Detroit River Area of Concern
On April 17, 1998, Environment Canada ,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality signed a Four Agency Letter of Commitment. The Letter outlined agency roles and responsibilities during implementation of the Remedial Action Plans for the St. Clair River, Detroit River and St. Marys River binational Areas of Concern.
The Agencies have worked in partnership to further clarify areas of joint leadership and responsibility. A Compendium of Position Papers has been written and describes how the agencies work together to provide leadership for the RAPs, by involving the public, monitoring and reporting on progress, with the ultimate goal of delisting the Areas of Concern. The Compendium was signed on February 2, 2000.
Separate RAP implementation frameworks have been developed for the Canadian and American sides of the Detroit River AOC that reflect local needs. Members of committees from each process are encouraged to participate in meetings and events in both countries, so that they are aware of activites and progress on both sides of the river.
In 1998, the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup Committee (DRCCC) was established to "cleanup, enhance and sustain the ecosystem of the Detroit River and its Canadian watersheds". The Committee was a community-based partnership of industry, government, academic, environmental and community organizations. The DRCCC worked on the Canadian side of the river to implement the RAP recommendations.
In 2003, an Implementation Specialist joined the Committee and assumed the role of Secretariat. A main priority for the Implementation Specialist was to develop and implement a strategy to re-energize the Remedial Action Plan process. Funding for the Implementation Specialist is provided by Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
In 2004, the DRCCC was reorganized to better facilitate progress towards delisting, and to encourage participants to contribute where their interests and experience are most ideally suited. The new Detroit River Canadian Cleanup effort is made up of two separate groups: an Implementation and Outreach Group and a Public Advisory Council. The Implementation and Outreach Group consists of three Committees: a Steering Committee, an Implementation Committee, and an Outreach Committee. Public input on the process is provided by the Detroit River Canadian Public Advisory Council (DRPAC), which includes representatives of the general public, community groups, academia, local business associations and labour. The Implementation Specialist continues to have a central Secretariat role in the new structure by coordinating activities of the Implementation and Outreach Group and serving as a local resource for individual project implementers.
The Four Agencies will treat the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and Detroit River holistically, using a watershed approach. For the St. Clair and Detroit River RAPs, monitoring activities are occurring locally to address the needs of the AOCs. Meanwhile, a monitoring committee for the corridor has been established with representatives from the Four Agencies. In the past, the corridor monitoring committee has conducted biennial inventories of monitoring activities underway within the corridor. An annual Great Lakes basinwide monitoring inventory has been proposed by those responsible for overseeing binational Great Lakes programs. The corridor monitoring committee will evaluate the opportunity to integrate their inventory needs into the basinwide inventory. This will allow the committee to focus on improving access to monitoring information to support management decisions.
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