Response to Recommendations
Areas of Concern
6. Governments implement the eight recommendations presented in the Commission's report, Beacons of Light, that deal with human health, public-private partnerships, funding and staffing, public participation, information transfer, quantification of environmental benefits and public advisory council funding.
COA partners are currently involved in a review of the LaMP and RAP programs in the Great Lakes basin, in order to streamline the process and optimize the resources available. This review involves a stock-taking by the partners for various elements of the program including monitoring and surveillance, human health, resourcing, implementation frameworks and public participation. The Beacons of Light recommendations that are appropriate will be incorporated into the RAP process through the outcomes of this review exercise.
7. Governments review the current environmental status and programs in place to address environmental issues in the Lake St. Clair and the St. Joseph River areas, and report this information to the Commission, so that the Commission may direct the Great Lakes Water Quality Board to advise on their possible designation as Areas of Concern under the Agreement.
Canada does not believe that the designation of Lake St. Clair as an AOC is warranted at this time. Canada has reviewed the report and recommendations made by the Macomb County Blue Ribbon Commission on Lake St. Clair and is currently reviewing its own environmental data and programs. Following this review, further specific actions that may be warranted to address the environmental issues in Lake St. Clair will be identified. Based on a preliminary assessment most of the issues appear to be local in nature and can best be addressed by local jurisdictions. Mechanisms and agencies are in place to deal with these issues.
The relative small volume and rapid flushing of the lake means it is very sensitive to upstream and tributary influences. Given the substantial progress that has been made in the St. Clair AOC, where point source discharges of critical pollutants have been reduced significantly and the zone of sediment contamination has shrunk by more than 75% since 1978, it is expected that these improvements will be reflected in the water quality of Lake St. Clair. The main focus of attention needs to be the tributary watersheds on the Canadian side, most notably the Thames and Sydenham. Sources of contamination in these watersheds are being actively addressed.
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