Years of unrestricted dumping of pollutants into the Great Lakes have created several trouble zones where even fish can no longer live. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes these hot spots as “a location that has experienced environmental degradation,” dubbed Areas of Concern (AOC). Michigan’s U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both members of the Great Lakes Task Force, recently announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is awarding $7.9 million to fund habitat restoration projects in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The Great Lakes Commission will lead a regional partnership in coordination with NOAA, the Great Lakes states and local agencies.
The U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement designates AOCs as sites with the worst legacies of toxic contamination and environmental degradation in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The EPA currently lists 11 different AOCs in the State of Michigan.
A list of the 43 AOCs identified includes 26 located entirely within the United States, 12 located wholly within Canada, and 5 that are shared by both nations. To see the areas of concern on a regional map of the Great Lakes check out this link: