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St. Clair River

Contact Information

U.S. EPA RAP Liaison
Rose Ellison
(ellison.rosanne@epa.gov)
734-692-7689
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Southeast Michigan Field Office
9311 Groh Road
Grosse Ile, MI 48138-1697

State RAP Contact
Laura A. Esman
(esmanl@michigan.gov)
517-241-8878
Water Bureau
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
525 W. Allegan Street
P.O. Box 30273

St. Clair River Binational Public Advisory Council
Patty Troy
(patty.troy@nstarch.com)
810-984-5736
U.S. Chair
6318 Rynn Road
North Street, MI 48049

Bela Trebics
(bela.trebics@penske.com)
Canadian Chair

Canadian Contacts
Jennifer Vincent
(jenn.vincent@ec.gc.ca)
905-336-6274
Environment Canada – Ontario Region
867 Lakeshore Road
Burlington ON L7R 4A6

Ted Briggs
(ted.briggs@ene.gov.on.ca)
519-873-5064
Ontario Ministry of the Environment
733 Exeter Road
London, ON N6E 1L3

Frequent Acronyms

You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

St. Clair River AoC Boundary Map

St. Clair River AOC Boundary Map (PDF) (1pg, 235K)

St. Clair River shape file (ZIP) (165K)

Background

The St. Clair River flows southward about 40 miles (64 km) connecting the southern tip of Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair. The river is part of the boundary between the United States and Canada.

The St. Clair River branches into several channels near its mouth at Lake St. Clair, creating a broad delta region. The Area of Concern (AOC) includes these important wetlands from St. Johns Marsh on the west (near Anchor Bay) to the north shore of Mitchell's Bay in Ontario.

Agriculture is the predominant land use within the river's watershed, but intensive development has occurred in and near the cities of Port Huron and Sarnia. The heaviest concentration of industry (including a large petrochemical complex) lies along the Ontario shore near Sarnia. Several communities along the St. Clair rely on the river as their primary source of drinking water. Industries -- including petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturers, paper mills, salt producers and electric power plants -- need high quality water for their operations as well. Ships carrying cargo between the upper and lower Great Lakes ply the St. Clair River.

St. Clair River RAP priorities include contaminated sediment remediation on the Canadian side of the river, elimination of CSOs and SSOs on both sides of the river, elimination of spills to the river from "Chemical Valley" downstream of Sarnia, Ontario, and ensuring proper notification when spills do occur.

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Beneficial Use Impairments

For further information on St. Clair River beneficial use impairments, see the RAP documents listed in the Significant RAP Milestones section below.

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Delisting Targets

St. Clair River AOC has some general delisting targets incorporated in the Stage 2 RAP and updates. The delisting criteria are not specific enough to determine restoration success for all of the BUIs. In 2006, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will work with the Binational Public Advisory Council, U.S. EPA, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and Environment Canada to refine the delisting criteria based on current U.S. and Canadian federal and state guidance and standards.

Delisting Targets for Loss of Fish/Wildlife Habitat Beneficial Use Impairment (PDF) (48pp, 2.60MB) November 2012

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RAP Development and Status

The St. Clair River AOC Stage 1 Remedial Action Plan was released in 1992. It identified the BUIs in the St. Clair River, described the extent and scope of the impairments, and discussed the causes of water quality degradation in the AOC.

A Stage 2 document was completed in 1995 which identified the water use goals, and remedial actions needed, and outlined an implementation strategy. An Implementation Annex was completed in 1997 which summarized measures to date and identified further implementation commitments for the U.S. and Canadian sides of the AOC. A Stage 1 Update was also prepared in 1997.

In 2005, Environment Canada and Ontario Ministry of the Environment, with input from MDEQ and U.S. EPA, took the lead in preparing a St. Clair River AOC Progress Report to evaluate current status of the BUIs in the river.

The United States and Canada have pledged their cooperation to restore the shared upper connecting channel AOCs (St. Marys, St. Clair, and Detroit Rivers) under the terms of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The St. Clair River AOC is managed under a binational governance structure created under the Four Agency Letter of Commitment Exit disclaimer that was signed on April 17, 1998, by Environment Canada, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Significant RAP Milestones

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RAP Implementation

Recent progress and achievements

Current projects and outlook

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RAP-Related Publications

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Community Involvement

In 1988, the St. Clair River Binational Public Advisory Council Exit disclaimer (BPAC) was formed to ensure continuous public participation in the RAP, and to advise staff from the Four Agencies working on implementation of the St. Clair River RAP. The BPAC includes representatives from various economic sectors, first nations, municipalities, and the public.

In fall 2005, a Canadian St. Clair River RAP Implementation Committee was re-established to guide implementation of the remaining remedial actions on the Canadian side of the AOC. U.S. EPA and MDEQ will informally participate in that committee as needed.

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Photos

Aerial view of the Roberta Stewart wetland during restoration

Aerial view of the Roberta Stewart wetland during restoration.

Aerial view of the Robert Stewart wetland after restoration

Aerial view of the Roberta Stewart wetland after restoration.

The Pidgeon March Project - 2001 restoration

The Pidgeon Marsh Project -- fall 2004 - following the 2001 restoration.

The Pidgeon Marsh Project - Fall 2004

Pidgeon Marsh Project - fall 2004

View of the Roberta Stewart wetland after restoration; a good example of work to restore the fish and wildlife habitat beneficial use impairment

View of the Roberta Stewart wetland after restoration; a good example of work to restore the fish and wildlife habitat beneficial use impairment.


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