Contact(s): Stephen Galarneau, DNR Office of Great Waters Director, 608-266-1956, Stephen.Galarneau@wisconsin.gov
March 11, 2020 at 11:09:36 am
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy are hosting public informational meetings on April 8 and 9,about the proposal to delist the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern. The agencies also invite public review and comments on the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern Draft Final Delisting Report from March 9 through April 24. The report is available online at this link. Paper copies are also available by request.
The April 8 meeting is scheduled from 5-7 PM CST at the University of Wisconsin-Marinette Campus in the main building cafeteria, located at 750 West Bay Shore Street, Marinette, WI 54143. The April 9 meeting is scheduled from 6-8 PM CST at Murray's Irish Pub and Grill located at 715 1st Street, Menominee, MI 49858.
Both meetings will give people more information about the pollution cleanup and habitat restoration work that was accomplished in the Lower Menominee River AOC and what the delisting process entails, as well as opportunities for people to ask questions and provide feedback to the agencies.
Additionally, the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern Citizens Advisory Committee is hosting a public program on March 12 to share more about the community's role in the pollution cleanup and habitat restoration, the history of the AOC and to explore ideas for what is next to continue stewardship of these waters. The event will be held at the Ironworks, located at 1333 Main St. Marinette, WI 54143, from 5-7:30 PM CST.
The delisting proposal is made by the Wisconsin DNR Office of Great Waters, Michigan EGLE and supported by the Lower Menominee River AOC Technical and Citizens Advisory Committees. Both Wisconsin and Michigan provided the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office with a preliminary report earlier this year that summarized the reasons for delisting.
The U.S. EPA then took the next step in the delisting process to seek input on the proposal from tribal representatives and the International Joint Commission, which is an agency created by a U.S. and Canadian treaty to resolve disputes over waters along our shared border. These comments were then incorporated into the draft delisting report that is now available for public review and comments.
The international Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada was amended in 1987 to create an "Areas of Concern" program to clean up Great Lakes rivers and harbors most severely affected by pollution and habitat loss.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin meet at the Menominee River, which flows into Lake Michigan's Green Bay. Environmental harm by historical pollution from coal tar, paint sludge and arsenic earned the lower three miles of the river plus the Green Bay shoreline-three miles north and south of the river mouth-an AOC designation.
The Lower Menominee River was listed as having six problems, called "Beneficial Use Impairments" in the AOC Program. All six of these impairments have been addressed, so now the agencies aim to "delist" or remove the "Area of Concern" designation from the Lower Menominee River. This will be Wisconsin's first of five AOCs to be delisted.
Significant funding for the pollution cleanup and restoration work was provided by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the U.S. EPA. Wisconsin and Michigan share responsibility for the river's rehabilitation, and the states have worked closely with each other and with local citizens to address the pollution and habitat loss. Many local and federal agencies have been important partners as well.
The agencies welcome public comments on the delisting report. Questions and comments may be directed to:
Brianna Kupsky, Wisconsin's Lower Menominee River AOC Coordinator
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Office of Great Waters
2984 Shawano Ave. Green Bay, Wisconsin 54313
920-662-5465 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Swart, Michigan's Lower Menominee River AOC Coordinator
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
P.O. Box 30473. Lansing, Michigan 48909
517-284-5046 or SwartS@michigan.gov