The St. Louis River is among 43 Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes and it is one of the largest AOCs geographically. AOCs are places that were polluted by common past practices of dumping untreated waste on land and water. The pollutants in the bottom of the river have degraded the habitat for fish and wildlife and contribute to human health risks. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada calls upon states and the federal government to clean up these areas.
From the original Remedial Action Plan, nine issues were identified that need to be addressed before the St. Louis River can be taken off the Areas of Concern list. The first two listed are current priorities for removal.
- Degradation of aesthetics
- Fish tumors and deformities
- Fish consumption advisories
- Degraded fish and wildlife populations
- Degradation of benthos
- Restrictions on dredging
- Excessive loading of nutrients and sediments
- Beach closings and body contact
- Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
Helping to address these issues is just one of the ways that St. Louis River Alliance has made a difference by partnering with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies to clean up and restore the St. Louis River. The Alliance is a citizen-based nonprofit organization that has a mission to protect, restore and enhance the St. Louis River.