02/05/2020- After 30 years of pollution cleanup and restoration efforts, the Wisconsin DNR and Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy are ready to remove the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern from a list of the 43 most polluted places on the Great Lakes. It’s an achievement that’s been decades in the making since the three-mile stretch of river was designated as an AOC in 1987. Stephen Galarneau, DNR Office of Great Waters Director, says the river was plagued by severe coal tar, paint sludge, and arsenic contamination, impacting everything from fish habitats to wildlife to recreational use, but a collaborative effort by state and federal agencies, along with local stakeholders has brought new life to the waterway.
Galarneau says the condition of the river was holding communities along its shoreline back from fully utilizing this important resource and this AOC delisting opens the door to a host of new opportunities.
The delisting proposal for the Lower Menominee River AOC was made by the Wisconsin DNR and Michigan EGLE and supported by the Lower Menominee River AOC Technical and Citizens Advisory Committees. A public meeting is being planned for April to give residents more information about the delisting process, as well as opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback. Once complete, this will be Wisconsin’s first of five AOCs to be delisted.