Learn
about Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and their watersheds.
Protect
Wisconsin´s Great Lakes from invasive species and pollution.
Restore
critical Great Lakes habitat and lakeshore value.
Share
your Great Lakes photos and writings.
Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Kendra Axness
LaMP and AOC Coordinator
Office of the Great Lakes
608–267–0700

Area of Concern (AOC) Restoration/Sediments

The Great Lakes and the rivers that feed them have been historically important centers of trade and industry in Wisconsin. As cities grew around these economic hubs, river and harbor sediments were polluted by chemicals. Important fish and wildlife habitat was lost. Today, the pollution and habitat loss cause problems for fish and wildlife and diminish our ability to fully use and enjoy the rivers and lakes.

The Great Lakes rivers and harbors that have been most severely affected by pollution and habitat loss are labeled as "Areas of Concern," or AOCs. These are geographically–defined sites that need special attention. They were designated in 1987 as part of an international agreement between the U.S. and Canada known as the "Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement" [exit DNR]. Wisconsin has five Areas of Concern: the St. Louis River on Lake Superior; the Lower Menominee River; Lower Green Bay and Fox River; Sheboygan River; and Milwaukee Estuary on Lake Michigan. The goal of the AOC program is to clean up and restore these areas so that they are comparable to similar areas on the Great Lakes.


DNR’s Office of the Great Lakes is providing leadership for cleaning up these areas in the following ways:

  • providing a long–term vision and plan for the Great Lakes in Wisconsin;
  • ensuring that everyone who lives in and visits Wisconsin can use and enjoy our Great Lakes waters;
  • developing a common understanding of the steps, decisions, and roles in the AOC Program;
  • bringing citizens, nonprofit organizations, municipal leaders, and agencies together to restore the Great Lakes; and
  • sharing the good news about the work that is being accomplished.

Read more about the progress being made in Wisconsin’s AOCs in "Healing Our Rivers & Harbors" [PDF], a special insert to the August 2013 issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Last revised: Thursday June 19 2014