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News Releases from Region 05

EPA, Michigan and Local Officials Mark the Restoration of the River Raisin Area of Concern

Contact Information: 
Peter Cassell (cassell.peter@epa.gov)
312-886-6234, 312-859-9614 (cell)

For Immediate Release   No. 16-OPA034

EPA, Michigan and Local Officials Mark the Restoration of the River Raisin Area of Concern

CHICAGO (Sept. 7, 2016) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Senior Advisor Cameron Davis joined Michigan Office of the Great Lakes Director Jon Allan, Monroe Mayor Robert Clark and local partners in Monroe, Mich., to mark the near completion of restoration work at the River Raisin Area of Concern.

“The River Raisin Area of Concern cleanup is proof positive that Great Lakes Restoration Initiative investments are delivering real, on-the-ground and in-the-water results,” said Davis. “With support from a strong bipartisan alliance of senators, representatives, states, tribes, municipalities, conservation organizations and businesses, the GLRI will keep resuscitating communities and waterways around the Lakes. River Raisin will be the fifth AOC where all cleanup and restoration work has been completed since the start of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2010.”

“This significant accomplishment was achieved through the transformative power of collaboration by communities who have worked for decades to reinvent their relationship with their river for a brighter economic, ecological, and recreational future,” Allan said.

All of the work needed to ready this site for delisting from the binational list of AOCs targeted for cleanup in the U.S.-Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement will be finished this fall. Environmental monitoring will continue at the site. After decades during which only one U.S. AOC was delisted, federal agencies have accelerated cleanup actions during the past six years by using GLRI funding.

 “Today’s announcement is a tremendous achievement that reflects years of hard work by local partners and underscores the importance of federal funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. “With clean up nearly complete, the River Raisin is one step closer to getting a clean bill of health thanks to this federal partnership.”

“I applaud the work to transform the River Raisin Area of Concern into an Area of Recovery, which was made possible in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters. “Not only is protecting Michigan’s Great Lakes and waterways vital for the conservation of the state’s diverse fish and wildlife habitats, but it also helps support critical facets of the state’s economy. Southeast Michigan’s fishing, boating, shipping, and tourism industries all depend on clean water to create jobs and foster growth, and will benefit greatly from this change in designation.”

“Delisting the River Raisin as an Area of Concern will be a tremendous development for the health and vitality of our local waterways and quality of life in our communities,” U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg said. “The Great Lakes ecosystem is a strategic asset for Michigan’s economy and environment, and today’s announcement is an encouraging sign that the targeted conservation investments made by Congress are getting results.”

The River Raisin AOC on the southeast portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in Monroe County was affected primarily by PCBs. Since 2010, EPA has provided more than $27 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding to accelerate implementation of actions to restore the River Raisin AOC . The GLRI funds have leveraged an additional $18 million in state and private funding for AOC work. The federal, state, local, and private partnerships on GLRI projects have remediated over 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, restored over 300 acres of aquatic habitat, and opened up an additional 23 miles of the River Raisin to fish migration and spawning.

The GLRI is the largest Great Lakes-only investment in ecosystem recovery in U.S. history. An 11-member federal department task force, chaired by EPA, invests strategically in addressing the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

For more information on the River Raisin AOC, visit https://www.epa.gov/river-raisin-aoc/about-river-raisin-aoc.

For more information on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit www.glri.us.

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