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River Raisin Area of Concern

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River Raisin Area of Concern
Monroe, Michigan

Contact Information

U.S. EPA RAP Liaison
Scott Cieniawski
U.S. EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd. (G-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604-3507

State RAP Contact
Michelle Selzer
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Water Bureau
525 W. Allegan Street
P.O. Box 30273
Lansing, MI 48909

River Raisin PAC Chair
Dan Stefanski
Monroe County Drain Commissioner
1005 South Raisinville Road
Monroe, MI 48161



The River Raisin Area of Concern (AOC) is located in the southeastern portion of Michigan's Lower Peninsula in Monroe County. The AOC has been defined as the lower (2.6 miles) portion of the River Raisin, downstream from the low head dam (Dam #6) at Winchester Bridge in the City of Monroe, extending one-half mile out into Lake Erie following the Federal Navigation Channel and along the nearshore zone of Lake Erie, both north and south, for one mile.

River Raisin priorities include remediation of PCB contaminated sediments, nonpoint source pollution control, and elimination of CSOs.

Current Projects

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

River Raisin AoC Boundary Map

River Raisin AOC Boundary Map (PDF) (1pg, 350K)

River Raisin shape file (ZIP) (94K)

Beneficial Use Impairments

The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) process for the River Raisin AOC identified nine of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement's 14 beneficial uses as being impaired. The beneficial use impairments (BUIs) identified include Restrictions on Fish & Wildlife Consumption, Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations, Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems, Degradation of Benthos, Restrictions on Dredging Activities, Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae, Beach Closings, Degradation of Aesthetics, and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat.

These impairments have been primarily caused by historical discharges of oils and grease, heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the river from industrial facilities in the area. Additionally, industrial and municipal waste disposal sites adjacent to the river are suspected of contaminating the river.

For further information on River Raisin BUIs, see the RAP documents listed in the Significant RAP Milestones section below.

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Delisting Targets

The 2002 River Raisin RAP Update (draft) (PDF) (21pp, 851K) includes qualitative goals for the restoration of BUIs in the River Raisin AOC. In 2006, the River Raisin Public Advisory Council (PAC) will decide whether to adopt the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) Guidance for Delisting Michigan's Great Lakes Areas of Concern (PDF) (61pp, 508K) Exit disclaimer, or to refine the criteria to reflect local goals.

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RAP Development and Status

The first River Raisin RAP (PDF) (188pp, 6.1MB) document was completed and sent to the International Joint Commission in 1987. The purpose of the document was to compile and analyze existing river data and to recommend actions for addressing known environmental problems associated with the River Raisin AOC. Among numerous causes of water quality impairment, the RAP identified contaminated sediments from PCBs as the primary pollutant of concern.

In 2002, the RAP was updated to provide a current assessment of water quality in the AOC. The River Raisin RAP Update (draft) (PDF) (21pp, 851K) identified nine BUIs for the River Raisin AOC.

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Significant RAP Milestones

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RAP Implementation

Recent progress and achievements

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RAP-Related Publications

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This 1,800-foot long pier, located along the discharge canal from the Monroe Power Plant, is a popular fishing and bird watching spot on the River Raisin.

an earth mover removes contaminated soil from a canal

Removal of contaminated soil from a canal that had leached toxic substances from a former paper mill and city landfill site near the River Raisin.

EPA's research vessel Lake Guardian

US EPA's Research Vessel Lake Guardian moored in the River Raisin AOC during the 2005 Lake Erie monitoring season.

Power Plant with American Lotus in the foreground

The DTE Energy Monroe Power Plant located along the River Raisin AOC is a Wildlife Habitat Council-certified site. Large beds of the protected American Lotus (in the foreground of the photograph) are established in the river near the power plant and provide important fish and wildlife habitat.

sign for fishing access site

The pier built by DTE Energy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides the local community with fishing access in the River Raisin AOC.

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