotiated one additional intergovernmental agreement that we're taking to the county legislature soon and we've been negotiating over the last two months two others. I'm going to have a handout that's going to show you in writing the goals and responsibilities of three intergovernmental agreements we already have, and will also show you some of the listings of some of the responsibilities of both the county and the town, so that'll give you details on that, so I'm not going to get into that kind of detail in my presentation. But, just to give you a little bit of feeling for what, here's the first one, this is for the town of Greece which is the western edge of the Rochester Embayment AOC and there are four lakeshore ponds, you can see there's kind of a sand bar between Lake Ontario of a series of four lakeshore ponds. They all have small outlets, kind of little culverts, that go out into Lake Ontario and there is an eutrophication problem in each of these four ponds that the pond residents are very concerned about. We got involved in that whole effort and are working on doing watershed plans. And so we have an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Greece that we will assist them in giving them ideas of what they can do for land use regulation to improve the water quality. At the same time we're doing some water quality monitoring in that area for them to provide them with the kind information that they need. We are also helping them to negotiate with two other towns and a village that are upstream in this watershed to get the three towns and one village and a county to work together to come up with an entire watershed plan for these four ponds.
The intergovernmental agreement that we have with the town of Penfield focused on this area of severe erosion. This cliff in the Irondequoit Creek watershed is a huge erosion problem. The creek is a great trout stream. The erosion is severe because of the fact that there's been so much development in this watershed and this is causing severe erosion of the cliff. This is a 40-foot cliff, and it's just a very major problem, so we are working with the town of Penfield to identify, we've actually used some grant money that we had to hire a consultant and identify a way to solve this problem and now we're working with the town of Penfield to try to find funding to solve this problem. Our initial intergovernmental agreement was with the town of Pittsford and we worked with them to design stormwater management ponds to protect water quality in urbanizing areas. This is a pond that the town of Pittsford worked with a developer on the design, it actually saved the developer money and it has saved the town money in maintenance cost. What you see here is a cattail marsh that has been created out of the detention area and what looks like a sidewalk towards the foreground of the slide is actually a stone berm that is immediately in front of the outfall of this pond and that serves to keep a little bit of this water in the pond to keep the wetland vegetation thriving. By having that wetland vegetation there, the biofilm sorption is actually removing the phosphorous out of this watershed and helping solve the eutrophication problem in Irondequoit Bay.
In summary, we felt that the need for the intergovernmental agreements is the recognition that stormwater quality causes several use impairments, that stormwater quality management requires local government action, that there are currently no solid funding sources for stormwater quality management in our area, that stormwater quality is linked directly with land use decisionmaking that's done at the town, village and city level and that local governments that are responsible for land use need help when it comes to water quality actions. Monroe County's local intergovernmental agreement strategy is to find issues of mutual interest, that the county's interested in and that the municipality is interested in, and I kind of summarized that in the examples in Penfield and Greece and Pittsford. And we're also attempting to get intergovernmental agreements within Monroe County with all the towns and the villages and the city and that we also want to encourage those towns that are in specific watersheds to make agreements with each other, that is the idea of getting watershed- based intergovernmental agreements. And we actually have one group of towns in the Irondequoit Bay watershed that is working together now to try to do that. They have called themselves the Irondequoit-Based Watershed Collaborative and they're actually each comparing their subdivision laws, their drainage laws, and they're trying to come up with stormwater management requirements among all the towns in that watershed that will be the same, and that group is meeting monthly, they've got subcommittees and they're actually coming up among each other with what they think they want to do. They've involved developers, the developers are all excited that everybody might actually have the same regulations and the same expectations, so it's been working out very well. We also want to encourage these municipalities, when they get together, to talk about funding opportunities, perhaps they would eventually be willing to give up each one of their own drainage districts and create a watershed district.
Now, I'm going to talk briefly about our regional strategy. We have what we call a Finger Lakes Water Resource Board, which currently is a consortium of 18 counties that got started looking for pork barrel money from the state to do weed control on the Finger Lakes to try to solve the weed problem. They have now become an 18-county consortium that is looking to get watershed planning for most of the Lake Ontario watershed in New York state. And they have a proposal to expand their alliance of 18 counties to 25 counties. What they want to do is to develop and implement a coordinated watershed protection strategy at a local level throughout New York State's Lake Ontario basin, and they want to include the whole idea of RAP implementation in with this idea. I have a written proposal on that that I also will have available at the back table that explains that whole thing. We're also proposing intergovernmental agreements as one of our remedial actions and the draft chapter for the RAP is also going to be available on that back table. So what I'll do now is distribute the summary of what's in the remedial measures and have the other handouts at the back. To briefly talk about why I think this has been successful is that it's voluntary and non- threatening to the towns, we're finding one or more ways to try to address an existing problem that the municipality feels that they have. We tried to recognize in our intergovernmental agreement what the municipalities are currently doing that's good for water quality and we're also trying to advertise every place we go what a great job this town or that town is doing in certain areas. And it's also a feeling that we're sharing, not that we have that much power really, but the perception that we are sharing whatever power it is we have by having these intergovernmental agreements.
Bruce Kirschner - John Johnson, the next speaker, will be giving his outlook on how RAPs can be more effectively implemented.
President, Great Lakes United
As you all know we have five Areas of Concern that go across the international boundary, in the case of two of those, the ones that Elaine Kennedy and Jonathon Soloman are involved in, they're developing two separate RAPs, which I think really conflicts with the ecosystem approach to doing things. The problem was that Ontario and New York state were not able to come to an agreement to share in developing RAPs. I think the reason for that was they had just been going through and were still in the process of dealing with the Niagara River and the responsibilities for the closing off the dumps, etc. But in 1985, the Governor of Michigan and the Premier of Ontario signed an agreement to share in the development of the three RAPs, the one in Detroit, Port Huron and Sarnia, and St. Marys River to jointly develop one RAP for each of those.
What I want to talk about is the difficulty of getting those sorts of governments to work together, I think it's important not just in terms of those particular RAPs, but particularly as we go into the LaMP process, but I think it also applies to intergovernmental agreements of all sorts. I think the lesson that comes out very clearly to me from the experience of the eight years I've spent working on the St. Clair River RAP is that critical to making those intergovernmental agreements work is having strong public advisory committees and having strong citizen action groups in those communities who are really heavily involved and are keeping a strong eye on making sure that the those agreements truly work. I'll give you a very brief history to give you some understanding of why I believe that's a critical lesson out of this. The RAP process for the St. Clair River actually started in 1987 and very quickly after that the Binational Public Advisory Committee (BPAC) was set up with equal representation from both sides of the river.
In advance of that however, the citizen's groups had already been working together on both sides of the river, in both Michigan and Ontario through a network called St. Clair River International Citizen's Network. And already therefore were starting to work in a cooperative way. I think that assisted in making the BPAC very quickly to see itself as not people from two different countries working together but that we all lived on the St. Clair. I personally didn't, I was called a parachute stakeholder by the industry. But anyway, that we all cared about this river, it didn't matter what country we were from, that was irrelevant. The province and the state were not quite as quick however at learning that lesson, and it was a very long process in dealing with Stage 1 RAP. After we'd been in this process for three years we still did not have a Stage 1 RAP document and at that point the citizens' groups got together and said, "This is outrageous. We are not going to keep participating in a monthly meeting of the BPAC which basically has nothing to discuss because the governments are not bringing us any information or materials, getting nowhere," and so we decided that we were going to, at the next BPAC meeting, stand up and say, "Until we are given a clear commitment in terms of resources from the governments, until we're given a clear timeline, we will not participate in the process." Prior to that meeting we had talked to some of the people from industry who were on the BPAC, knew that they had the same concerns that we did. So when we stood up and made our motion, an industry person stood up and seconded the motion and therefore the BPAC stopped functioning until certain demands were met. At that point, we sent letters to the Premier of the Province and to the Governor of the State as well as to the Regional Administrator at U.S. EPA, Region V and Environment Canada saying what our concerns were and that what we needed were adequate resources to get this done, in particular a full-time person's work on it, and also a clear timeline by which the RAP would be done.
The Premier of Ontario responded by allocating a person to work full-time on the RAP, in addition to putting money in to hire consultants to work on the RAP, and also making a clear commitment of a date by which it had to be done. That obviously sent a pretty clear message to the bureaucrats who were working on it, and they had a very strong message there of having to get it done. When the Premier comes through and says, "This is my timeline," you get amazing action out of the involved bureaucrats. The other thing that we did was to try to break down the difficulty of governments working together. In the Ontario/Canadian system there's the Public Advisory Committee (PAC), in addition there are the RAP teams, and the RAP teams are the people who are actually doing the day-to-day work, the pulling together of plans, of writing the documents, of administrative work, and getting the task done. Traditionally, those were the government people from the various government jurisdictions. We said we wanted to have PAC representation on that RAP team. The reason we wanted that is we saw that as our only way to monitor the process to make sure things were going well, and we achieved that. And what showed up very strongly was the outrageous, silly bickering that was going on, particularly between Ontario and Michigan. For example, the first half-hour of meetings would be spent complaining about the minutes from the last meeting with Michigan in particular saying, "Well, no, I know I said that, but when I went home I was told I couldn't say that, therefore you HAVE to change the minutes." This obviously, in addition to the time that was wasted, meant that everybody was in a bad mood by the time you got to the business of the meeting. Well interestingly, having PAC people sitting at that table, first of all embarrassed those government people in realizing, "This is really embarrassing, we sound like a bunch of bickering kids here," and it started to make them really wonder about this process. It really started to really push them to start to behave in a different way.
And now, the relationship there, of the governments, is greatly improved in terms of working on the St. Clair RAP and I'm convinced that a driving force behind that has been the fact of the strong citizen involvement, the strong PAC involvement in terms of making that happen. I think that the few lessons that I see out of this very clearly, I think apply not simply to St. Clair, but elsewhere, is that first of all citizens working together binationally will force the governments to also work binationally and it's critical to have that pressure there. Otherwise, what I find in my experience is that government people still come as representing purely their jurisdiction and it's hard to sort of take that hat off and forget what they're being told by their headquarters or whatever, and to try to truly work together to build common solutions. I think the citizens are a driving force that help make that happen, to break that down. Secondly, I think it's critical that we, as PAC members and as citizen activists, make it clear to the government agencies involved in this of what our expectations are in terms of getting these RAPs done, doing the task and to not accept the excuses, to listen to the excuses but say "Okay, now tell us how we're going to get past that." Not to accept those as indeed valid excuses, but let's figure out how to get past those problems. And the final thing is, which I think is absolutely critical, is that we have to be ready to go "political" at critical times. You know it wouldn't have been enough for us to go to the government people who were sitting on that RAP team and continue with our complaints. It was the fact that we went over their heads to the top civil servants and to the elected government people, the Premier and the Governor, that we got action at that critical point when the process truly was breaking down. So we have to be strategic in choosing those times, to do it too often doesn't work, you have to be very careful and strategic, but we have to be willing to do that in order to achieve the goals.
I think the final thing I want to say is that one problem that I think we haven't succeeded in dealing with and I'm sure other RAPs, I know Elaine Kennedy certainly has difficulty with in terms of her area too, we have to do a much better job of bringing in the First Nations and the tribes into our RAP process. We have not succeeded in fully integrating those people into our RAP process, and that's a very serious problem for us.
Bruce Kirschner - Jeff Busch is now going to explain some really innovative methods that his Lake Erie Office in Toledo, Ohio has used to raise funds and better communicate with the public.
Executive Director, Ohio Lake Erie Office
Our office has no formal involvement in the RAP, nor do we have any real regulatory, or we have no regulatory authority, what we try to do is, we try to provide tools and we try to provide services that we at least hope have been benefitting the RAPs and make their jobs a little easier to do. What I would like to talk about today is to go over what some of those programs are, what we've done in the past and especially those things that I think that are easily transferable to other AOCs or other states, other provinces around the basin. A little bit about our office and about the way we're organized in Ohio is that the Lake Erie office actually serves as staff for an organization called the Lake Erie Commission. In Ohio we have Ohio EPA, we have Department of Health, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Transportation and Development. All of those agencies in Ohio that have a critical role for managing the lake. The directors of these agencies are the Commissioners and we meet every other month.
The purpose for this organization, the way it was set up was basically to try to put more attention in the State of Ohio towards Lake Erie. To better manage it by bringing these agencies together, talking out what they're doing, coordinating their programs, but also to create a forum where citizens and groups can come to these commission meetings, they're all open to the public, and address their concerns to the commission at a fairly high level of state government and try to get action on their problems. The first of our programs that I'd like to talk about here is the Lake Erie Protection Fund. The Lake Erie Protection Fund was set up mostly as a receiving fund to take Ohio's share of the Great Lakes Protection Fund. I'm pretty sure everyone at the roundtable knows about the Great Lakes Protection Fund. In Ohio we have turned around and made our own organization to give out grants around the state. Some of the states and the Great Lakes have done the same. I know Michigan has a very active grant program, New York is getting geared up as a board member of the Great Lakes Protection Fund and for some of you people in other states, you might want to ask those around where that money that's coming back to the states is going to, because it may be a nice source of money that you can tap. But anyway, Ohio receives in good financial years about $300,000 coming in to Ohio from the Great Lakes Fund and we have major grant cycles every two years and we have also a small grants program that runs continually where we'll fund projects up to $5,000.
Our last grant cycle, which was last year, we had four priority areas, two of them which don't have really too much to do with the RAPs, at least the way in which we awarded the money. The first, habitat restoration, primarily has been in the western basin, some of our coastal wetlands, there are a lot of efforts right now into restoring those and we've awarded grants to find out ways that we can best bring these areas back to full wetland usage. We are also concerned in the fundamental ecological changes that are taking place in Lake Erie right now in no small part due to the zebra mussels. And so we've funded some studies to show what's happening to the lake and what some of the endpoints may be in the future that we're going to have to deal with. We have given some grants for education, we have programs around the state which are very similar to what Mark Mitchell was talking about the other day on the Rouge River. In the Maumee River basin we funded a student monitoring program that will sample once a year with a student congress at the end, but we have given monies out to get these programs going across the state. But most of our RAP-related grants deal with pollution prevention, predominantly nonpoint source pollution. Just to give you a flavor of the type of things we're funding, we have funded a GIS study with Landsat images in the Cuyahoga watershed, overlaying it with land usage, overlaying it with topography and crop type, to look and identify those areas which are particular areas of erosion so that our technical managers can go out there and easily identify where these areas are and prioritize where they should be putting their efforts.
We've also funded a very interesting project along with U.S. EPA. U.S. EPA has the lion's share, we have just a little bit of this project, that's going on in the Maumee drainage basin and I think it's sort of the next step that farmers and land managers are going to be looking at going beyond merely trying to reduce the amount of sediment that is being eroded away. It's taking a look at complete water management, trying to capture all the rainfall that comes onto a parcel of land, direct it into wetlands to filter it and directing it into holding reservoirs and then, during the summer months when water is needed, to repump it back into the tile systems, back into the farmland so you don't lose both the water and the nutrients, and trapping the sediments which can then be cleaned out at a later date. But this I think is going to take us a step beyond mere erosion management. We have awarded some grants in urban nonpoint source pollution problems, we have a project going that is looking at urban catchment basins, trying to best design these things so that they more efficiently filter out sediments and nutrients and also provide suitable urban wildlife habitat. We've also looked at how small tracts of wetlands can be constructed to take care of failing septic systems, completely replacing septic systems and running it through small tracts of wetlands.
We're looking hard at creating bioindices, this one happens to be one that's looking at the algal community structure, particularly diatoms while we have other studies that are looking at the microvertebrate community to try to create these bioindices of water quality within the estuaries and nearshore zones including our RAP areas, to get a baseline look at water quality and also to be able to determine the progress that takes place over the years in these areas. I talked about the money that we get from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, but we also have augmented that money with some other programs. The first is the license plate program, we stole this idea from the State of Maryland with their Chesapeake Bay plates, and we created a new plate. These have been real successful, we're just about to go over the 50,000 mark in the number of plates that we sold around the state and we get $15 for each of these plates that are sold and it all goes into the protection fund. The second thing that we have done is, we stole this from the State of Texas, from their "Don't Trash Texas Program," and we created a Lake Erie Protection Fund credit card. We worked with a bank MBNA, which is the largest issuer of credit cards in the nation and for every purchase made on each Protection Fund Credit Card we receive a quarter. This just went into effect this past spring, I know we have well over $1,000 in counts but I really have no feel for how much money this is going to generate. I think it will be considerable. I use the term we "stole this" from these people and "stole this" from those people, which is really true because there are very few original ideas these days. But I think if you take a long hard look out there, there's a lot of programs around the country, around the world that are good ways to generate revenues and you simply have to find out about them, adapt them for your purpose and run with them. In particular the license plate has been a real success.
The next thing I would like to talk about is our Coast Week Program. It's a series of events in Ohio that takes place in September, but it's just a series of events, activities that bring people out all along the Ohio shoreline to have fun and to learn something about the lake. It's based around beach cleanups, so we have about a dozen beach cleanups, we have river cleanups, we have scuba diving cleanups, we have three scuba diving cleanups. Overall we've taken out an average of about 20 tons of trash a year out of Lake Erie. We have canoe events, we have nature walks around the state, we rent ferry boats to take us around the lake and give historical cruises, we join up with festivals to pass out materials, and we also run a photo contest. In the pack of material you've got there we also have a list of activities, we have about 60 activities this year around the state. In two years we were able to reach almost 40,000 people in these activities.
So there's a lot of good contact that comes about. One difference from our program and some of the others that has helped us is that we've hooked up with a couple of worldwide organizations. First of all, Coast Week is an international program, it's real big on the east coast, it's real big on the west coast, but in the Great Lakes it really hasn't caught on too much yet. But there's a lot of experience out there all over the country that helped us and could help you to organize events like this. Also, we've hooked up with the Center for Marine Conservation which is an international organization which helps us with our cleanups. First of all, they give us training. Our Coast Week's coordinator goes out once a year and attends workshops and seminars on how to do these events, but most importantly they give us all of our cleanup materials, all the gloves, all the bags, and then they go beyond that, they keep a data set of everything that is picked up around the world. And so they provide us with all the data sheets we need, even all the pencils we need, and all this information that we generate goes into a worldwide data set. We get big books on all their statistics at the end of every year. It's a real interesting way to get people involved in something that's much larger than Ohio, much larger than themselves, and it's very helpful in doing these things.
Okay, there's other programs that we put on to benefit the RAPs, first of all we do a series of what we call RAP summits. We bring all the four RAPs together in Ohio and periodically we hold technical workshops on subjects that are brought forth from the RAP. Our first one was on generating more public support, more public involvement, then we did one on hazardous waste sites and the changing Superfund legislation, how it may affect what we do in Ohio, and our last one was on techniques for river and stream restoration. But more importantly than being a technology transfer workshop, it brings the RAP people together and these people talk to themselves, exchange ideas and just get to know each other, and I think more than anything that has been real beneficial in the state and has helped our RAP process along.
Another thing we produce is, we do a state of the lake report, we did this two years ago, this was centered around the theme of 20 years of the Clean Water Act and what it's done in Ohio. But it also contains a lot of information on the RAPs specifically and generally about water quality, coastal management and a whole lot of issues. It really chronicles everything that the state is doing in Lake Erie. We found it very beneficial to hook up with the Ohio Sea Grant Program, they put out this "Twine Line" which is their newsletter, a real high quality newsletter on a lot of the research, a lot of the science, that's going on around in the Great Lakes. We place inserts in it, here's a four-page insert that goes out every other month and here we talk a lot about what's going on in the state but also we try to put in information about the RAPs and what they're doing and this just gets your message out to a wider audience.
And the last thing is our Lake Erie calendar, I talked about the photo contest that we have, we use those photographs to produce a yearly calendar. We tried to sell this for a couple years, that was a real bad mistake, it just doesn't sell. What we've done now is went out to get twelve sponsors, they get their name in here, a little blurb about what they're doing on Lake Erie, and we've expanded it not only just to be a calendar but an educational piece that outlines what the Lake Erie Protection Fund is doing but also how people can get involved, and particularly how they can get involved in the RAPs around the state. So this year we're going to print probably about 50,000 of these, these are going to go to all the license plate purchasers as a thank you and a way to keep them up to date and we believe they're a group of people that are real concerned about Lake Erie, otherwise they wouldn't have the license plate, and we hope that we're going to see some volunteers coming our way as a result of that effort.
Okay, I'd like to take five minutes to review what you've done for the last day and a half, extrapolating what I read to be the successes, the reasons for your successes, in summary format, go through that very quickly and maybe we can go back to the ones I want to make sure we all agree or that I did get it right. And then I want to move into the discussion, forward to what are you going to do next to be able to continue the momentum of the RAPs and that will take up the rest of the discussion today. For lack of a better term I've called these the Pillars of Successful RAP Strategies. I've identified five and I'm going to list them off. They're not in any particular sequence.
The first one is partnerships, I didn't hear anything today that changed that. Partnerships as a forum, as a way to provide focus. Some of the words that were attached to the word partnership were non-legal, non-binding, create common ties among participants which gives you a shared reason for being there, the last word I caught was informal, all those words are fairly consistent. The next pillar was leadership. Some person made the comment the right people in the right positions at the right time, you need local, you need state, you need federal, you need provincial and tied in with the word leadership was the word commitment, I think it was through leadership you show commitment. The third pillar was strong community "connections or linkages," and there was a whole host of buzzwords attached to it. One is that you could refer to this as well integrated into the community, make it easy for local involvement even local ownership, bring the media onside, make the projects local in some way, make them place-based, have a cross section of community involvement committees, identify a variety of benefits so many can become involved from the community, demonstrate what can be done to fix what is wrong, do it in bits and pieces if necessary, involve people in the actual decisionmaking. So that all related back to strong community connections.
The fourth pillar that I'm not sure how strong it was, in this one I detected a Canadian/American distinction here, it was the only time I did, was the gorilla in the closet. I only want to talk about it at a generic level. I don't want the specific names used, you all know who or what they are, the distinctions I got were, it's best if it's implicit, it's not to be used explicitly. One of the senses I got was that in Canada we use it if at all implicitly, we don't mention that everybody knows it's there, you don't have to say anything, if you raise it you may cause counterproductive concerns. Whereas, what I've heard around the American examples were it's very explicit, you know it's there, it's been said a few times and we all know it's breathing down someone's shoulder. It's actually not in the closet, it's sitting right here and we may even have examples of persons that it has affected. The fifth one, again, in no particular sequence, was available resources. I'm using resources very, very, very broadly. For example it obviously includes money, that's only one resource, it includes training sessions, providing briefings for people, it's making expertise available from governments to communities, it's providing basic information on new ways of doing things. Those are what I call resources.
These then are the five pillars for successful strategies, they're not a master plan and they're not a model, they were in one form or another mentioned repeatedly over the past two days. Now I'd like to go back through them and I guess the first question is do we agree or should these be modified? Is there any discussion around that?
Allegra Cangelosi - One that I heard frequently was an awareness of the benefits to each of the parties, or you might call that enlightened self-interest in the sense of cost-effectiveness.
Jim Martin - I threw that one in with strong community connections. One of the ways you made connection was by showing benefits.
Susan Gilbertson - I think Allegra's point though is that maybe it's how you define the community. Is the community just the local community or is it the community of all stakeholders, from a federal level down to an individual level?
Jim Martin - Okay, so you see benefits as almost a separate pillar.
Allegra Cangelosi - In regard to awareness. In awareness of the benefits, at least I heard a lot of people mention benefits.
Jim Martin - Yes, I think that was critical. Okay.
Mary Beth Binns - I think that the concept of integration or connectedness or involvement is broader and by placing those terms on this concept puts a different spin on what I would call vision, a locally generated vision.
Jim Martin - Do you see that as a separate pillar or as a component of one of those other ones?
Mary Beth Binns - I see it as a pillar.
Jim Martin - Okay. And is it a local vision?
Mary Beth Binns - Absolutely.
Jim Martin - Okay. Anything else in the way of pillars?
Jonathan Soloman - How about accountability, I haven't heard it mentioned.
Jim Martin - Do you want to explain it?
Jonathan Soloman - After you establish the partners and establish proactive or active roles, I think you definitely have to put some type of framework down for, not only who's responsible but at what price and what cost. I think if you don't have people having some responsibility and having some terms of this is what and where their responsibility lies, it's a big part of the process.
Jim Martin - Do you see that both as a community function and as a government function?
Jonathan Soloman - Absolutely.
Jim Martin - Anyone else? Another one?
Gail Krantzberg - Well I heard credibility a couple times in the context of setting some clear timelines and then keeping to them, meeting them. Timelines either for developing documents like John Jackson was saying about Stage 1, where there was a complete lack of credibility. There was no progress. Also credibility in terms of we said we were going to begin the next rehabilitation project this year and five weeks later we haven't started. So what's the problem? Setting reasonable timetables that can actually be achieved. For us, at Collingwood, that was very important in keeping the municipality on side and supportive. When we said we would do something we did it and we were able to gain their confidence.
Jim Martin - So the ability to carry out what you've said you're going to do.
Gail Krantzberg - It keeps the partnership's confidence there.
Jim Martin - Okay.
Louise Knox - I don't have a real word to encapsulate this so bear with me for a minute. It occurs to me that in our areas we've spent a lot of time, a lot of years doing a lot of work to essentially scope out the issues. We really create a big picture of what the issues are watershed-wide, all of the issues and then figure out what to do with that big picture. Now that to me, what I'm learning in Hamilton Harbour is that having that tool in hand gives funders answers to the questions they would normally ask, very, very quickly, gives funders almost all the answers that sometimes when you start out with a project if you don't have that comprehensive overview it would take you years to get to that point. But I think what I take from the example of the Ashtabula Partnership is that now you've got all that information. I think it's helpful to present that to people who know where the funding sources are and can use it. In our RAP we don't necessarily have people at the table who know what to do with that information, who know how to go after the money, know where the pots of money are, who can take that picture and integrate it with what they know about funding sources and then come up with ideas of where to get the money. So I guess what I'm taking away from this is that we need some new people with different skill sets to be brought into the picture in our community to help us get money to get things off the ground.
Alice Chamberlin - Well I'd just like to act on that, from a lot of the project descriptions there were either committees or in Brett Kaull's case the people that were dedicated to the issue of resource and resource development, that didn't only mean funding. But, certainly as people are in Stage 2 that may be more critical to have that expert on board that can dedicate a lot of time to that issue.
Mary Beth Binns - Is that networking?
Louise Knox - Well it could be networking. I'm just thinking about where would I go to get those kind of people? And certainly a lot of them are in this community, but they're not necessarily the same people that have been participating today. So it's extending, based on you own core network, it's extending that network out to the people that do more administrative or financial kind of stuff, bringing them in, knowing enough to go get them, and to get them with the jewel you really have now that you've got this RAP on your desk.
Mary Beth Binns - But by having this forum here what you see are examples of the person that you want in other communities. So you have a better idea of what that person looks like in your own community. And I would argue that that's networking.
Jim Martin - But I think the spin here was it may be different types of networking than traditionally done.
Mary Beth Binns - Well, like this forum here today.
Gail Krantzberg - I was just going to say that as you move into RAP implementation, the necessary skill sets change. The skill sets are the people who develop a stage one document are different from what are needed to develop a stage two document and are different again from what is needed to forge implementation commitments. And we in Canada anyway, have this sense that we need continuity and so the notion of getting rid of the RAP coordinator at one point and replacing it with a different kind of RAP coordinator is, it's a lack of continuity. But in reality we need to reexamine the skill set that we need going into implementation, and it may not be that you would change the coordinators, but you may change roles, responsibilities, and bring on new players. We tend to have a fixed team. And maybe we need some new players, maybe it's time for a draft.
Ginny Aveni - I was just conceptualizing what I thought Louise Knox and Gail Krantzberg were saying. Because we touch on it another way as far as projects go and that's an evolutionary capability. I mean you need that combination of the continuity and a dynamism that leads to evolution within the organization, as sort of a living growth organization because it's going to change because you need new people and you need an ability to keep up with that.
Louise Knox - Just to add to it, everybody's talking about economic drivers and when you find economic interests in what you're trying to do that seems to really give it a push, well I don't know if we've got all the people around the table in our community who are thinking economic development. Who can make the match between their agenda, that economic development agenda and the agenda of the RAP and find the win, win situation. So I'm just asking myself and I guess probably you folks are too, how do you get those people together?
Brett Kaull - That goes back to what Allegra Cangelosi was saying about benefits. I'm not sure we defined what she meant. It's a problem I struggle with, what if we put 100 million dollars to clean contaminated sediments up in our small post-industrial, depressed economy of Ashtabula, Ohio. The people go to the river, they look down at the river and they see no change at all. They say all you did is give us a pile of mud beside the river. Why was this such a good thing? You have to have that linkage. It was interesting listening to Charles Isely here, he could sell you anything. That's good! We have a Charles Isely in Ashtabula, he brought more economic development dollars into our county than any other county in the State of Ohio last year and they pegged our project from the onset and said this is the most important economic development project in our county. It means jobs, it means a railline. So while quite often the RAP group may be identified at the onset as this volunteer environmental thing which has all types of connotations depending on what color stripes you wear, in our community it's viewed comprehensibly, the economic development component is well understood: jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. The environmental end of it is becoming well understood as well and those things are integrated. That is what has given us credibility with the press, with the community, things of that nature. As far as our resources go, people around the table, we can get any level of technical expertise we need because we have Ava Hottman's input, we have Bob Tolpa's input, we could go to any depth, we don't have to be those individuals around the table on a monthly basis, but we do have someone identified as the absolute expert in that area. If we don't have that person, we know our agency support will go out and get them for us, that's part of our strength.
Mary Beth Binns - I'm going to go back to this word that Jenny used -dynamism- because I proposed the word networking but it seems to me that networking is a way of accomplishing dynamism and there's a couple other pieces of that, one is flexibility. So there are a couple of tools or there are a couple of strategies under this concept of a dynamic movement or growth. So I would argue that dynamism is a great pillar.
Jim Martin - What groups around the table have seen themselves move from an environmental definition of what they do to this more inclusive model which includes socioeconomic considerations?
Ginny Aveni - I think to make this work you have to have both hats going because I don't believe that our community will, it may survive, but it's not going to thrive without a change from the problems of industry to a quality of life, I mean the new development has to include some enhancements that we didn't have before so it has to be interfaced; the economic development and the environmental improvements. I think that the economic development will depend upon quality environmental improvements that go with that.
John Beeker - When we first started our Cuyahoga RAP process, we went through a goal setting effort and the result of that was a conception that the RAP agenda wasn't a community development agenda. That was entertwined and that the best argument we could make toward continuing the work was the economic benefits we had already achieved in the river.
Gail Krantzberg - I'm curious to see to what extend you need to be quantitative about it because, and I say this, because we have moved many ports and harbors around the Great Lakes from being industrial ports into a recreation harbour with tourism being now top industry in town. The clear benefit to the town was if you want to bring the town back to the waterfront, you don't want to be one of the toxic hot spots on the Great Lakes. But when approaching a town planner and a commissioner of economic development and so on, trying to say do you want the RAP to develop an economic case for you to bring to the council and so on, they went "no." It would be mystical. Because how can you attribute $600 million infusion in tourist dollars to a $5 million improvement in environmental quality to the harbour. They don't match. You can make any numbers up that you want simply to say that, you know, so it was a conceptual piece rather than a quantitative piece.
Ava Hottman - Well I think you have to deal with those tools appropriately through projects. Some projects, there is mystery to the economic impacts. But on specific projects where there are definite alternatives, and each alternative will achieve a different environmental outcome, the "How Clean is Clean" issue, I think you have to become as much economist as aquatic biologist, you have to be able to make very hard decisions. I think it's very unusual to get a local government to start writing checks with more than six figures without some quantification of real economic benefit. The real important point is environmentalists have to understand the economic forces that drive their community in order to reshape those forces into quality of life issues. And environmental scientists, lot of the RAP coordinators at Ohio EPA, have become financial people. They have had to kind of put their aquatic biology degree in their back pocket and get training from bankers. And I think one of the things that has disturbed me about this conference is the incredible amount of bureaucrat bashing that I have heard. I have prided myself on the fact that in Ohio we worked our damnedest to not be bureaucratic, at least in the RAP process. I'm not saying that the government has always been innocent in performance, but I also think that you have to accept that our major function is not regulation. Environmental agencies, at least at the state level for most states, have a regulatory function but have a whole lot of functions that have nothing to do with regulation. And as we are evolving, we will have less to do with regulations. That is the 21st century version of environmental protection. And I think you have to be willing as community groups to allow us to change.
Jim Martin - Convert that into a pillar.
Ava Hottman - You have to be willing to let people, successful RAPs in Ohio are RAPs in which the stakeholders, the group that is participating, allows people to shed whatever their image is, whether it's LTV Steel, or RMI, or the local developer, or a chamber of commerce. But if you are not willing to let people shed their images, if you keep holding it up in their face that you are this and you are that, then you will not be able to overcome those things. You have to really let people shed their images and that's what's successful.
Jim Martin - Which also goes back to the comments on dynamism.
Ava Hottman - You have to let organizations and institutions change in your process.
Jim Martin - Okay.
Susan Gilbertson - I think you also have to accept them for what they are. Because while we certainly do need to change and certainly need to evolve, and I think where we've been successful is where we've been able to do that. There are also some things that we can't change. I mean there has been a lot of action in the Superfund program. I work for U.S. EPA, I am not going to bash it. It's my reality. Congress can change it, great, I will work with that reality. Within that reality there are things we can do, to wit, we held off. Give us a chance to be flexible as bureaucrats, but also accept our realities.
Jim Martin - There are certain limits that you have to work within. Before, we were talking about including both environmental and economics in the discussion, I want to get back to that unless we've finished with it.
Allegra Cangelosi - Maybe this is related. Beyond acceptance is respect. Society is composed of different kinds of interests that bear upon the environment that need to work together.
Jim Martin - Respect among participants for what each can bring to the table and must do. Which gets back to the pillar of credibility to some extent.
Allegra Cangelosi - It almost has to do with this environmental and economic duality. We are saying that both are things that people are bringing to the table as far as interest and both merit work and credibility.
Jim Martin - Okay, so respect is a pillar.
Ginny Aveni - You really want to maximize the interests that are there. Everyone of these is a great strength, use the maximum capability of all the interests, all the institutions and make it positive. You want the strength of the regulation whether it's an implicit or explicit gorilla but also the talent for using all the talent and power of the citizens to organize, of the bureaucracies to do the best kind of work they can do and then kind of stretch those. And the business interests need to bring their particular expertise.
Jim Martin - One question we can start with when we come back, do you have the partnerships today that allow that to happen?
Susan Gilbertson - You can never have too many partnerships.
Jim Martin - Mark, you make the issue of building in sustainability once the RAPs aren't around. So how do you construct stuff along the way so that when a RAP disappears as an institution or as a vehicle, you still have stewardship? And Gail, you raised an issue of, what if some of the pillars aren't in place, can you still move forward? How do you want to proceed?
Bob Townsend - I want to add a couple of points. I think the last one is the way to do it, how to move forward. A pillar is very important, going back to what Gail said, I think she hit on it, the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 and the implementation. The pillars form the Stage 1 and Stage 2 essentially and the implementation is the action. What's missing is action verbs like focusing, that's what we have to do.
Jim Martin - I guess the question is then, is the pillar used in Stage 1 and Stage 2, are they still appropriate for implementation? Maybe that's where we can start discussion.
Elaine Kennedy - I think one of the problems that I see as a chair of a PAC in the process of discussing this fall what we are going to change into as our Stage 2 comes out, is something that was brought up, the fact that this whole process was not really thought out ahead of time as to what was really going to happen and that everything has evolved even though we knew that we were doing a Stage 1 and then we had to do a Stage 2, what the Agreement had lined out for us to do. But how we all got there was really a process according to what the local situation was, what the state situation, and the relationship between people. But I think that where we go after Stage 2 is even less organized. Stage 1's and Stage 2's were not organized, they evolved and evolved differently, but after Stage 2 and during Stage 3, there isn't that thing at the end, a document to be produced, a project. There are the projects, etc., but there is no thing at the end that we can all get ready to bow down to when we get there and have ribbon cutting.
Jim Martin - So the thing now is the projects.
Elaine Kennedy - Yeah, the thing is the projects.
Ava Hottman - I think one of the real blessings of the RAP process and this is coming from a nation that tends to have specific how you do a plan is dictated. To me one of the real joys and power of the RAP, whether it's Stage 1, Stage 2 or an actual implementation, is the fact that there is no bible. That true invention, that things can be tailored to that specific river system, those watersheds, that community, and that you can invent yourself and steal from here and borrow from there and make something new. That we have to really fight against overritualization of the process to allow this to be a radical concept in government, from a government perspective. To allow things to evolve, and to me, that is the strength of the next step because you won't be writing a book. You will be, as John Beeker put it, making things happen and managing an agenda as a RAP council. An agenda that others will undertake for you.
Jim Martin - We've had some examples of where people are starting to implement now and it's not trying to write the book and it's not trying to create a model. Are there elements of those activities that are useful for everybody to commonly share so that when you take your community's agenda to implement the actions on it, these are things that will be important to you. How you implement them and the form they take will be community responsive.
Ken Cullis - That's a very good point. I think one of the things that has distressed me most over this last day and a half is that I have been with the RAP program since the start of it and I've learned many new things here today of how people have implemented, how people have done things. And in a lot of cases they are very, very similar and people have developed them in their own RAPs. So they've essentially invented the wheel in the RAPs and everybody else has invented a different version of it. And that's great, nobody knew what a RAP was, and we've evolved the process and things have worked. But times have changed. Now we are at a point where everybody is downsizing, all budgets are going down. We have to be more innovative. I think we have to do things like what we are doing here right now, we have to communicate, we have to market a lot better, and we need to rely on each other. An example that I'm most familiar with is the habitat issue. A lot of people are doing habitat projects successfully, but there's a real lack of understanding of how to do some of these things, or where to go to find these things. A core group of people within the 42 RAPs who know probably more about these type of habitat issues than anybody and if those people were available to work or provide advice on the individual RAPs during the implementation phase, I think that we could make that process a lot more efficient. I think everything can be transferred that way. I think we have to really look at what we are doing and rely on each other for advice.
Gail Krantzberg - I want to get down also to this downsizing, causes of downsizing, everywhere, municipally also, so not just saying, well, federal information has been downsized so it's all going to fall on the municipality because the municipality is going to feel it also. I want to get back to something that Mark Mitchell was saying, which is sustainability. And something that I found very interesting today was the presentation that Margy Peet made on cooperative agreements and I know we were talking about informal arrangements. I think these cooperative agreements are informal arrangements, but I think they are a mechanism to take the responsibility off of the RAP coordinator when the AOC is delisted. Because Collingwood is delisted, I'm still the RAP coordinator, I don't mean that tongue in cheek, I mean there's no one else to keep that community monitoring the situation. And we are starting to try to forge together what the municipality is going to do, what the region's going to do, what the county is going to do, what this agency is going to do, external to the RAP, from now on these are your responsibilities and we will agree to do those. These cooperative agreements and whether they are focused on land use decisionmaking or something else. I think they're fundamental. I think that's a really new way of thinking about long-term sustainability, implementation in the long term. No one is going to do it alone, and there's no point in one community doing something and the upstream community isn't. So, I really want to further explore that notion and just how powerful those things can be.
Elaine Kennedy - One of the things, one of the words that came up Tuesday night was ego. I think one of the things, with that whole business of what Ken said, I think we are going to have to look at the things that each of us are proud of and not keep ownership. Be willing to give out the information about what those are and somehow be able to communicate with each other. Back in May, my PAC was host to the Ontario PAC, that's representatives from the various PACs in Ontario. They came to Cornwall. We discussed things to do with Ontario PACs. One of the things that came out of that is we had to be able to communicate and surely was there anyway of getting each of us onto a computer linkup, internet, so that we could talk to each other. We were at the St. Clair Binational workshop that you had, and we saw interesting computer network and it was ooh, ooh, we've got to get on that. Yeah, we've got to get on, okay this is a year later and we are not on it. Somehow can we not get all linked?
Jim Martin - I'm going to take that as an example of how to get innovative in transferring of the information.
Ava Hottman - One of the things that we were talking about last night was something IJC could do for us, was to build a mentor core, what I call a mentor core. Where we can get access to experts that can go in and work with the RAP coordinators in special workshops, to actually sit down with the teams on issues like contaminated sediments or intergovernmental organizations or financing or public involvement, where it would be really nice to draw on a group of people, not necessarily involved in the RAP process. I think there are people out there who would like to do this for us. And people who would be willing to do it voluntary, pro bono, corporate people or consulting firm people going in and spending a day putting in together the foundations of a habitat project or talking about what some of the difficulties are in analyzing contaminated sediments. If we could have some limited resources, we could pool our talents and networks and give some advice and counsel to each other and have a clearinghouse where somebody could call up Bruce and say we need somebody to come in and talk about how to incorporate. We need somebody to come in and help us with this. If we had this focus at IJC, that would be a really good role, I think a really good role for IJC. GLIN is hard to get on so it's not a good example, but there are other kinds of things. But the Great Lakes Commission, which is another organization not traditionally associated with RAPs will come in and help you get set up for GLIN.
Brett Kaull - During a time of declining resources, our new resource, our best resource is coordination and integration. That is the vein that we must tap. Think about energy conservation, you put up insulation, you save electricity, you don't have to build a new power plant. That's what we are talking about here, coordinate as resources go down. Duplication is killing us. We literally can't afford it now.
Ginny Aveni - I just wanted to echo Gail's remarks about Margy's presentation and I think the thing that so grabbed me was that when we had our first public involvement workshops back in 1989, to really bring people in to see what we thought the community, how they perceived being in a watershed and what they understood about water quality issues and what they wanted from a RAP. The one thing that ran through their frustration so much was management issues and the inability to have any integrated management of a watershed. We have conservation districts, we don't have watershed districts such as you described, so the issues for the future, in a way, I believe is one of governments and this isn't a popular time to talk about governing, I don't think we want to look at a new form of government but just to have those sorts of models for developing the memorandums of agreement or understanding. That's a tool that we are going to have to take to any implementation to get people bought into what we are trying to accomplish.
Jim Martin - Okay, so we've had a whole range of tools we've talked about today or the last two or three days that you're actually practicing now that do serve as, model may be the wrong word, but as examples of what may be appropriate in a range of settings down the road.
John Beeker - I'd like to rain on the parade a little bit. I think these are great ideas, but I think if we use the terminology correct, I would agree with it tools, technology transfer sort of thing, but implementation has got to be home grown. You can't take models from elsewhere and adapt them. I think there's been a lot of initiatives to try to create one size fits all approach to things and I think for example, the Great Lakes Protection Fund tends to try and encourage that stuff. I think that is counterproductive. I think the idea of sharing good ideas and talking about deficiencies is important, but I think that's the other side of it.
Jim Martin - That's a very strong caution.
Susan Gilbertson - I think that almost perhaps needs to become a pillar, that you cannot use the one size fits all approach. I think that's where we've gotten ourselves into trouble where we tried to just say here's the cookie cutter, it's a check mark, we counted our little bean, be bureaucratic about it. I have become more and more aware of this with every month, that what we do in northwest Indiana is not going to make sense for the Nipigon Bay AOC.
Jim Martin - The concepts are.
Susan Gilbertson - I'm not even sure some of the concepts quite frankly, except public participation, openness, all that stuff. The tools that you design need to be tailored and you have to be willing to take whatever you need from wherever you can find it and make it work.
Ken Cullis - I agree but the problem is, where do you find it. I always relate to the one I know best which is habitat. When I started out I didn't know anything about habitat. I didn't know where to look. There was a lot of information about habitat all over the world, but how do we get that? The individual in the community that's doing these projects has no idea, he needs some sort of guidance otherwise he spends a lot of time reinventing the wheel. One example of how I think it can be done, one of the best workshops I've ever attended was one put on by IJC on incidental habitat. What happened was IJC brought biologists, engineers, and planners. An equal mix was brought to the table and gave them generic problems on how to deal with high energy incidental Great Lakes. And those people had to sit in the room and balance off the pros and cons of their scientific equation and I think it was a really good exercise, we came up with some really good solutions that took into consideration all the engineering concepts, all the biological concepts and some of the planning. We could take that a step further, where an individual RAP which has some specific problems, we could get people to come in and look at these specific problems. These people have dealt with these issues elsewhere, they're not the same ones, but they are the same concept, same principles. We could accomplish something in a much more efficient manner, much more quickly and come up with better results. I think everything that we do in the RAPs can fall under this type of an umbrella.
Allegra Cangelosi - You've got the concern that many of the RAPs are confronting similar technical problems where the ideas of other RAPs could be useful as far as fashioning that locally based and generated program for that area. I see that a lot of the RAPS are heading toward what are still intractable discussions that could hold them up, like how clean is clean. When you're using a regulation or a Superfund as the gorilla in the closet. There is some decisionmaking that needs to happen so these RAPs can determine much to put into the cleanup and what their end product should be. Siting facilities and some similar things have held up projects for decades and there won't be a one size fits all in that regard either. Another role for the IJC might be to convene folks from around the basin to at least begin the discussion and plot the bearings that can lead to solutions so that as these RAPs begin to move into that stage there's been some ground work laid in dealing with these difficult questions.
Mary Beth Binns - But walking into Wingspread, it sort of gave me this analogy, that if you take Wingspread from this location and you move it to somewhere else or you build Wingspread in another place, is Wingspread then still a piece of art? Once you do it once, once you've explored or exploited, the level of creativity here, then can you just move it some place else and is it still creative? So when we were talking about pillars I kind of held my tongue. I believe the concept of creativity is probably captured by the notion of available resources. I think creativity is a really scary thing. If you as a kid didn't get to figure paint or mess with clay or sing at the top of your lungs at the dinner table; you might not consider yourselve to be a creative person. And that's really what we are talking about here. If we're going to make home grown solutions and we are grabbing at these ghosts of the notion of transferability. We are all going to be frustrated. We're all going to sit here and say what do we do. If we sit down and we focus locally and energize our creative powers then we will get home grown solutions, but paramount is the local vision. It's who sets the need. Who says I need this, and I'm saying that it's got to be locally derived.
James Murray - Maybe a couple of analogies to what was learned at Wingspread if you want a cantilevered patio, that's a local decision. If you wish to do that you could come here and learn how far you can do that before the thing's going to fall down. I think we can all learn from each other's endeavors. That's why it's beneficial to bring our failures also, to discuss what didn't work. What everybody said is if we can sit down amongst ourselves, synergism helps, but we need to have some direction too. Now, the other part that binds us, this is a local decision. Is it a local decision to have human waste in the river? If I live downstream from you, is it your local decision whether you can have human waste in the river or is it, no, we've all agreed that we don't want to have human waste in the river? It's your local decision in regard to how you are going to get it out, not your local decision whether it's going to be there or not. Now I think that's the ethic that's binding us all together. Yeah that is local. It's local how to achieve the ethic, not whether you're going to meet it or not.
Mary Beth Binns - With Wingspread, the goal was not to create a stable structure, the goal is to create an art form. The need was to create a beautiful piece of art.
James Murray - I think they were trying to do both.
Jim Martin - Jim Murray's point was if the local decision is to design something similar to or based on Wingspread, the experience of Wingspread can help you do it wherever you want to do it. That was a clarification of the kind of tension we were talking about. Mr. Murray went on to say that the local people have the choice of how to reach an end point, but not whether or not they would reach the end point.
Mary Beth Binns - I think the example that I have that I draw upon from my own RAP, is the issue of the standards, the rules that were set for our navigation channel. Our navigation channel will not be fishable, swimmable and that was not a U.S. EPA decision, that was not an Ohio EPA decision, that was a locally generated decision.
Gail Krantzberg - I'm having a lot of difficulty with this sort of nervousness about adapting somebody else's initiative to your own local situation. I'm not sure why we're so nervous about that. In Collingwood, you all know that we had the first Stage 3, obviously. When they started the process, they said well, give us some examples of goals and uses around the basin and we'll have something to think about and the facilitator at the time said we're starting with a blank blackboard. We want them to be developed here, we want you to generate them. So they invented a wheel. And then another RAP invented a wheel, another RAP invented a wheel, and then we said, well we need some evaluation criteria to see which are going to be the preferred remedial measures. Well, get us some sense of what's been done around the basin. Well, nothing had been done around the basin, so we had to invent it, so we invented another wheel. We got phone calls from other areas saying here you have evaluation criteria, can we look at them and then they tailored them to their own use, it became theirs. They didn't just say well, this is what Collingwood did so I guess this is the way it should be done. They said well I don't buy that at all, they didn't think of this, that's an interesting one, we can take from that. I've picked up a lot of ideas sitting here today, the license plate idea. Why can't I take that and adapt it to a local situation. I think that's a phenomenal idea. The idea of cooperative agreements. We've always talked about them. But it just sort of went into the back of my mind and didn't go anywhere. Now I see more merit to it. I learned the merit of some things from other AOCs. You don't take the idea. I guess where I get the sense of fear, is let's not go to a community and say here is a model I think you should use because it's been successful somewhere else. That might be the fear because that's not the way to do it. But say instead, here are a few models that you can consider for your use. It worked there, but it may not suit our purposes. We may need to modify the hell out of it, but here's the general concept. A committee can work with that concept. We don't have all the brains. We might have 28 people working on it. But, we've got a room here with way more expertise than that, so I don't see any real problem with adapting locally grown processes and solutions, but making sure that we don't push them on a community. I guess that's perhaps where the fear is.
Jonathan Solomon - I think the things we need to talk about, are 1) changes in roles, and 2) society's reaction to change. The first day we got here and we heard by all four speakers, there's no money. Regardless of how they said it or why they say it, they are saying there's no money and essentially that should tell you that their roles are going to change. They are not necessarily going to be giving handouts. You got a problem and need funding, you won't be asking them for the cash. They are going to be more like nurturers, or sources of information. When you think about this from the view of the PAC, in Stage 1 and Stage 2, you need a certain amount of expertise. In Stage 3, it's a completely different ball game, we've all said it. What's the ball game? The players have to change. The rules have to change. People need to adjust to different circumstances. Who's successful at this conference in getting it done, the business people at the table. I wish Charles Isely was here today. You look at Rick Brewer, you look at Brett Kaull, you look at James Murray. They're the guys that are getting it done. Why are they getting it done? Because they are moving away what has been successful in Stage 1 and Stage 2 when you were writing documents. I'm an engineer, I'll say you have to move away from the environmentalist kind of tree hugging thing. That was very important and very much needed to reach this stage. But when you start getting into the nitty gritty of implementation, it's time to start bringing people on board in the community, the marketers, the fundraisers, the people who have a business sense in the community, who can go out and get it done. That's what's missing in many RAPs and that's a major hurdle. The hurdles are really there, the first one is the people who led you through Stage 1 and Stage 2, you have to find them a good role in Stage 3. You can't shut them out, you can't push them away, or else you are just going to go around in circles, you're going to offend people and it's going to be detrimental to the process. So, I think, one of the major hurdles is to try and get them involved in another aspect where they still feel good about themselves.
A second thing is when you bring these external people on board, try to build a bit of trust. The next hurdle that we have to face in my PAC is to build cooperative ventures with the State of New York. It's going to be really difficult because when you look at the sociological barriers, I think that's the last point I'd like to make, they're huge. We have got to overcome Canadian and American differences, you've got to forget about them, you've got to go on. As your roles change in what you do and what you don't do, you've got to just drop it. Quite frankly I don't want to hear about what happened 10 or 15 years ago. I think you have to build trust between all the partners, not just the environmentalists, but the businessmen, and unfortunately society tells us that the people who started the RAP can't stand the businessmen, they don't like the ideology. You've got environmentalists around the table who are disrespectful when the businessmen are discussing how they got from point A to point C and vice versa. We have got to break down the sociological barriers. That's not easy, I'm not saying it's easy, but until you get over some of those hurdles, we aren't going to see real progress. You can talk about small infinitesimal differences all day around the table, but it's the big overpowering social situations that, to me, are the biggest hurdles.
Jim Martin - What are the barriers to building trust? Or what are the ways of building trust?
Ava Hottman - I really want to say something here because I think that RAP organizations and institutions and arrangements and associations evolve, but I think the concept we need to hold is one of an expanding umbrella as opposed to you go away, you come back, you go away. I think RAPs in Ohio have been successful because we tried to develop and then expand into the community was the concept, this is your river, what do you want it to be? And then define it in terms of beneficial uses. If you do not have a clear, jointly held water quality vision for the AOC that has been evolving, you will not be successful. The business community that has been leading our RAPs has been involved in the RAP since its inception. They have just now taken responsibility. Actually they've always had a lot of responsibility. They've always been there, they aren't new partners. They've now taken a step forward. I think it's really important, you can't throw away your foundations. We went to the Cuyahoga and said, "This is your river, this is what its been, and this is what it can be. What do you want it to be?" If you have not built that community watershed-based consensus, at least in a core group of key people, your Stage 3, your implementation will always be tottering. What we have to do is go back and shore those things up where they are vulnerable. And I believe you have to be willing to form alliances with organizations that may not share all of your goals but may share part of your goals, and accept them. Where we shared this goal on habitat restoration with this group, the Metro parks. They don't have to come in and spend their time in nonstop meetings on CSOs. But we have to be willing to share your goals with other organizations and institutions. And that's a key point.
Mary Beth Binns - Since it was my point, can I just add 30 seconds to it. If there is no local vision, if there are no local goals, then it seems like the most important role that the state and federal agencies can play, can continue to play, is constituency building. It's all about constituency building.
Bob Townsend - Just like to say something about implementation and fundamentals. Ava, you're hitting on that really hard and I've heard the words use impairments, I think those are important. I think we have to go back and remind ourselves of what the fundamentals are. I can't help but think about the pretreatment program 10 years ago, the development and the implementation of that went through a similar phase. Very complex. The basis of it was delegation to local communities and any time we ran into trouble with it, we just kept thinking what are the objectives, what are the fundamentals that we are trying to accomplish, keep communicating them and it got through and it's working. We're not able to check up on it as much as we'd like, but it's working. And in RAPs, our fundamentals are use impairments. If we hit a stumbling block then we just remind ourselves what they are and keep going.
Rick Brewer - We view our multimillion dollar project as though it should be run like a business, and in any business you usually have a strategic plan that pretty well defines the critical path and lays out the general milestones at least that you have to meet and the time frames. The only way that you can really measure whether you're successful or not is to have something to measure your performance against and I think that also brings gratitude to the people that are working on the project. We're in the process of developing our comprehensive management plan which will define that critical plan and define everything that has to done and define timelines. We are going to condense that once it's done, by the way. I think you need that. I think you need accountability. But I think a strategic plan for each individual situation is what you need and you can take all of the tools we've talked and apply them to that strategic plan where it fits best, but you need something to work against.
Commissioner Chamberlin - I want to thank you for building some pillars for us and interestingly what I'm struck by is that there are pillars, and I'm very struck by the differences that people had in what they thought was important and the exchange we've had here and I think that's positive. I think it's really a good thing that the people are taking away different ideas, ideas that are important to them and Dick Kinch I want to thank you very much for allowing us to be here to do that. I also want to encourage all of you to be in touch with our staff about this conference to give us some feedback. Not about the substance, but about the conference and how you think we can improve. We're always anxious to hear that and so please do that. I just want to say in closing that this is a wonderful place to have a conference. As I came out here, PBS was doing a little series on democracy in America, and I thought they should be filming here. Whoever made the comment that this is a new form of government is exactly right. This is community development, play your spades bottom up, it's very, very exciting, so thank you all for your input. Thank you for coming. Thank you very much.
Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
323 Lakeside Avenue, Room 400
Cleveland, OH 44413
(216) 443-3716 FAX: (216) 443-3737
Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
Atrium Office Plaza
668 Euclid Avenue, 4th Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114-3000
FAX: (216) 621-3024
Lake Michigan Federation
647 West Virginia Street, #307
Milwaukee, WI 53204
FAX: (414) 271-0796
Mary Beth Binns
Environmental Planning Coordinator
Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization
Atrium Office Plaza
668 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114-3000
FAX: (216) 621-3024
RMI Environmental Services
P.O. Box 579
Ashtabula, OH 44005-0579
FAX: (216) 993-1995
Robert L. Burris
Great Lakes Water Quality
Ohio Lake Erie Office
Natural Resource Conservation Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
One Maritime Plaza, 4th Floor
Toledo, OH 43604-1866
FAX: (419) 245-2519
Jeffrey L. Busch
Ohio Lake Erie Office
One Maritime Plaza, 4th Floor
Toledo, OH 43604-1866
FAX: (419) 245-2519
Senior Policy Analyst
Northeast Midwest Institute
218 D Street S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
FAX: (202) 544-0043
United States Section
International Joint Commission
1250 - 23rd Street, N.W., Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20440
FAX: (202) 736-9015
Lake Superior Environmental Programs
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
1194 Dawson Road
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E3
FAX: (807) 768-1889
Harold J. Day
College of Environmental Science
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
FAX: (414) 465-2376
Susan M. Gilbertson
U.S. EPA, Region V
W-16J 77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
FAX: (312) 886-7804
Public Advisory Committee
Metro Toronto and Region Remedial Action Plan
410 Queen's Quay West, Suite 300
Toronto, ON M5V 2Z3
FAX: (416) 954-0366
Great Lakes Unit Supervisor
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 7921, 101 S. Webster St.
Madison, WI 53707-9352
FAX: (608) 267-2800
Division of Surface Water
P.O. Box 163669, 1800 WaterMark Dr.
Columbus, OH 43216-3669
FAX: (614) 644-2329
Charles C. Isely III
Lake County Chamber of Commerce
5221 West Grand Avenue
Gurnee, IL 60031-1818
FAX: (708) 249-3892
Great Lakes United
17 Major Street
Kitchener, ON N2H 4R1
FAX: (519) 744-1546
Mr. Brett Kaull
U.S. Representative Steve LaTourette
Washington, D.C. 20515
FAX: (202) 225-3307
St. Lawrence River Public Advisory Committee
St. Andrews West, ON K0C 2A0
FAX: (613) 938-2670
Great Lakes Regional Office
International Joint Commission
P.O. Box 32869
Detroit, MI 48232-2869
FAX: (519) 257-6740
Environment Canada/Environment Ontario
P.O. Box 5050, 867 Lakeshore Rd.
Burlington, ON L7R 4A6
Mary Ann Koth
Duluth Gov't. Serv. Center
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
320 West 2nd Street, Room 704
Duluth, MN 55802
FAX: (218) 723-4727
Program Development Branch
Ontario Ministry of Environment & Energy
40 St. Clair Ave. W., 11th Floor
Toronto, ON M4V 1M2
FAX: (416) 314-3924
Kapur & Martin Associates
112 Newbridge Crescent
Brampton, ON L6S 4B3
FAX: (905) 455-9155
Peter C. McCarthy, P.E.
Director of Technical Services
Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District
P.O. Box 19015, 2231 North Quincy Street
Green Bay, WI 54307-9015
FAX: (414) 432-4302
Great Lakes Regional Office
International Joint Commission
P.O. Box 32869
Detroit, MI 48232-2869
FAX: (519) 257-6740
Rouge Education Project
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
38980 Seven Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48152
Wayne County Dept. of Environment
415 Clifford, 7th Floor
Detroit, MI 48226
FAX: (313) 224-0045
Environmental Health Division
Monroe County Department of Health
350 E. Henrietta Rd., Bldg. 5
Rochester, NY 14620
FAX: (716) 274-7734
Mr. Jonathan Solomon
Niagara River Remedial Action Plan
5017 Victoria Avenue
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 4C9
FAX: (905) 374-5064
Office of Special Activities
U.S. EPA, Region V
WQW-16J 77 West Jackson
Chicago, IL 60604
FAX: (312) 886-7804
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12233-3501
FAX: (518) 485-7786
International Joint Commission
1250 - 23rd Street, N.W., Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20440
FAX: (202) 736-9015
International Joint Commission
100 Metcalfe St., 18th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1
FAX: (613) 993-5583
International Joint Commission
100 Metcalfe St., 18th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1
FAX: (613) 993-5583
The Johnson Foundation Staff
Senior Program Officer
FAX: (419) 681-3325
Deborah L. Redmond
Conference Support Specialist
FAX: (414) 681-3327