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Great Lakes AOCs

About St. Clair River AOC

map showing the state approved boundary of the St. Clair River AOCSt. Clair River AOC Boundary MapSt. Clair River was labeled an Area of Concern under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Contaminated sediments and water affect fish, wildlife, and recreation. $21 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative helped remediate and restore this AOC. Of the ten environmental impairments originally present, four remain.

AOC Boundaries

The St. Clair River flows southward through Michigan about 40 miles connecting the southern tip of Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair. The river branches into several channels near its mouth at Lake St. Clair, creating a broad delta region. The Area of Concern includes these important wetlands from St. Johns Marsh on the west to the north shore of Mitchell's Bay in Ontario. The river is part of the boundary between the United States and Canada.

Sources of Pollution

  • Unregulated discharges from municipal and industrial facilities, including petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturers, paper mills, salt producers and electric power plants
  • Waste disposal sites
  • Landfills
  • Urban and agricultural runoff
  • Atmospheric deposition

These sources have contributed PCBs, mercury, heavy metals, phosphorus and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Beneficial Use Impairments

Beneficial Use Impairments for the Great Lakes AOCs

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Tainting of fish and wildlife flavor – REMOVED 2012
  • Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor
  • Beach closings – REMOVED 2017
  • Degradation of aesthetics – REMOVED 2012
  • Bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems – REMOVED 2017
  • Added costs to agriculture or industry – REMOVED 2011
  • Degradation of benthos – REMOVED 2014
  • Restriction on dredging activities – REMOVED 2009
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat  – REMOVED 2017


Restoring St. Clair River AOC (timeline)

St. Clair AOC Highlighted Projects


The following links exit the site Exit

In 1988, the Friend of St. Clair River Binational Public Advisory Council 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. EPA and MDEQ will informally participate in that committee as needed.