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EPA seeks public comment on Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Michigan’s application to implement water quality standards

Contact Information: 
Allison Lippert (

CHICAGO (April 8, 2019) – The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Michigan has requested U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval to regulate water quality for all surface waters bodies within the L’Anse Reservation. EPA is currently reviewing the tribe’s application and will accept public comments until May 23, 2019.

The tribe applied to EPA for “treatment in a similar manner as a state” for the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(c) Water Quality Standards and 401 Certification programs. EPA’s approval would allow the tribe to develop and maintain water quality standards on waters and tributaries on its reservation, with the exception of Keweenaw Bay. The tribe would also be able to issue water quality certifications for certain federal licenses or permits within the reservation. If approved, tribes would be eligible to submit water quality standards to EPA for approval under CWA Section 303. Development of such standards would remain subject to all requirements of EPA’s regulations (including requirements for notice and comment).

The tribe proposes to establish water quality standards for: Bella Lake Creek, Bishop Lake, Camp Creek, Dakota Creek, Daults Creek, Dead Man's Creek, Denomie Creek, Gomanche Creek (and its tributaries), Kallio Creek, Kelsey Creek, Laughs/Laws/Lost Lake, Linden Creek, Little Carp River, Little Silver Creek, Meadow Creek, Mud Lakes and Sloughs, Page Creek, Pekkala Creek, Pequaming Sloughs and Wetland, Pinery Lakes, Robillard Creek, Sand Point Sloughs, Silver River (and its tributaries),Third Lake (including its inlet creek), Unlabeled #1 Creek into Huron Bay, Unlabeled # 2 Creek into Huron Bay and Unlabeled # 3 Creek into Huron Bay (and tributaries for those water bodies).

The Clean Water Act and several other environmental laws authorize EPA to treat federally recognized Indian tribes in a similar manner as a state for implementing and managing certain environmental programs. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • have a governing body carrying out substantial governmental duties and powers,
  • have appropriate authority, and
  • be capable of carrying out the functions of the program.

A copy of the complete application with supporting maps is available for review on EPA’s public notices website: