Great Lakes Areas of Concern: Life After Delisting


The Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) program exists to turn the attention of communities and governments to areas within the Great Lakes that are so environmentally degraded that they require focused, long-term efforts to restore all beneficial uses to the ecosystem and humans. The AOC program provides a framework that directs funding and coordinates projects within AOCs which eventually lead to the cleanup of the contaminated sites. Generally, during the process of AOC delisting - or removing - AOCs from the list of sites, there is considerable concentrated activity towards cleanup of the site and organizing community involvement. Once the cleanup is over, however, communities are faced with the question of how to maintain the remediated site and continue community participation in environmental stewardship. The resources available for a community to conduct monitoring and maintenance of the site are not necessarily available in a neat package, and the sense of local environmental stewardship could wane without a tangible purpose behind which to organize. In addition, the momentum of communities with former AOCs could be harnessed to apply to lake-wide or region-wide cleanup efforts, such as those under the Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs). It should be noted that not all communities experience an increased sense of environmental stewardship during the delisting process, which is discussed in depth in the full report

Ankita Mandelia