Maumee River quality improves, leading to removal of degraded designation
In response to recommendations from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and the Ohio EPA earlier this year, the US EPA agreed to remove “restrictions on the consumption of fish and wildlife” from the Maumee Area of Concern.
BUIs identify specific issues that can prevent a body of water from achieving its full water quality potential. In 1990, the Maumee AOC advisory committee identified 10 BUIs that needed to be addressed. The Maumee Area of Concern includes the lower Maumee River and smaller streams found primarily in Wood, Lucas and Ottawa counties.
The health of fish and wildlife within the AOC has improved dramatically over the past 30 years, making food safer for people. This prompted OLEC and the Ohio EPA to request that the deficiency designation be removed from the BUI list. Recommendations for fish consumption within AOC Maumee are now in line with state standards for one meal per week.
This milestone was achieved through the collaborative efforts of dedicated local, state and federal partners.
In July, OLEC and the Ohio EPA issued an invitation for public comment as part of the removal recommendation process, and no comments opposing removal of the BUI were received. OLEC and the Ohio EPA continue to move toward removing the remaining eight BUIs with local AOC partners. As each BUI removal goal is achieved, OLEC, in partnership with the Ohio EPA, will notify the community, seek public comment, and submit additional BUI removal recommendations to the US EPA.
Further information on the improvements and remaining deficiencies in the Maumee Area of Concern is available online: www.maumeeaoc.org.
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established to preserve the natural resources of Lake Erie, protect the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and promote economic development in the region.
The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is the chairman of the commission. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of transportation, health, developmental services, agriculture, natural resources, and seven other members of the public appointed by the governor.