St Louis AOC Delisting Targets by BrittanyGibbons

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									Wisconsin Proposed Delisting Targets

St. Louis River Area of Concern Superior, Wisconsin

Prepared for: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Prepared by: Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. 421 Frenette Drive Chippewa Falls, WI 54729-3374 715.720.6200

and

Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. 2200 Commonwealth Blvd, Suite 300 Ann Arbor, MI 48105 734.769.3004

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for funding and coordinating this important initiative. The source of the figure on the report cover is the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) website, http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/stlouis.html. We would like to thank the following technical experts for their input on the delisting targets for the Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs): Paul Baumann, U.S. Geologic Survey, Fish Health Branch Gene Clark, UW Sea Grant Institute, Coastal Natural Hazards Vicki Drake, Douglas County Health Department Sean Hancock, City of Superior Environmental Services Bill Horns, WDNR, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection Jim Hosch, WDNR Bureau of Remediation and Redevelopment Ruth King, WDNR, , Bureau of Watershed Management Frank Koshere, WDNR, Bureau of Watershed Management Steve LaValley, WDNR, Bureau of Watershed Management Sue Marcquenski, WDNR, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection Dennis Pratt, WDNR, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection Steve Schram, WDNR Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection Candy Schrank, WDNR, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection Fred Strand, WDNR, Bureau of Wildlife Management Joel Trick, US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) Kim Walz, WDNR, Office of Great Lakes The Project Team also acknowledges the numerous contributions from members of the St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee (SLRCAC), and thanks them for their efforts, with special recognition given to Phil Monson, Ted Smith, and Bill Majewski for their participation in several monthly meetings during development of the proposed delisting targets. The Project Team also acknowledges the interests and input from other members of the regulatory community including: Mr. Marc Hershfield, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Mr. Pat Carey, MPCA Ms. Elizabeth LaPlante, USEPA GLNPO The Project Team consisted of Mr. John Jereczek, WDNR Lake Superior Binational Program Coordinator Mr. Duane Lahti, WDNR Lake Superior Water Basin Leader Mr. Mark Broses, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) Ms. Charlene Johnson, SEH Mr. Roy Schrameck, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) Dr. Sanjiv Sinha, ECT

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Executive Summary
The St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC) is shared between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This area was designated as one of 43 Great Lakes “Areas of Concern” by the International Joint Commission (IJC). The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the St. Louis River AOC lists the following Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI’s): Fish consumption advisories Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations Fish Tumors and Deformities Degradation of Benthos Restrictions on Dredging Excessive Loading of Nutrients and Sediments to Lake Superior Beach Closings and Body Contact Degradation of Aesthetics Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) strategy includes a milestone that “by the end of 2008, delisting targets for each US AOC should be developed collaboratively by federal, state, local, and tribal partners” In 2004 the St Louis River Citizens Action Committee, (SLRCAC) completed a citizens-based process to propose restoration goals and milestones for each of the BUIs for the St. Louis River AOC. This project has been conducted to ensure that the SLRCAC’s goals were reviewed by relevant WDNR programs, other state programs as needed, and other technical experts as needed to move forward with finalization of delisting targets for each BUI within the AOC by the end of 2008. The project team compiled comments, suggested revisions, acquired necessary technical input from Wisconsin agencies and institutions, and recommended alternatives acceptable to the WDNR. SEH reviewed delisting criteria developed by other jurisdictions and made recommendations as to their utility for this AOC. SEH has worked with WDNR programs, the SLRCAC, the MPCA, other agencies, and the public to develop consensus on delisting targets. The delisting targets presented in this report were completed in May 2007 and provided to the MPCA in draft format for consideration by Minnesota technical reviewers. Once the State of Minnesota process is complete, the SLRCAC will facilitate public participation to produce a “delisting” roadmap document that is accepted by Wisconsin and Minnesota, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, other agencies, and the public. Completion of the process is expected by Fall 2008.

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Table of Contents
Title Page Acknowledgements Executive Summary Table of Contents Page 1.0 2.0 3.0 Introduction................................................................................................................1 Scope of Work............................................................................................................2 Background................................................................................................................3 3.1 Historical Impacts................................................................................................3 3.2 Developments Toward Delisting .........................................................................5 Wisconsin State Programs and Water Quality Standards .....................................7 Relevant Delisting Criteria from other AOCs ........................................................10 5.1 Fish Consumption Advisories ...........................................................................11 5.2 Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations ...................................................11 5.3 Fish Tumors and Deformities............................................................................13 5.4 Degradation of Benthos ....................................................................................15 5.5 Restrictions on Dredging...................................................................................16 5.6 Excessive Loadings of Nutrients and Sediments ..............................................16 5.7 Beach Closings and Body Contact ...................................................................17 5.8 Degradation of Aesthetics.................................................................................18 5.9 Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat.......................................................................19 Proposed Delisting Targets for the St Louis River AOC......................................22 6.1 Fish Consumption Advisories ...........................................................................22 6.2 Degraded Fish & Wildlife Populations...............................................................23 6.3 Fish Tumors and Deformities............................................................................23 6.4 Degradation of Benthos ....................................................................................24 6.5 Restriction on Dredging ....................................................................................25 6.6 Excessive Loading of Nutrients and Sediments................................................25 6.7 Beach Closing and Body Contact .....................................................................26 6.8 Degradation of Aesthetics.................................................................................27 6.9 Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat.......................................................................27 Next Steps ................................................................................................................29 7.1 Timeline for Approval of the Delisting Targets ..................................................29 7.2 General Delisting Roadmap Strategies.............................................................29 7.2.1 Setting Delisting Targets .......................................................................29 7.2.2 Evaluate Delisting on the Basis of Outside or Natural Factors..............30 7.2.3 Implementing Restoration Goals ...........................................................30 7.2.4 Formal Request to Have AOC Delisted.................................................30 Conclusion and Recommendations.......................................................................31 References and Resources.....................................................................................32

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Table of Contents (Continued)
List of Appendices
Appendix A Appendix B Figures SLRCAC Proposed Restoration Goals

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October 2007

Wisconsin Proposed Delisting Targets
St. Louis River Area of Concern
Prepared for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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Introduction
The St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC) is shared between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This area was designated as one of 43 Great Lakes “Areas of Concern” by the International Joint Commission (IJC). A map of the AOC is provided in Appendix A, “Figures.” The IJC lists 14 Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) criteria for Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the St. Louis River AOC lists 9 of the 14 BUI’s as impaired including: Fish consumption advisories Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations Fish Tumors and Deformities Degradation of Benthos Restrictions on Dredging Excessive Loading of Nutrients and Sediments to Lake Superior Beach Closings and Body Contact Degradation of Aesthetics Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) strategy includes a milestone that “by the end of 2008, delisting targets for each US AOC should be developed collaboratively by federal, state, local, and tribal partners” (GLRC, 2005). In 2004 the St Louis River Citizens Action Committee, (SLRCAC) completed a citizens-based process to propose restoration goals and milestones (provided in Appendix B, “SLRCAC Proposed Restoration Goals - October 2004”) for each of the BUIs for the St. Louis River AOC. This project has been conducted to ensure that the SLRCAC’s goals were reviewed by relevant Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) programs, other state programs as needed, and other technical experts as needed to move forward with finalization of delisting targets for each BUI within the AOC by the end of 2008.
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Scope of Work
The WDNR awarded a contract to Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH®) (SEH) (and supporting subcontractor ECT Inc.) to develop delisting targets for the St. Louis River AOC which will be supported technically and programmatically by State of Wisconsin agencies and the public. The project team compiled comments, suggested revisions, acquired necessary technical input from Wisconsin agencies and institutions, and recommended alternatives acceptable to the WDNR. SEH and ECT reviewed delisting criteria developed by other jurisdictions and made recommendations as to their utility for this AOC. SEH and ECT have worked with WDNR programs, the SLRCAC, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), other agencies, and the public to develop consensus on delisting targets. A parallel process is occurring in Minnesota, although timing between the states does not coincide exactly. The SLRCAC will facilitate public participation (through a separate contract with the WDNR) to produce a “delisting” roadmap document that is accepted by Wisconsin and Minnesota, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, other agencies, and the public.

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Background
The St. Louis River is the second largest tributary to Lake Superior (and the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior). Its watershed consists of 3,634 square miles in northeast Minnesota and 263 square miles in northwest Wisconsin. The St. Louis River AOC encompasses the 39 miles of river between Cloquet and Lake Superior, and extends outward into Lake Superior. While the St. Louis River originates from its source in the State of Minnesota, both Wisconsin and Minnesota share the estuary and, what has become, the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The St. Louis River enters the estuary, feeding into Spirit Lake and flowing though St. Louis Bay, separating the two states on the west side and then into Superior Bay, separating Superior, Wisconsin from Minnesota and Wisconsin Points on the east side. The natural outlet of the river into Lake Superior is at the Superior Entry between Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point. The Duluth Ship Canal, constructed in the late 1800’s, provides an additional outlet for the river into Lake Superior. The City of Superior and Village of Oliver form the Wisconsin border adjacent to the river. The City of Superior is heavily industrialized, particularly along the shoreline of the lower river. The Superior Municipal Forest, along the western border of the river is largely undeveloped, providing minimal pollutant input from the river’s tributary waters, the Pokegama River among others. Key industrial operations begin at the northwestern tip of the City, including Midwest Energy, a coal industry; Hallett Docks, Amoco, a fuel port; and General Mills, a grain port, among others. The northernmost section of the City, around Connor’s Point, is the location of Fraser Shipyards, where ship construction, maintenance, and storage occurs. Along the eastern interface between the City and river are several docks owned by Cutler-Magner where limestone, coal, and other materials are shipped. The Superior Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is located just northwest of Barker’s Island. Barker’s Island is developed primarily for recreational boating, residential homes, and tourism. Additional shipping ports are located on the southeast side. Detailed information on the industries and their activities can be found in the Superior Port Land Use Plan (2003).

3 .1

Historical Impacts Archeological finds provide evidence that the St. Louis River AOC has been inhabited since at least 7000 B.C. and in the past 100 years, the St Louis River estuary has been changed from a relatively pristine estuary to a developed harbor via dredging and filling. The St. Louis River has experienced a long history of pollutant inputs, resulting in degraded fish and wildlife habitat, and degraded water quality. In 1826, mining for copper oxide ore along the Nemadji River began and later this area would become the City of Superior. Commercial trading, railroads, and shipping allowed for the growth of Duluth and Superior. In 1855, the Soo Locks opened Lake Superior for shipment of freight and passenger traffic. Dredging to deepen the shipping channel for passage also occurred. With growth of the logging industry, 50-100 dams were built along the St. Louis River to facilitate log driving. Additional industries including

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iron-making, grain trade, shipbuilding, and brewing also contributed to the growth and industrialization of the area. Impairments to the “natural” environment in the region and AOC resulted from activities such as dredging of the harbor, confinement of river currents, construction of the Duluth Ship Canal, dam construction, reservoirs construction, shipping, continued industrial growth, and pollutant discharges. Elevated levels of chemical contaminants , such as mercury, PCB’s, dioxins, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as well as a number of other metals and organic compounds, are found in the sediments today. Surface water runoff and atmospheric deposition are also mechanisms for delivery of non-point source pollutants to Lake Superior. Several priority wetland sites have been identified by the WDNR, many of which directly or indirectly affect or are affected by the St. Louis River. The St. Louis River Marshes, Oliver Marsh, Superior Municipal Forest, Nemadji River Bottomlands, South Superior Triangle, Superior Airport, Nemadji River Marshes, Wisconsin Point, and Allouez Bay Marshes. Other important areas include Hog Island and Hog Island Inlet, along with other remnant wetlands and waterways. Many of these priority areas are now protected from development by public ownership and/or protective covenants. These areas are detailed in Priority Wetland Sites of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Basin (1997, Epstein, Judziewicz, and Smith, WDNR). Estuarine areas in Wisconsin which are of particular concern in the AOC, as defined by the SLRCAC Habitat Workgroup include nesting bird habitat at Interstate Island, barrier beach and dune habitat at Wisconsin Point, Barker’s Island, Hog Island Inlet, Howard’s Bay; shallow and sheltered bays and wetlands around Spirit Lake including Superior Municipal Forest and Oliver; industrial slips, lake sturgeon fish habitats in the upper estuary, baymouth bar communities at Wisconsin Point, and upland conifer and hardwood forests and sheltered bays and shallow wetlands around Clough Island. The AOC, as defined by The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (1987), is “a geographic area that fails to meet the general or specific objectives of the agreement, or where such failure has caused or is likely to cause impairment of beneficial use or the area’s ability to support aquatic life”. AOCs typically include major urban and industrial areas near rivers, harbors, and channels where pollutants from many sources may impair the ecosystem. Affected fish populations have also caused a decline in recreation, sport fishing, and aesthetics. Water quality problems in the AOC have resulted in fish consumption advisories, dredging restrictions, high nutrient levels, habitat loss, and possibly aquatic biota and wildlife impacts.

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Developments Toward Delisting In 1989, the MPCA and the WDNR supported an extensive public participation process which resulted in the development of the Stage 1 RAP and the Stage 2 RAP Progress Report (MPCA and WDNR, 1995). Although many actions to implement the RAP have taken place, the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota have not had active RAP programs for Great Lakes AOCs since the mid-1990s. In 1996, the former RAP citizen advisory committee established by the MPCA and WDNR incorporated as the independent nonprofit St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee (SLRCAC) which continues to encourage implementation of the RAP and protection of the estuary. The SLRCAC frequently serves as a facilitator for projects and planning between agencies and citizens. The SLRCAC facilitated the development of the Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan (2002) with the input and consensus of the resource management agencies in the AOC. There are several programs at various levels working on preservation and restoration of Lake Superior. The RAP and the Lake Superior Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) address problems associated with toxic pollutants, as well as other environmental problems. International organizations include the IJC for the Great Lakes, and the Binational Program to Restore and Protect the Lake Superior Basin. The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (http://www.glrc.us) is a unified effort bringing together many national, state, and local organizations under a single title including federal agencies, Great Lakes Governors, Great Lakes Mayors, Great Lakes Tribes, and Members of the Great Lakes States Congressional Delegation. In addition to the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, the WDNR Office of Great Lakes is drafting a Wisconsin Great Lakes Restoration and Protection Strategy in order to coordinate and allocate resources among the various AOCs. Further information is available at the WDNR website http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/greatlakes/wistrategy/. Other state-level programs include West Wisconsin Land Trust and Wisconsin Lake Superior Basin Partner Team. Local and regional programs include the Regional Stormwater Protection Team, St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee, and the St. Louis River TMDL (Hg) Partnership. The WDNR, City of Superior, and Douglas County participate in many of these groups, all targeting improvements to BUIs in the river. Many programs and activities have been implemented at a local level to reduce, minimize, or eliminate threats to the estuary, including the formation and upgrading of local wastewater treatment facilities in both Duluth and Superior, mercury reduction programs, open burning outreach and reduction projects, Lake Superior-specific waste collections, workshops and public input sessions hosted by the City of Superior Environmental Services Division of Public Works, and development of a City of Superior All Hazard Mitigation Plan. Other activities initiated by the City of Superior include storm drain stenciling, combined sewer separation projects, stormwater separation ponds, and stormwater interceptors which helped to alleviate sanitary sewer overflows, public school programs at the wastewater

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treatment facility, public stormwater programs promoting the use of rain gardens and rain barrels to control stormwater, a cleanup and cap at the old Superior Municipal Landfill, development of the City of Superior Special Area Management Plan for wetlands, and a mercury product ban in the City of Superior. Regional and local research is frequently funded and implemented by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant program, the WDNR, the City of Superior Environmental Services Division of Public Works, and other local, regional, and state groups. Sediment monitoring, water quality monitoring, wildlife habitat improvement activities, orthophoto aerial photography, fish stocking and monitoring, exotic and invasive species control, and land acquisition projects have all been implemented in Wisconsin within the AOC over the last ten years. These efforts have lead to improvements in the quality of these beneficial uses, however, irregular funding and budgetary and staff limitations have often results in gaps in this work and the hampered intents to disseminate the information and/or directly incorporate the information into updates and plans. The recent partnering between the WDNR and USEPA to use Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) funds to implement contaminated sediment remediation of the Newton Creek and Hog Island Inlet system in 2005 has effectively removed ecological and human health hazards and re-opened the area for swimming that had been previously closed (SEH, 2007). Follow-up work is being conducted (with funding from the USEPA) to evaluate ecological enhancement opportunities (Biohabitats, 2007). The USEPA, in a program directly related to the Hog Island Inlet postremediation monitoring program, has been using GLLA funds to conduct a sediment assessment of the St Louis River Superior Waterfront Area (USEPA, 2006). Sediment samples were collected in 2006 and 2007 and a summary report with findings is currently pending. Additionally, the WDNR is currently conducting a monitoring program at 10 stations in the St Louis and Nemadji Rivers and estuary nutrient and suspended sediment concentrations in the surface water (WDNR, 2006). Quantification of the effects of these activities within the AOC has not been made, distinct from studies on Lake Superior, however implementation of the activities has facilitated compliance with state and federal environmental and water quality standards as well as targeted impacts to improving the BUIs. Studies on Lake Superior have indicated that implementation of activities specified in the Lake Superior LaMP (2006) have reduced chemical pollutants significantly and improved wildlife habitat, shown in the return of many species to the area, including piping plovers on Wisconsin Point.

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Wisconsin State Programs and Water Quality Standards
The State of Wisconsin has adopted Water Quality Standards (WQSs) that are applicable to all surface water bodies in the state. Although the BUIs are technically based on the IJC criteria established in Annex 2 of the 1987 Amendment to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement that established the AOC program, many also have a basis under the Wisconsin WQSs and/or the fish contaminant advisories. The relationship of St. Louis BUIs and Wisconsin designated uses (Chapters NR 102 and NR 104 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code) is presented below.
BUI Wisconsin Designated Use

Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption Degraded fish and wildlife populations Fish tumors and deformities Degradation of benthos Restrictions on dredging activities Excessive loading of nutrients and sediments Beach closings and other “full body contact” restrictions Degradation of aesthetics Loss of fish and wildlife habitat

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Fish and Aquatic Life Waters Waters protected for Public Health and Welfare Fish and Aquatic Life Waters Wildlife use waters Fish and Aquatic Life Waters Waters protected for Public Health and Welfare Fish and Aquatic Life Waters Wildlife use waters NA Recreational use waters Waters protected for Public Health and Welfare Recreational use waters Recreational use waters Fish and Aquatic Life Waters Wildlife use waters

The WDNR Water Division Monitoring Strategy (WDNR, 2006a) clarifies which monitoring efforts are used to meet federal Clean Water Act, Fisheries, and Public Trust Doctrine Objectives and prioritizes where future efforts will be focused. The strategy covers all monitoring done under the WDNR Water Division three Bureaus: Fisheries Management; Watershed Management; and Drinking water and Groundwater. The Wisconsin Water Quality Report to Congress (2006) is prepared every two years to summarize water quality conditions in the state. The state must also provide electronic data reporting of water body assessments on an annual basis. Additionally, every two years the state is required to submit a list of “impaired waters” to the UESPA. Several portions of the St Louis River AOC are currently listed as “impaired waters”. Unacceptable contaminant levels in fish and wildlife are established by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services in conjunction with the WDNR. These contaminant levels are used in conjunction with measured
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contaminant levels from the Wisconsin fish monitoring program to establish Fish Consumption Advisories as presented in Choose Wisely - A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin (WDNR, 2006b). Although there are goals and management programs available from the WDNR that can be used to determine how various factors impact the fish and wildlife populations there are no promulgated standards directly related to Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations. Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Management Plan to Prevent Further Introductions and Control Existing Populations of Aquatic Invasive Species (WDNR, 2003) presents an example of programs in place and references various State regulations that are indirectly related to this BUI. The incidence of Fish Tumors and Deformities is indirectly related to the Wisconsin WQS under NR 105. Although NR 105 refers to acute and chronic toxicity effects as an endpoint indictor, many of the chemicals listed under the rule also could contribute to the incidence of fish tumors and other deformities. This BUI is generally impacted by contaminated sediments and industrial/municipal wastewater discharges. Degradation of Benthos is another BUI that is measured by guidance used by the WDNR but is not directly related to established WQSs. The BUI is normally a result of excessive and/or contaminated sediment within the watershed and/or deteriorated water quality which can be evaluated through the use of WQSs but is more a cause-effect relationship than a direct standards comparison. The Consensus Based Sediment Quality Guidelines Interim Guidance (WDNR, 2003) includes probable effects concentrations (PECs) for several chemicals, including the consensus based guidelines developed for the St Louis River for PAHs, PCBs and metals by Judy Crane with the MPCA . Specific determinations on handling of dredge spoils are made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the WDNR at the time of dredging. When the dredge spoils must be handled in a special manner or disposed of at a confined disposal facility due to the level of contaminants in the sediment then the Restrictions on Dredging Activities is considered to be a BUI. The State of Wisconsin Approval Process for Dredging of Commercial Ports (WDNR, 2004) outlines the process. While Excessive Loading of Nutrient and Sediments is not directly evaluated by application of a WQS, interference with “designated uses” established under NR 104 and unacceptably depressed dissolved oxygen concentrations compared to NR 102.4(4) can be used to determine if undesirable algae growths are evident in the watershed and the western basin of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River estuary. Similarly the WQS do not specifically address sediment loading or total suspended solids as a limited parameter but impacts on the “designated uses” can be used to imply that a BUI exists. This BUI results from excessive nutrient discharges associated with storm water runoff (both point and non point sources), point source discharges from WWTPs, nutrient release from contaminated sediments, low base flows resulting in extended detention times in the watershed, high

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stream flows, poor land use planning, and lack of adequate soil erosion and sedimentation control at construction sites. The Wisconsin Beach Monitoring Program was established to implement the USEPA’s criteria under the Clean Water Act Section 406(a). These criteria establish the maximum concentration of E. coli bacteria that are acceptable for waters of the state used for body contact recreational uses. These standards are used to evaluate the Beach Closings and Body Contact impairment. NR 102.04 establishes narrative criteria to evaluate the BUI Degradation of Aesthetics coupled with watershed designation uses established in NR 104. The criteria used is if any of the “unnatural physical properties” associated with aesthetics interferes with the designated use of the watershed. Degraded aesthetics can be caused by point and non-point source storm water runoff, littering, and poorly operated wastewater treatment systems. Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat is not measured by a Wisconsin WQS. It can however be evaluated and comparatively ranked by goals and management programs developed by the WDNR. Poor land use planning, failure to protect wetland areas, erosion, high stream flows, and low base flows all contribute to the degradation of this BUI.

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Relevant Delisting Criteria from other AOCs
Delisting criteria developed and/or proposed for several other AOCs were reviewed for relevance to the St. Louis River AOC. Information regarding the status of each of the 43 AOCs in the Great Lakes Basin is available on the internet at the USEPA GLNPO website: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc. Delisting guidance documents from the IJC (1991), the State of Michigan (2006) and the State of Ohio (2005) were also reviewed. Examples of progress toward delisting some of the AOCs include: In the United States: − Oswego AOC on Lake Ontario in New York has recently been delisted; it is the first US AOC to be delisted. − Presque Isle Bay AOC on Lake Erie in Pennsylvania is in recovery stage. − The State of Ohio has developed guidance with delisting targets for the Ashtabula River, Cuyahoga River, Black River, and Maumee River AOCs on Lake Erie. − Clinton River, Manistique River, Saginaw River, and White Lake AOCs in Michigan have developed delisting criteria/targets and/or milestones. − The Degradation of Benthos BUI for the Manistique River on Lake Michigan has been recommended for delisting by the Michigan DEQ − Public Advisory Councils (PAC) from both the Torch Lake and Deer Lake AOCs on Lake Superior in Michigan have requested the State of Michigan and USEPA begin the delisting process based on the State of Michigan Delisting Guidance. − Kalamazoo AOC in Michigan is close to finalizing their delisting criteria and have established baseline inventories of habitat and wildlife, but needs to develop a long-term monitoring plan. − The U. S. side of the Detroit River AOC is progressing toward finalization of delisting criteria. In Canada: − Collingwood Harbour AOC and Severn Sound AOC have been delisted. − Waukegan Harbor AOC may be close to being delisted and fish advisories have been removed. − Spanish Harbour AOC is in recovery − Detroit River AOC on the Canadian side has developed delisting criteria that has been approved by the Canadian side PAC.

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Details of information gathered from guidelines and various AOCs and their relevance to specific BUIs in the St Louis River AOC are discussed below: 5.1 Fish Consumption Advisories IJC recommended that this BUI is restored “when contaminant levels in fish and wildlife populations do not exceed current standards, objectives or guidelines and no public health advisories are in effect for human consumption of fish and wildlife. Contaminant levels in fish and wildlife must not be due to contaminant input from the watershed”. The limitation to using this criterion is that contaminants in other sites can be transported to the AOC by atmospheric deposition, and thus will stay in the food chain. A potentially more rational approach is reflected in the Ohio guidance (2005) that bases this delisting target on no fish and wildlife consumption advisories attributed to sources within the AOC. Additionally, the proposed milestones include not only tracking changes in fish tissues and advisories, but also set fish tissue contaminant maximums for PCBs (50 ppb), mercury (50 ppb) and lead (86 ppb). The Michigan guidance (2006) states that the BUI is considered restored when, “the fish consumption advisories in the AOC are the same or less restrictive than the associated Great Lake or appropriate control site” OR, if the advisory is more stringent than its associated Great Lake or control site, “a comparison study of fish tissue contaminant levels demonstrates that there is no statistically significant difference in fish tissue concentrations of contaminants causing fish consumption advisories in the AOC compared to a control site” OR, if a comparison study is not feasible because of the lack of a suitable control site: analysis of trend data (if available) for fish with consumption advisories shows similar trends to other appropriate Great Lakes trend sites”. In addition, more details are given as to how to conduct the comparison including choosing of the same species as in control site, controlling for variables that affect contaminant concentrations in tissues, and comparing data between the AOC and control site collected within a year of each other, and how to test statistically significant differences between AOC and control site. Michigan AOCs impacted by this BUI include Detroit River, the Rouge River, River Raisin, St. Clair River, Torch Lake, Deer Lake and Carp Creek, St. Mary’s River, Saginaw River, Kalamazoo River, Muskegon Lake, White Lake, and the Manistique River. In the Saginaw River AOC (Michigan) fish contaminant delisting criteria are based on a comparison of contaminant (PCBs and dioxin) levels in other areas of Great Lakes that are not listed as AOCs and on indications from caged fish studies that PCBs sources have been controlled. Comparison to a reference site should be considered in the St. Louis River AOC. However, reference sites have to be carefully chosen and agreed upon by the WDNR, EPA and stakeholders. 5.2 Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations The Michigan guidance (2006) requires the development of a site specific restoration plan focusing on the individual AOC rather than a statewide universal criteria to address the habitat related BUIs. The requirements of the plan are applied throughout the state but the content will focus on the
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individual AOC. The Michigan guidance recommends that the first step in addressing any of the BUIs is to assure that sources of water quality contamination are controlled. Once the control programs have been established then a restoration plan must be developed and implemented. Since the restoration goals may take a long time to achieve, the guidance states that fish and wildlife populations need not be fully restored before delisting. The proposed Rouge River, MI, delisting criteria (2004 Rouge River RAP Revision) are based on: “fish data are acceptable or better at all stations for 3 consecutive surveys, and sustainable populations of fish species predicted by Willey/Seelbach models (especially sensitive species), based on stream size and flows” In the St. Mary’s River, MI, the delisting targets (2002 Stage 2 RAP) are: “Concentrations of persistent toxic substances in fish and wildlife will be below no observable adverse effect concentration (NOAEC) for reproductive, population, and teratogenic effects. Effects will be the same as control populations from unaffected areas”. Development of localized restoration plans for fish and wildlife populations is recommended. Ohio guidance (2005) sets delisting targets for fish on biological indices for lakes and nearshore habitats; and for wildlife, healthy reproducing populations of sentinel species. In addition, restoration goals and management objectives must be met. The process, which could be applied in the St. Louis River AOC, would include selecting sentinel species and tracking changes in populations of wildlife and tracking fish community surveys, achieving water quality standards and meeting ecoregional biocriteria. In the Grand Calumet AOC in Indiana, the currently proposed delisting target is an, “Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) score that represents the best attainable fish community in the AOC monitored for ten consecutive years. The IBI Score is determined by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and IDEM’s Ecological Potential Study”. Note that the Grand Calumet River delisting criteria are currently under review for update/modification. The Canadian side of the Detroit River AOC has set delisting criteria based on the following: Environmental conditions should support self-sustaining, healthy, and genetically diverse communities of most sensitive indicator species at levels of abundance and biodiversity that would be expected from the amount and quality of suitable physical, chemical and biological habitat present. The objective should be consistent with the Great Lakes ecosystem objectives, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s fish community goals for adjoining waters, and the conservation vision for the Detroit River. There should be no significant toxicity from water column or sediment contaminants. Programs should be in place to discourage further proliferation of existing non-native species and prevention of future introductions.

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In the Oswego AOC, the fish habitat and population impairments were partially addressed by the new United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Oswego River power dam license that commits to providing enhanced run-of-river flow throughout the year, thereby increasing the amount of suitable habitat for spawning and rearing within the AOC. Channelization/alteration of natural stream flow patterns is a source of impairments to beneficial uses associated with both populations and habitat. Several AOCs are addressing this issue in their restoration goals and criteria. In the Rouge River, an oxbow was reconnected to allow fish migration and a program has been proposed to eliminate the concrete edges down to the low water line in the area of the Rouge that has been concrete lined. The Ohio guidance recommends altering stream morphology to a more natural state when possible. At Collingwood AOC, sediment monitoring in 1995 by Environment Canada found that benthic species were different from those in reference sites due to the assemblage of organisms present which were reflective of nutrient conditions and not due to the presence of contaminants. Recommendations for further actions included repeating sediment toxicity tests and resampling of sites to determine if the benthic community was returning to reference conditions. This may be relevant to the St. Louis River AOC due to the nutrient enrichment problems within the AOC. 5.3 Fish Tumors and Deformities About half the AOCs have fish tumors/deformities as a BUI. Most AOCs report declines in the incidence of tumors due to natural attenuation of contaminated sediments and by addressing source reduction. For example, Presque Isle Bay in Pennsylvania, in the recovery stage, addressed contaminants with a $100 million sewage treatment expansion, and a pollution prevention plan. The class of chemicals thought to contribute the most to tumors and deformities are polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and related compounds such as nitro-PAHs and nitrosamines that are found in urban runoff from the combustion of fossil fuels. PCBs and dioxins can also be a cause for this BUI. The major limitations to delisting in AOCs are lack of data to substantiate tumor rates and a comparison to an appropriate background rate in a reference site. Because of the absence of fish data, some AOCs evaluated the potential for fish tumors based on concentrations of PAHs in sediments that are known to be associated with effects. Niagara River AOC did the same with PAHs, but had more data on fish tumors. The approach of evaluating sediments for contaminants related to fish tumor and deformities incidence is a good first round screening tool until funds become available to do a more extensive survey, if appropriate. Fish tissue data are better indicators of potential effects than developing relationships based on sediment concentrations of PAHs. If sediments are found or known to be contaminated above most sediment quality guidelines for PAHs, it may not be worth spending the money on a fish tumor/deformity study until the contaminated sediment issue is resolved and sources are controlled.
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A standardized approach for evaluating and monitoring fish tumors and other deformities was developed by Pennsylvania State University and others with funding from the Pennsylvania Sea Grant. The standard approach takes into account the species of fish to be considered, the age of the fish, how to identify tumors including histology and other criteria. A final document has not been published, but a manual has been recently released for identification of tumors. A drawback to this approach is that this method requires a lot of expertise and a statistically meaningful study could be extremely costly. The IJC recommends that this BUI is restored, “when the incidence rates of fish tumors or other deformities do not exceed rates at unimpacted control sites and when survey data confirm the absence of neoplastic or preneoplastic liver tumors in bullheads or suckers”. The Ohio Delisting Target is “DELT (deformities, eroded fins, lesions and tumors) levels in fish do not exceed 0.5%”. An optional criterion noted in the delisting document is that, “low tumor prevalence is documented in brown bullhead age three years and older over a series of years. Current guidelines suggest that a 5% incidence of liver tumors and a 12% incidence of external tumors are acceptable to consider the area to be in recovery. Great Lakes regional final targets are under development but will be less than 5% liver tumors and 12% overall external tumors.” The Michigan guidance considers the BUI restored when, “no reports of fish tumors or deformities due to chemical contaminants which have been verified through observation and analysis by the MDNR or MDEQ for a period of 5 year” OR, in the cases where any tumors have been reported, “a comparison study of resident benthic fish (e.g., brown bullheads) of comparable age and at maturity (3 years), or of fish species which have historically been associated with this BUI, in this AOC and a non-impacted control site indicates that there is no statistically significant difference (with a 95% confident interval) in the incidence of liver tumors or deformities”. The Detroit River’s delisting target is that the incidence rates of fish tumors or other deformities do not exceed rates at non-impacted control sites for a minimum of three sampling periods spaced two to three years apart, and should demonstrate a downward trend. At a minimum, no more than five percent of three-year old Detroit River brown bullhead fish should have liver tumors, and less than twelve percent should have external tumors or lesions. In the St. Mary’s River the AOC delisting target is that concentrations of persistent toxic substances in fish will be below no observable adverse effect concentration (NOAEC) for reproductive, population, and teratogenic effects. Any noted effects will be the same as control populations from unaffected areas which may include Lakes Superior and Huron. A recent workshop in Ohio hosted by USEPA GLNPO was convened for the purpose of discussing the fish tumor criteria. Two important recommendations coming out of the workshop were that a Great Lake-wide reference condition for fish tumors in brown bullheads should be developed and that DELT should not be used as part of the Fish Tumor and Deformities BUI delisting. The DELT was felt to be more appropriate for evaluation of the Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations.
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5.4

Degradation of Benthos The IJC delisting target is when the benthic macroinvertebrate community structure does not significantly diverge from unimpacted control sites of comparable physical and chemical characteristics. Further, in the absence of community structure data, this use will be considered restored when toxicity of sediment-associated contaminants is not significantly higher than controls. The Michigan guidance (2006) states that this BUI will be considered restored when, “an assessment of benthic community, using either MDEQ’s SWAS Procedure #51 for wadeable streams or MDEQ’s pending rapid assessment procedure for non-wadeable rivers yields a score for the benthic metrics which meets the standards for aquatic life in any 2 successive monitoring cycles (as defined in the two procedures)”, OR, in cases where MDEQ procedures are not applicable and benthic degradation is caused by contaminated sediments, the BUI will be considered restored when, “all remedial actions for known contaminated sediment sites with degraded benthos are completed (except minor repairs during operation and maintenance) and monitored according to the approved plan for the site”. The BUI only applies to surficial sediments where organisms live. In the Canadian side of the Detroit River, delisting criteria reflects that the benthic community must contain none of the attributes that characterize a degraded community for 4 years, and toxicity of sediments from test sites should not be significantly higher than controls. The Canadian RAP specifies the criteria for evaluating if the benthic community is degraded. In the Saginaw AOC, the delisting criteria is that samples of mayfly nymphs collected in the open areas of Saginaw Bay exceed 30/square meter for two consecutive years based on established sampling methods. Mayfly nymphs were used as an indicator organism because they are important to fisheries and because their populations have been severely impacted since early 1950s. Severn Sound also has as a partial delisting target, “to maintain and enhance presence of the mayfly Hexagenia as an indicator of ecosystem health”. The delisting target approach utilized for Hamilton Harbor AOC, Ontario could be considered relevant to the St. Louis River AOC. Specifically, these are: Biomass estimates for mesotrophic conditions to range from 25 to 50 g/m2 wet weight of benthos. Shift in oligochaete assemblages from indicators of eutrophic environments to mesotrophic indicators. An increase in the contribution of other species such as midges, fingernail clams, mayflies, and the amphipod Pontoporeia hoyi. Reduction in oligochaete density from an average 10,000 animals per m2 found in 1984 to between 2,000 and 3,000 per m2 in profundal sediments. Appearance of crustaceans, such as freshwater shrimp in the deep water basin and the amphipod Pontoporeia hoyi in the surficial sediments throughout the hypolimnion. Absence of acute and chronic toxic effects attributable to trace metals or organics in benthic macroinvertebrates throughout the harbor. The Manistique River in the UP of Michigan, which feeds into Lake Michigan, has been recommended for delisting and awaiting final approval by EPA. The basis for delisting was mainly that sediments contaminated with PCBs and other chemicals have been remediated.

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Since the St. Louis River Estuary AOC has several BUIs related to contaminated sediments, the first priority is to move forward with the remediation of the known contaminated sites. Since most of the PCBs are confined to known sites, after these sites are remediated, PAHs and metals will be the next most important priorities. Some of the same sediments contaminated with PCBs are also ones high in metals. PAHs do not correlate as well. Historic sources are significant, but ongoing sources will have to be monitored. Reference sites for setting specific delisting criteria such as was done for Hamilton Harbor should be identified and studied. 5.5 Restrictions on Dredging The Michigan guidance (2006) states that the BUI is considered to be restored when, “there have been no restrictions on routine commercial or recreational navigational channel dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers, based on the most recent dredging cycle, such that special handling or use of a confined disposal facility required for dredge spoils due to chemical contamination”, OR, in cases where dredging restrictions exist, “a comparison of sediment contaminant data from the commercial or recreational navigational channel (at the time of proposed dredging) in the AOC indicates that contaminant levels are not statistically different from other comparable, non AOC commercial or recreational navigation channels”. The Canadian Detroit River AOC delisting criteria are based on contaminants in sediments not exceeding applicable standards, criteria, or guidelines. As such, there would be no restrictions on dredging or disposal activities. The Presque Isle Bay AOC is depending on natural attenuation rather than formal remedial action to alleviate contaminated sediment and allow this BUI to be delisted. 5.6 Excessive Loadings of Nutrients and Sediments This BUI is related to the “Eutrophication or undesirable algae” BUI listed in the standard Beneficial Use designations. The change in nomenclature is a reflection of the impact on Lake Superior and the St. Louis River estuary rather than a direct impact on the AOC/watershed area. The St. Louis AOC does not show signs of eutrophication or excessive algal growth in spite of having high sedimentation rates and phosphorus levels. Most of the AOCs address the concentration/loading of phosphorus within the AOC but generally the restoration/delisting criteria adopted and/or under consideration do not include a specific limitation for suspended solids except indirectly through the Degradation of Aesthetics BUI.

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The Muskegon AOC will address phosphorus through the Phase II Stormwater permit program to regulate dischargers through appropriate reductions in nutrients discharges to the stormwater system and adoption of nutrient management plans over 50% of watershed, and Public/private landscape management (nutrient and pesticides) implementation on 50% of watershed. St Clair River AOC states, “ensure that sufficient enforceable mechanisms are in place to protect existing aquatic and wetland habitat from cultural destruction or degradation, including filling, dredging, adversely affecting the hydrology, cutting or removing vegetation required for habitat, and allowing pollutants such as sediment, excess nutrients or toxic substances to enter aquatic or wetland habitat.” These are generic approaches. The actual delisting criteria should include meeting water quality guidelines for nitrogen and phosphorus. The following AOCs have more specific measures listed: Collingwood Harbor used the specific delisting criteria of: “All harbor waters have persistent phosphorus concentrations of less than 20 micrograms per liter (0.02 mg/L), a Secchi disc transparency of greater than 1.2 meters, dissolved oxygen at saturation, chlorophyll concentrations of less than 10 micrograms per liter, unionized ammonia of less than 0.02 milligrams per liter, and phosphorus load from the sewage treatment plant of less than 2760 kilograms per year.” Saginaw River/ Bay criteria is set at “The average concentration of total phosphorus is 15 micrograms per liter or less, in accordance with the supplement to Annex 3 of the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (as amended).” Rochester Embayment states “ Total phosphorus concentrations for near (11 to 12 meters) and near-nearshore (1 meter) are less than or equal to 15 parts per billion and 20 parts per billion, respectively; and chlorophyll a concentrations for the near (11 to 12 meters) and near-nearshore (1 meter) are less than or equal to 3.8 parts per billion and 5 parts per billion, respectively; and Secchi disk measurements in the nearshore (12 meters) are greater than or equal to 4 meters.” With regard to sediment limitations, MI Rule 323.1050 states simply that the turbidity and color should not be unnatural and it should not preclude the AOC from meeting designated uses under the Michigan Water Quality Standards. 5.7 Beach Closings and Body Contact The IJC Criteria states that the BUI can be delisted “When waters, commonly used for total-body contact or partial body-contact recreation, do not exceed standards, objectives, or guidelines for such use.” The Michigan guidance (2006) states that this BUI will be considered restored when, “no water bodies within the AOC are included on the list of impaired waters due to contamination with pathogens in the most recent Clean Water Act Water Quality and Pollution Control in Michigan: Section
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303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report, which is submitted to U.S. EPA every two years”. The limits for E. coli are set by Michigan’s Water Quality Standards for bacterial contamination Rule 323.1062 for partial and total body contact at 130 E.coli per 100 ml for total body contact recreation and 1000/100 ml for partial body contact based on a specified monitoring protocol. The Ohio (2005) guidance document has delisting targets as follows: Total Body Contact: For Bathing Waters - Geometric mean E. coli content, based on not less than five samples within a 30-day period, exceeds 126 per 100 ml.; or E. coli content exceeds 235 per 100 ml. in more than 10% of the samples taken during any 30-day period. For Primary Contact - Geometric mean E. coli content, based on not less than five samples within a 30-day period, exceeds 126 per 100 ml.; or E. coli content exceeds 298 per 100 ml. in more than 10% of the samples taken during any 30-day period; or geometric mean fecal coliform content, based on not less than five samples in a 30-day period exceeds 1000 per 100 ml; or fecal coliform content exceeds 2000 per 100 ml in more than 10% of the samples taken in any 30-day period. Partial Body Contact: Secondary Contact - E. coli exceeds 576 per 100 ml. in more than 10% of the samples taken during any 30-day period; or fecal coliform exceeds 5000 per 100 ml in more than 10% of the samples taken in any 30-day period. The Canadian side of the Detroit River AOC based its delisting criteria generically that total or partial body contact standards, guidelines and objectives not be exceeded, and that there are no beach closures as a result of water quality problems for two years. The Grand Calumet AOC currently proposed criteria which is being reviewed for update/revision is that when waters, used for total-body contact or partial body-contact recreation, do not exceed standards, objectives, or guidelines for use, this BUI can then be delisted. The Rouge River AOC set its target for concentrations of bacteria during dry weather flow to be below full body contact criteria at all its recreational areas for three consecutive summers. The Saginaw River AOC is similar. The St. Clair River AOC’s delisting target is zero beach closures for two years. 5.8 Degradation of Aesthetics The IJC guidance specifies that restoration constitutes elimination of unnatural oily sheens, turbidity, color and odor. The Michigan guidance (2006) specifically states that this BUI will be considered restored when, “monitoring data for two successive monitoring cycles indicates that the water bodies in the AOC do not exhibit persistent, high levels of the following “unnatural physical properties” (as defined by
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Rule 323.1050 of the MI WQS) in quantities which interfere with the State’s designated uses for surface waters: turbidity, color, oil films, floating solids, foams, settleable solids, suspended solids, and deposits”. These apply only to sources that are man-made or exacerbated by human-induced activities such as excessive algae growth due to nutrient loading. It specifically states that natural physical features that occur in normal ecological cycles are not considered impairments and may in fact serve a valuable role in providing fish and wildlife habitat. The Ohio guidance (2005) is similar in terms of the descriptors for unaesthetic water, but states that the AOC should be free of substances entering the water from human sources that are “toxic to human, animal or aquatic life and/or are rapidly lethal in the mixing zone”. Also, the Ohio guidance states that the AOC waters should be, “free from public health nuisances associated with raw or poorly treated sewage” The delisting criteria for White Lake AOC in Michigan specified, “public areas should not contain quantities of contamination, debris, and algal scum that impede the access and enjoyment of this resource. In addition, no more than 10% of the lake should be covered with algal scum for 5 consecutive days.” The Rochester Embayment AOC in New York had very specific delisting targets for this BUI: “There is virtually no persistent decomposing algae (algae does not persist more than 10% of summer days) along the Lake Ontario shoreline that is not part of a lakewide problem, for 5 consecutive years; AND There is no odor due to chemical seeps at the Lower Fall; AND There are no alewive die-offs for a 5-year period or dead alewives along the Lake Ontario shoreline are part of a lakewide problem to which the Rochester Embayment watershed does not contribute; AND There are no reports of discarded salmonids along the shoreline of the lower Genesee River, due to fishing practices, for 5 consecutive years; AND There is virtually no litter caused by combined sewer overflows or left by fishermen or other recreational users in the lower Genesee River or adjacent shoreline; AND Suspended sediment concentrations in the Genesee River remain less than 30 mg/l for at least 80% of a year, and exceed 200 mg/l for no more than 5 events with a combined duration of not greater than 20 days, as determined by a 5-year average (habitat delisting criterion on suspended sediment).” In the St. Louis River AOC, many of the other BUI delisting criteria will aid in the aesthetics problems such as those that address eutrophication, habitat restoration, best management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient loading. 5.9 Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat The Michigan guidance for this BUI is the same as the BUI for Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations. Water quality standards must be met, and if not, sources of water quality contamination be controlled. A restoration plan must be developed and implemented which includes: a short narrative on the historical fish and wildlife population loss and degradation in the AOC, including how habitat has been impaired by water quality; a description of
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the impairment and location for at least one critical habitat site or for multiple sites where determined appropriate at the local level; a locally derived restoration goal/target for each habitat site; a list of all other ongoing habitat restoration planning processes in the AOC and a description of their relationship to the restoration projects proposed in the plan; and a work plan including: Specific habitat restoration actions(s) to be completed Timetable Funding Responsible entities Indicators and monitoring Public involvement A specific plan for reporting on habitat restoration implementation actions(s) to the MDEQ must be included. Fish and wildlife populations need not be fully restored before delisting. The Ohio guidance (2005) delisting targets are as follows: For Fisheries Habitat: For mainstem and tributaries, habitat quality shall average a QHEI score of 60 or better throughout the freeflowing stream stretches of the AOC and Ohio Aquatic Life Water Quality Standards are met OR Fish and Wildlife officials do not identify loss of or poor quality habitat as cause for nonattainment with fishery goals. For Wildlife Habitat: Forested buffers exist on 50% of residential tributaries and 25% of urban tributaries and For headwater streams, HHEI habitat quality shall average a score of 30 for warm water streams and 70 for cold water streams OR For headwater streams and wetlands, State Aquatic Life Water Quality Standards are met OR Wildlife officials do not identify loss of or poor quality habitat as cause for non-attainment with wildlife goals. The Ohio milestones include: Buffers, conservation easements, riparian setback ordinances or other protective mechanisms are in place on more than 80% of the streams and tributaries over 10% of major watershed and over 6% of sub-watershed is high quality wetland habitat over 75% of the stream length is naturally vegetated less than 15% of watershed is impervious over 30% of the watershed is in forest cover track Headwater Habitat Evaluation Scores; percentage of forested riparian buffers along streams in residential and urban areas; management goal attainment habitat is sufficient to support wildlife goals for the AOC.

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The Detroit River on the Canadian side set the following delisting criteria: “The amount of habitat required to meet applicable fish and wildlife management goals has been achieved. Loss of productive fish and wildlife habitat has ceased, and existing quality habitat is protected. At a minimum, twelve percent of the AOC watershed should be comprised of quality natural cover, and a buffer of natural riparian vegetation should border 75 percent of all First-to-Third Order streams and virtually all wetlands.” The Saginaw AOC developed the following delisting criteria for this BUI: Dissolved oxygen criteria: 5 mg/L during summer Protection of coastal marsh Targeted restoration: documentation of natural reproduction of Lake Sturgeon in Saginaw River, abundance measures for Yellow Perch and Walleye.

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6.0

Proposed Delisting Targets for the St Louis River AOC
The proposed delisting targets were assembled with consideration of various inputs including: review and comment to the proposed restoration goals (SLRCAC, 2004) by State of Wisconsin technical experts; application of pertinent State of Wisconsin programs and regulations; relevance of guidance documents and criteria developed for other AOCs; the results of iterative discussions with the WDNR, MPCA, and SLRCAC; and technical review and comment to draft delisting targets by State of Wisconsin technical experts.

6.1

Fish Consumption Advisories Fish consumption advisories in Wisconsin are based on the levels of contaminant concentrations in fish tissues and are published in relation to the age/size of particular fish species. The consumption advisories in the St. Louis River AOC are based on mercury and PCB with the exception of Siscowet Lake Trout in Lake Superior which is based on dioxin/furan congeners. Delisting criteria is to be based on protection of public health related to consumption of edible portions of fish tissue and will be achieved by a strategy which combines the elimination of known sources of contamination within the AOC, monitoring concentrations of bioaccumulative chemicals of concern (BCOC) in fish tissues, and educating the public regarding safe consumptions patterns. Delisting may occur if: all known man-made sources of BCOCs (including PCBs, mercury, dioxins, and furans) within the AOC and tributary watershed have been controlled or eliminated; and a statistically valid sampling program demonstrates that the edible portion of fish tissues do not contain man-made BCOCs at levels exceeding fish consumption advisories for unrestricted consumption (currently identified as 0.05 ppm PCBs, and 10 ppt dioxin and furan congeners – as TCDD toxicity equivalent concentrations ); and waters within the St. Louis River AOC are not listed as impaired due to fish consumption advisories in the most recent Clean Water Act 303(d) and 305(b) Wisconsin Water Quality Report to Congress (submitted to U.S. EPA every two years); and waters within the St Louis River AOC do not have special fish consumption advisories due to mercury in the Healthy Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin for two document cycles.

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Or if the above is not achievable within 10 years: all known man-made sources of BCOCs (including PCBs, mercury, dioxins, and furans) within the AOC and tributary watershed have been controlled or eliminated; and a multi-year comparison study of fish tissue contaminant levels demonstrates that there is no statistically significant difference (with a 95% confidence interval) in fish tissue BCOC concentrations in the AOC compared to fish tissue BCOC concentrations in a representative non-impacted control site within the Lake Superior Basin. 6.2 Degraded Fish & Wildlife Populations Delisting criteria is to be based upon implementation of the Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan (SLRCAC, 2002) and the Strategies Implementation Planning Worksheets. These documents include plans to mitigate threats to the St Louis River ecosystem. The habitat plan and strategies were developed by the SLRCAC with the input of private citizens and several partners from city, county, state and federal entities. Delisting may occur if: population indicator metrics associated with implementation of the Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan (SLRCAC, 2002) and the Strategies Implementation Planning Worksheets demonstrate that native fish and wildlife populations are being rehabilitated, maintained, and protected; and waters within the St. Louis River AOC are not listed as impaired due to aquatic toxicity in the most recent Clean Water Act 303(d) and 305(b) Wisconsin Water Quality Report to Congress (submitted to U.S. EPA every two years). 6.3 Fish Tumors and Deformities There is insufficient data available regarding the health of fish in the AOC to clearly designate this as a BUI. The first step in delisting needs to involve collection of sufficient data to determine if the beneficial use is in fact impaired. Delisting criteria is to be based on the incidence of internal and external contaminant impacts on fish as demonstrated by contaminant caused deformities, lesions, and tumors (DLTs) and internal organ impacts in St. Louis River AOC fish. Delisting may occur if: All known sources of PAHs and chlorinated organic compounds within the AOC and tributary watershed have been controlled or eliminated; and

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There have been no reports of external DLTs or internal organ/system impacts due to chemical contaminants which have been verified through observation and analysis by the WDNR or MPCA for a period of five years; or A comparison study of resident non-benthic fish of comparable age and at maturity in the AOC and a non-impacted control site indicates that there is no statistically significant difference (with a 90% confidence interval) in the incidence of contaminant related external DLTs Or if any tumors have been reported: A comparison study of resident benthic fish (e.g., brown bullhead or white suckers) of comparable age and at maturity (3 years), in the AOC and a non-impacted control site indicates that there is no statistically significant difference (with a 90% confidence interval) in the incidence of liver tumors or skin tumors (neoplasms). 6.4 Degradation of Benthos Reduced benthic invertebrate density, diversity, and species richness have been reported throughout the AOC. The benthic invertebrate community impacts the remainder of the aquatic community and constitutes the base of a healthy habitat and population in the AOC. Delisting criteria is to be based on benthic community health and the impacts of chemical contaminants on that community. The anticipated benthic community quality must be established on a site-specific basis considering conditions that impact the benthic community that can not be modified such as water depth due to dredging activity, wave-induced sediment resuspension, ice scour, and prop wash to assure that the endpoint comparison is consistent with the ability of the habitat and external impacts to support a viable benthic community. Delisting may occur if: All remedial/restoration actions for specific impacted benthic communities are completed (except for minor repairs required during operations and maintenance) and monitored according to the approved plan, and Known contaminant sources contributing to sediment contamination and degraded benthos have been identified and control measures implemented, and The Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-IBI) at all sampling sites is a minimum of “good”, and Acute sediment toxicity survival is at least 80% at all sampling locations, and No sample locations show chronic toxicity, and Mean probable effects concentration quotients (PEC-Q) for high habitat value areas are <0.1 and between 0.1 and 0.6 for the rest of the AOC below the Fond du Lac dam. The Consensus Based Sediment Quality Guidelines - Interim Guidance (WDNR, December
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2003) includes PECs for several chemicals, including the consensus based guidelines developed for the St Louis River for PAHs, PCBs and metals by MPCA. 6.5 Restriction on Dredging Sediments in many areas within the St. Louis AOC exceed established guidelines for in-place sediments and contain a variety of toxic, bioaccumulative contaminants. Special dredging requirements and long term sediment containment issues arise as a result of these adverse characteristics. Although sediment contamination and toxicity has been documented throughout the AOC, this BUI addresses maintenance dredging within the AOC and not remedial dredging. Remedial dredging as an optional mitigation method is addressed under the Degradation of Benthos BUI. Delisting of this BUI is focused on elimination of special handling and disposal requirements related to dredging of contaminated sediments in commercial or recreational navigation channels. Delisting may occur if: Over a five year timeframe, there have been no restrictions on routine commercial or recreational navigational channel dredging by the Federal or State regulatory agencies (USACE, USCG, State of Wisconsin, State of Minnesota), such that special handling or use of confined disposal facilities is required for dredge spoils due to chemical contamination; and No dredged sediment will have a beneficial use restriction due to chemical contamination; and At the time of delisting, the existing sediment data indicates there will not be restrictions on planned dredge areas. 6.6 Excessive Loading of Nutrients and Sediments Although the nutrient concentrations in the St. Louis River AOC exceed those levels that would generally be associated with excessive algal blooms and related dissolved oxygen and designated use impairments there are no present indications that these impacts are being realized. Therefore this restoration/delisting criteria apply to the entire AOC but the focus of the impact is on the western basin of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River estuary. Delisting of this BUI is focused on reduction of nutrient and sediment loading such that it does not impair habitat, and does not restrict recreational uses including fishing, boating, or body contact. Delisting may occur if: Nutrient TMDLs have been established within the AOC including the necessary implementation programs addressing both non-point sources and storm water; and

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Total phosphorus concentrations within the St Louis River portion of AOC do not exceed 0.030 mg/l (upper limit of mesotrophic range); and Total phosphorus concentrations in the Lake Superior portion of the AOC do not exceed 0.010 mg/l (upper limit of oligotrophic range); and Nutrient and sediment levels in the St. Louis River estuary do not result in excessive loadings to Lake Superior; and Nutrient and sediment levels do not impair habitat, and do not restrict recreation, including fishing, boating or body contact recreation in the estuary and within western Lake Superior; and There are no violations of the minimum dissolved oxygen concentrations established in NR 102 in the AOC due to excessive sediment or algal growths; and There are no violations of the minimum dissolved oxygen concentrations established in NR 102 in the western basin of Lake Superior due to excessive sediment or algal growths attributed to loadings from the St. Louis River; and All point source discharges in the AOC are in compliance with the nutrient and total suspended solids effluent requirements in their discharge permits. 6.7 Beach Closing and Body Contact This restoration/delisting criteria should apply to the entire AOC to assure adequate public protection for total body contact recreation at all locations within the AOC and not just designated public beach areas. The St. Louis River AOC is a combination watershed area exhibiting both highly urbanized and rural areas. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), lift stations needing upgrades, urban and rural storm water runoff, failing septic systems, animal waste, and illegal connections to storm sewers contribute to elevated fecal bacteria levels in many locations throughout the watershed. Delisting of this BUI is focused on protection to human health from biological and chemical exposures on beaches, in sediments, and in surface water. Potential exposure scenarios include direct contact, fishing, boating, wading, or swimming. It is anticipated that delisting will only occur after the entire AOC attains the criteria rather than just designated beach areas. Delisting may occur if: All known sources of waste discharges to the AOC and tributary watershed have been identified and, if feasible, have been controlled or treated to reduce exposures to biological or chemical releases; No sewage overflows (SSOs or uncontrolled CSOs) have occurred within the AOC during the previous five year period as a result of a less than 25-year precipitation event or snow/ice melt conditions; and All municipalities within the AOC have storm water reduction programs adopted and being implemented, including an Illicit Discharge Elimination Program; and

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Proactive on-site disposal system inspection programs have been adopted, and are being implemented, by all counties within the AOC; and No water bodies within the AOC are included on the list of nonattaining waters due to contamination with pathogens or chemicals having a public health concern (i.e. carcinogenic, mutagenic) in the most recent Clean Water Act Wisconsin Water Quality Report to Congress, which is submitted to U.S. EPA every two years; and An effective and on-going bacterial monitoring program has been implemented within the AOC; and No local or state contact advisories related to the presence of a chemical contaminant have been issued within the AOC during the previous five years. 6.8 Degradation of Aesthetics This BUI is a result of oil slicks, odors, chemical and tar residues, non-point source run off, erosion, combined sewer overflows, and litter. Delisting of this BUI is focused on elimination of the occurrence of “objectionable properties in surface waters,” which may include: high turbidity, unnatural color, oil films, floating solids, foams, logjams, and/or noxious odors. For the purposes of this criteria, these properties impair aesthetic values if they are unnatural – meaning those that are manmade (e.g., garbage, sewage), or natural properties which are exacerbated by human-induced activities (e.g., high turbidity due to poor soil erosion and sediment control (SESC) practices). Natural physical features which occur in normal ecological cycles (e.g. woody debris, rooted aquatic plants) are not considered impairments, and in fact serve a valuable role in providing fish and wildlife habitat. Delisting will be achieved by a dual strategy of monitoring events and implementation of formal programs to eliminate occurrences of unnatural physical properties in surface waters. Delisting may occur if: There are no incidences of “objectionable properties in surface waters” reported (and verified) during the previous 5 year period; and Sufficient and effective programs have been implemented to address documented sources of potential releases (i.e. spill response plans, removal or treatment of point/non-point sources and contaminated sediments, SESC programs, woody debris management programs); and A complaint hotline has been established 6.9 Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat The combination of ecosystems within the Lower St. Louis River – estuarine wetlands and aquatic habitats, baymouth bar complex, and surrounding upland forest – are unusual in Lake Superior, the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes Region, and the world. Many of the ecosystems and native species are
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rare and/or declining across their range. This concentration of diverse ecosystems, along with the location on the western end of Lake Superior, makes the estuary a critical migratory stopover and an important breeding area for many species. Features and significance of this area include: Second largest tributary to Lake Superior Unique wetland systems Largest wetland system on the Lake Superior shore Represent a significant source of productivity Support a large and diverse assemblage of native fish species Contain baymouth bars containing unique plant communities Unique freshwater estuary/baymouth bar combination habitat The area ecosystem is regionally and globally significant Delisting criteria is to be based upon implementation of the Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan (SLRCAC, 2002) and the Strategies Implementation Planning Worksheets. These documents include plans to mitigate threats to the St Louis River ecosystem. The habitat plan and strategies were developed by the SLRCAC with the input of private citizens and several partners from city, county, state and federal entities. Delisting may occur if: habitat indicator metrics associated with implementation of the Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan (SLRCAC, 2002) and the Strategies Implementation Planning Worksheets demonstrate that native fish and wildlife populations are being rehabilitated, maintained, and protected; and waters within the St. Louis River AOC are not listed as impaired due aquatic toxicity in the most recent Clean Water Act 303(d) and 305(b) Wisconsin Water Quality Report to Congress(submitted to U.S. EPA every two years).

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7.0

Next Steps
The GLRC has defined aggressive goals to restore all US Great Lakes AOCs. Milestones included in the GLRC Strategy (GLRC, 2005) include: by the end of 2008, delisting targets for each US AOC should be developed collaboratively by federal, state, local and tribal partners; and by 2020, all known contaminated sites in the AOCs should be remediated…..to facilitate complete restoration of the AOCs. The following sections address the timeline for delisting targets, followed by a general discussion on steps to achieve delisting of the AOC.

7.1

Timeline for Approval of the Delisting Targets The Wisconsin delisting targets presented in this report were completed in May 2007. A copy has been provided to the MPCA in draft format for consideration by Minnesota technical reviewers. Once the parallel State of Minnesota process is complete, the SLRCAC will facilitate public participation to produce a “delisting” roadmap document that is acceptable to Wisconsin, Minnesota, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, other agencies, and the public. This process is scheduled to be complete by Fall 2008, as outlined in the timeline below: 1. WDNR Complete review of SLRCAC restoration goals and propose delisting targets for Wisconsin - May 2007. 2. MPCA Complete review of SLRCAC restoration goals and propose delisting targets for Minnesota – October 2007. 3. SLRCAC facilitate merging of Wisconsin and Minnesota delisting targets and public review engagement process – October 2007 thru April 2008 4. Wisconsin and Minnesota State Agency formal approval and sign-off on delisting targets - June 2008 5. SLRCAC submit delisting targets to USEPA – July 2008 6. USEPA approval of delisting targets– October 2008 - CELEBRATE!

7.2

General Delisting Roadmap Strategies The USEPA guidance, Restoring United States Areas of Concern: Delisting Principles and Guidelines (USEPA 2001), provides detailed information on strategies for delisting. Additional useful information is provided in Road to Delisting: Addressing RAP Challenges (Ontario, 2000). General strategies include the components described below. Setting Delisting Targets This project is a first step towards establishing targets that are locally derived and measurable and, meet the criteria for the frequency and longevity of monitoring that is consistent with federal and state regulations. These goals should focus both on the overall watershed and the individual sub watershed areas as appropriate.

7.2.1

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7.2.2

Evaluate Delisting on the Basis of Outside or Natural Factors BUIs should be evaluated for factors outside the AOC. If restoration of a BUI is not possible because of factors outside the AOC or is typical of lakewide or region-wide conditions, recommend delisting on this basis and refer BUI to Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP). If the BUI is due to natural causes, not human sources, recommend delisting on this basis. Implementing Restoration Goals The RAP is the vehicle for ultimate implementation of the delisting/restoration efforts within the AOC. The next generation RAP, and subsequent iterations, will help identify and prioritize BUIs that can be most easily delisted and identify the steps necessary to work towards implementing restoration for all BUIs. The restoration work plan must include: Establishing a realistic restoration budget Selection of reference sites where needed. Establishment of a timeline for implementation including such major milestones as: − contaminant removal − point source pollution monitoring and prevention − non-point source BMP implementation − habitat restoration Development of long term funding sources and agreements Establishment of necessary monitoring networks to create baseline data and measure progress in achieving delisting/restoration criteria Establishment of implementation alternatives such as evaluation of low level, wide-spread contamination for feasibility of natural attenuation as a restoration alternative. Once it has been established that restoration criteria have been met or that progress is moving extensively towards delisting goals, the BUI or subwatershed can be recommended for delisting or placement in the “recovery” stage. A RAP implementation committee, working in consultation with the public and stakeholders, would then submit a recommendation to delist the AOC, or portions thereof, and complete a Draft Final RAP Stage 3 Report to EPA, WDNR, and MPCA. The recommendation spells out the roles and responsibilities for implementation of the RAP.

7.2.3

7.2.4

Formal Request to Have AOC Delisted Long-term monitoring plan must be written. Restoration must be completed or well underway and meeting restoration goals at all sites before an AOC can be delisted. Resources are needed for long-term monitoring and protection must be in place to prevent future degradation from occurring.

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8.0

Conclusion and Recommendations
The proposed delisting targets for each of the BUI’s within the St Louis River AOC provide a good starting point for the SLRCAC, in partnership with the WDNR and MPCA, to move forward with the public comment process and completion of a “delisting roadmap.” As the delisting process moves forward, related components of other parallel programs must give adequate attention with regards to the St Louis River needs, including: Update of the St Louis River AOC RAP; Updates to the WDNR Water Division Monitoring Strategy; and Updates to the Wisconsin Great Lakes Restoration and Protection Strategy. An integrated approach will enhance future funding opportunities directed at activities necessary for delisting of the AOC.

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9.0

References and Resources
Biohabitats. . Hog Island and Newton Creek Ecological Restoration Master Plan June 29, 2007. City of Superior Hazard Mitigation Plan, November 2004. http://www.ci.superior.wi.us/p Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Committee, Superior Port Land Use Plan. June 2003. GLRC. Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy To Restore and Protect the Great Lakes. December 2005, available at http:www.glrc.us/strategy.html. Lake Superior Lakewide Management Plan, April 2006. Available on website: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/lakesuperior/ Michigan. Guidance for Delisting Michigan’s Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. MI/DEQ/WB-06/001 January 2006. Ohio. Delisting Targets for Ohio Areas of Concern: Ashtabala River, Black River, Cuyahoga River, Maumee River. Ohio EPA. June 2005. Ontario. The Road to Delisting: Addressing RAP Challenges. A Project of the Sustainability Network and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. October 2000. SEH. Final Construction Documentation and Post-Remediation Monitoring Report – Hog Island Inlet Remedial Action, Superior, Wisconsin. DRAFT January 2007. St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee website: http://www.stlouisriver.org/ includes: Remedial Action Plan (April 1992) Remedial Action Plan Progress Report and Stage II Recommendations (April 1995) Lower St Louis River Habitat Plan (May 2002) Proposed Restoration Goals and Milestones (October 2004) Habitat Plan Strategic Implementation Planning Worksheets (2007) USEPA 2001. Restoring United States Areas of Concern: Delisting Principles and Guidelines. Adopted by United States Policy Committee. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/rapdelistingfinal02.PDF. USEPA. St Louis River Area of Concern – Considerations and Preliminary Scoping of a Hog Island Inlet / St. Louis River Area of Concern PostRemediation Monitoring Plan – DRAFT August 30, 2006. USEPA GLNPO website for AOCs On-line: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc WDNR. Consensus Based Sediment Quality Guidelines Interim Guidance. December 2003.

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WDNR 2003a. Source Water Assessment for Lake Superior Water, Light and Power Company, Superior, Wisconsin. March 2003. WDNR. State of Wisconsin Approval Process for Dredging of Commercial Ports- Guidance for Applicants and WDNR Staff. PUB-FH-061-2004 February 2004. WDNR. St Louis River AOC Monitoring Assessment for Delisting Project Beneficial Use Impairment: “Excessive Loading of Sediment and Nutrients to Lake Superior”. Quality Assurance Project Plan May 2006. WDNR 2006a. WDNR Water Division Monitoring Strategy, Version 2: 7-25-06. http://www.dnr.wi.gov/org/water/monitoring/ WDNR 2006b. Choose Wisely - A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin, PUB-FH-824 2006. WDNR Lake Superior basin website: http://www.dnr.wi.gov/org/gmu/superior/ WDNR Office of the Great Lakes website: http://www.dnr.wi.gov/org/water/greatlakes/

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Appendix A
Figures

73 V U 73 V U

t u
169

73 V U

73 V U

61 V U

ST. LOUIS RIVER

t u
2

61 V U

DULUTH, MINNESOTA
23 V U V U 23

FOND DU LAC INDIAN RESERVATION

LAKE SUPERIOR

CLOQUET CITY, MINNESOTA
61 V U

§ ¦ ¨
35

210 V U

SUPERIOR, WISCONSIN

73 V U

I AD J NEM

R RIVE

23 V U 23 V U

t u
53

MINNESOTA

WISCONSIN

§ ¦ ¨
35
LEGEND EXTENT OF AREA OF CONCERN EXPANDED STUDY AREA MAJOR URBAN AREAS MINOR URBAN AREAS FOND DU LAC INDIAN RESERVATION SURFACE WATER MAJOR ROADS STATE LINE NOTE: AREA OF CONCERN BOUNDARY AS APPROVED BY THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ON OCTOBER 8, 2004 AND THE MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY ON APRIL 27, 2005.

®
8 16 Miles

ST. LOUIS RIVER, MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN AREA OF CONCERN

SOURCE: MODIFIED FROM THE U.S. EPA, 2002, THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, 2003, ESRI, 2005, AND THE FOND DU LAC INDIAN RESERVATION, 2007.

0

Appendix B
SLRCAC Proposed Restoration Goals – October 2004

Proposed Restoration Goals and Milestones for the Nine Identified Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs)
of the St. Louis River System Area of Concern (AOC) 1. Fish Consumption Advisories 2. Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations 3. Fish Tumors and Deformities 4. Degradation of Benthos 5. Restriction on Dredging 6. Excessive Loading of Nutrients and Sediments 7. Beach Closing and Body Contact 8. Degradation of Aesthetics 9. Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat 1. Fish Consumption Advisories Goal Significantly reduced negative human health impacts resulting from consumption of fish from the Area of Concern (AOC), including western Lake Superior, achieved by a dual strategy of residue reduction in the environment and public education leading to modified fish consumption patterns. Achievement of the goal will result in consumers of fish from the AOC who have a reduced health risk due to consumption of fish and are effectively informed about the potential health benefits of a selected fish diet, as well as the risks. Milestones By 2010, public program focusing on the harmful effects of mercury, PCBs and dioxins educates a majority of the fish consuming public, achieving improved protection of human health through greater awareness and measurable adjustments in consumption patterns accomplished through contacts with the fishing public and fish consumers. By 2020, only large (trophy sized) sport fish should not be consumed due to their toxicity. Medium sized and smaller fish can be consumed with no apparent health risk. For example, 1

walleyes up to X inches are safe to eat Y meals per month [X & Y to be determined by fisheries and health department personnel]. 2. Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations Goals Rehabilitate, maintain, protect, and enhance native wildlife and fish populations in accordance with the goals of the “Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan.” In addition, this use will be considered restored when toxicity (as defined by relevant, field-validated, bioassays with appropriate quality assurance/quality controls) of sediment-associated with all contaminated sites is not significantly higher than reference sites. Goal for Native Fish Assemblage: Healthy, self-sustaining populations of native fish species. Goal for Lake Sturgeon: A healthy, self-sustaining western Lake Superior lake sturgeon population. Goal for Native Mussel Assemblage: Healthy populations of all native mussels. Goal for Breeding Bird Assemblage: Breeding birds continue to nest in the lower St. Louis River area at current or higher numbers. Goal for Migratory Bird Assemblage: The lower St. Louis River continues to attract and support the enormous diversity and numbers of migrating birds. Goal for Piping Plover: A breeding population of piping plover is established in the estuary.

2

Goal for Common Tern: The breeding population of common terns in the Lower St. Louis River should, at a minimum, be maintained at its current level. Recommendations from the U.S. FWS species assessment will be used to update and refine this conservation goal. Milestones 1) Fish Fish populations are not significantly affected by alterations and loss of physical habitat, by proliferation of exotic species, or by exposure to contaminants. Spawning habitat below Fond du Lac Dam is optimized for pertinent species with specific reduction in mortality of adults by standing and desiccation of eggs. Lake sturgeon have re-established self-sustaining status in the St. Louis River estuary and western Lake Superior. Exotic fish species (Eurasian ruffe, round goby, tubenose goby) have become balanced members of the fish community with no significant impacts on native fish species. Purple loosestrife population is reduced by 75% of the 2002 best available information of population level within estuary. The invasion of Eurasian water milfoil into the St. Louis River has been prevented. No significant pathological alterations in fish. Fish sampled on Crawford Creek (tributary to the Nemadji River) do not have spinal deformities or tumors. 2) Wildlife Populations Populations of the common tern and the piping plover (threatened and endangered species), great blue herons, and mallards are not declining due to alteration, loss of physical habitat or exposure to contaminants. 3

A breeding population of piping plover is re-established in the estuary. Public lands within the AOC are managed to ensure that appropriate habitat exists for at least one great blue heron rookery. The breeding population of common terns in the Lower St. Louis River is maintained at its current (2004) level. No common tern chicks with cross-bills are found at Interstate Island. Resident bird populations are not accumulating unhealthy levels of contaminants at the Erie Pier Confined Disposal Facility (CDF). 3. Fish Tumors and Deformities Goal Incidence of tumors and deformities in fish is no greater than in high quality Lake Superior tributaries near the estuary. Milestones By 2010, research must be completed to definitively determine the presence or absence of tumors. By 2010-2020, if continuing instances of tumors and deformities are found, research must determine the nature, extent, and causes of the tumors and deformities and how they affect other populations. By 2020, a monitoring program is in place before removing BUI from list.

4

4. Degradation of Benthos Goal The benthic macroinvertebrate community structure and productivity and sediment-associated toxicity and bioaccumulation do not significantly diverge from un-impacted reference sites of comparable physical and biological characteristics. Milestones No noticeable toxicity related to the “hotspots” which can be attributed to contaminated sediments. By 2020, all known “hot spots” are cleaned up. “Hot spots” include: - U.S Steel and St. Louis River/Interlake/Duluth Tar Superfund sites - Hog Island Inlet/Newton Creek - RCRA corrective action sites (such as Crawford Creek, Howard’s Pocket) - “orphan” sites (such as Minnesota Slip, Slip C, 21st Avenue West and others) In addition, the consumption of benthic invertebrates by fish and wildlife does not contribute to fish consumption advisories. 5. Restrictions on Dredging (Interim) Goal The natural resource habitats and public beneficial uses of the areas affected by contaminated sediments in the St. Louis River AOC are restored and the threat to adjoining habitats is removed. Contaminated sediments in the river and estuary are remediated: To restore the beneficial uses to areas within the St. Louis River AOC where sediments are contaminated with PAHs and other contaminants. To remediate and remove contaminated sediments as soon as possible and institute source controls where needed as soon as possible. Management decision-makers for contaminated sediments consider technical, social, and economic factors in selecting remedial alternatives.

5

Milestones Goals for cleanup and rehabilitation are developed and have community support. Funding obtained for the remediation of contaminated sites in the AOC. Half of contaminated sediment-impacted acreage is remediated by 2015. Increase the acreage of sheltered bays by one fifth through remediation and restoring ecological services of industrially influenced bays. Sheltered bays are one of the most valuable habitat types in the St. Louis River estuary. Appropriate source controls are developed for each contaminated sediment area. Stormwater controls and BMPs are in place to avoid loading of PAHs and other pollutants. 6. Excessive Loadings of Nutrients and Sediment to Lake Superior Goal Nutrient and sediment levels in the St. Louis River estuary do not result in excessive loadings to Lake Superior. Nutrient and sediment levels do not impair habitat, and do not restrict recreation, including fishing, boating or body contact recreation in the estuary and within western Lake Superior. Milestones By 2015, average annual total phosphorous concentration, as measured at three representative locations in the estuary, is reduced 50%, By 2030, average annual total phosphorous concentration, as measured at three representative locations in the estuary, is reduced by 75%. 7. Beach Closings and Body Contact Goal Reasonably low risk of health impairment resulting from body contact recreation. Low frequency of beach closings based on established and maintained monitoring program. Milestones Beach closings and their associated health risks occur infrequently. Monitoring programs allow for speedy reaction to impairments, and are not limited due to financial constraints. 6

Water quality monitoring is occurring on a regular basis by a monitoring procedure approved by applicable health departments. Root causes for beach closings are identified through research. The identified sources are dealt with in a timely manner. Educational campaign is in place and is effectively informing the public. No sewage overflows have occurred in a three-year span due to rain events of less than 20-year frequency. All municipalities have effective stormwater reduction programs in place 8. Degradation of Aesthetics Goal Odors and sightings of spills, oil slicks, oil blooms, etc. are eliminated in the St. Louis River AOC including, but not limited to, the Stryker Bay/Interlake/Duluth Tar, USS (USX), Crawford Creek and Hog Island Inlet/Newton Creek sites. Milestones Effective public awareness campaign including guidance for citizens to report complaints of smells, oil blooms, etc are in place. Five consecutive years of no sightings and/or complaints for areas listed in goal. Effective spill response measures are implemented and enforced. Zoning regulations are in place and enforced in both states to prevent new construction from degrading the aesthetics of the SLR AOC. 9. Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Goals Maintain, enhance, protect and rehabilitate native wildlife and fish habitat in accordance with the goals of the “Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan”. Goal for Large Riverine Reach: Natural flow regime is replicated in the large riverine reach to the extent possible; this should benefit all of the estuarine aquatic habitats. 7

Any loss of area or degradation of this habitat type is avoided. Native fish assemblage including identified life stages of walleye, lake sturgeon, longnose sucker, white sucker, smallmouth bass and muskellunge, continue to utilize the large riverine reach. Darters and other riverine-obligate fish species are also present. Migratory raptors and waterfowl use this habitat, particularly during spring migration. Goal for Upper Estuarine (Undredged) River Channel: Natural flow of the river is replicated to the extent feasible. Channel morphology reflects the natural hydrologic regime to the extent that it can be replicated. Any loss of area or further degradation of this habitat type is avoided. High abundance of native mussels and other invertebrates is ensured. Identified life stages of channel catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass, stonecat, burbot, lake sturgeon, and other native fish utilize the habitat. Goal for Lower Estuarine (Dredged) Channel: Water quality is improved and the natural hydrologic regime is replicated to the extent possible. Any loss of this open water habitat is minimized. Further degradation of this habitat is minimized. Native species utilize this habitat at current (2004) or higher levels. Goal for Upper Estuary Flats: The current condition of the upper estuary flats are maintained and enhanced. The areas of ecologically appropriate vegetated wetlands have been increased and appropriate vegetation has been re-establishment. Patches of submergent and floating-leaved vegetation, including pondweeds, water lilies, wild celery, and wild rice, are present in some areas; these areas are intermingled with areas of open water, depending on water depth and clarity. Emergent vegetation, including bulrushes, cattails, and arrowhead, have increased in shallow littoral areas. The location and size of patches of open water and wetland vegetation will vary over time due to variations in the natural hydrologic regime. Non-native plant species have been significantly reduced. Native fish and bird species continue to utilize this habitat; breeding bird and spawning fish diversity increase as habitat improves. Goal for Sheltered Bays: Sheltered bays that are in good condition are protected and maintained. 8

All sheltered bays are in good condition. Where possible, sheltered bay habitat has been rehabilitated. Non-native plant species have been significantly reduced. Patches of submergent and floating-leaved vegetation, including pondweeds, water lilies, wild celery, and wild rice, are present in some areas; these areas are intermingled with areas of open water, depending on water depth and clarity. Emergent vegetation, including bulrushes, cattails, and arrowhead, are present in very shallow littoral areas. The location and size of patches of open water and wetland vegetation will vary over time due to variations in the hydrologic regime. Wet meadows and shrub swamps are present in some areas around the perimeter of sheltered bays. Hydrologic regime of contributing watersheds, along with sediment deposition and transportation are within the natural range of variation. Diversity of native fish, birds, and other species utilizing this habitat is high. Goal for Clay-Influenced River Mouths: Tributaries’ hydrologic regime, erosion, and sediment inputs have been rehabilitated and healthy watershed conditions protect and improve clay-influenced bays, especially within urban watersheds. Emergent, floating-leaved, and submergent native plants are present in areas where water depth naturally supports these types of wetland vegetation. Goal for Industrially-Influenced Bays: Loss of open water in industrially-influenced bays has been minimized. Some industrially-influenced bays have been rehabilitated to habitat similar to the sheltered bays (in good condition). This includes a diversity of native emergent, floating-leaved, and submergent vegetation, as well as increased diversity of native fish and bird species utilizing this habitat type. Contaminated sediments have been remediated. Goal for Industrial Slips: Since shipping is an important industry in the Twin Ports area, the loss of any open water or wetland components of these habitats (due to filling or other activities) is avoided. Native species utilize this habitat at current (2004) or higher levels. Contaminated sediments have been remediated. Goal for Lower Estuary (Industrial Harbor) Flats: Loss or further degradation of the lower estuary flats aquatic habitat has been minimized. 9

Portion of the flats have been restored to an appropriate vegetated condition. Native species utilize this habitat at current (2004) or higher levels. Goal for Clay-Influenced Bay: Relatively good quality of this habitat has been maintained and enhanced. Turbidity has been reduced to its natural range of variation; the natural hydrologic regime of the tributaries feeding this bay has been rehabilitated. Diversity of native aquatic plants is ensured; non-native plant species are not present. The diversity of native fish and bird species utilizing this habitat is enhanced. Goal for Clay-Influenced Tributaries: Hydrology and related sediment loads within the respective watersheds have been rehabilitated and healthy watershed conditions protect and improve clay-influenced bays, especially within urban watersheds. Native species utilize this habitat at current (2004) or higher levels. Degraded in-stream habitat has been restored. Goal for Bedrock-Influenced Tributaries: Hydrology and related sediment loads within the respective watersheds are managed to more closely resemble presettlement conditions. Native species continue to utilize this habitat at current (2004) or higher levels. Degraded instream habitat has been rehabilitated. Goal for Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Complex: Wetland vegetation that makes up the Great Lakes coastal wetland complexes has been protected, enhanced, and restored. Existing wetland complexes in the sheltered bays, the upper estuary flats, the clay-influenced bay (Allouez Bay), and clay-influenced river mouths are maintained and enhanced. The components of the wetland complexes (e.g., submergent marsh, emergent marsh) in the industrially-impacted habitats are restored. Goal for Baymouth Bar Communities (Beaches, Beachgrass dunes, Dune shrublands, Interdunal wetlands, Dune pine forests): Health of the plant communities has improved. Diversity of native species expected in each plant community type is present. Non-native plant species are not present. Ornamental species and species native to the U.S. that would not normally occur in these plant communities have been eliminated (e.g., Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris), spotted knapweed). 10

Extent of the dune pine forest and juniper-lichen shrubland has been increased to the maximum acreage that is feasible and where they would naturally occur. Interdunal wetlands in appropriate low areas are restored; species that are naturally found in this community include bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis), various sedges (Carex spp.), twig-rush (Cladium mariscoides), spikerush (Eleocharis spp.), and others. Beachgrass dune plant community is maintained and protected. Goal for Upland Forest Communities (White pine-red pine forest, Northern conifer-hardwoods forest / Northern hardwoods forest, Spruce-fir boreal forest): Existing high quality remnants of upland forest communities are restored and enhanced, and the remaining forested area are restored to the composition and structure that would be expected if its ecological processes were operating within their natural range of variation. Detailed recommendations and estimates of the expected natural range of variability developed by Frelich (1999) for northeastern Minnesota forest ecosystems are followed. Further assessments have been completed to determine the range of spatial patterns of the patches of the different successional stages. Goal for Other Inland Plant Communities (Eroding clay bluffs, Clay seeps, Conifer swamps, Hardwood swamps, Shrub swamps, Inland marshes, Wet meadows, Fens, Cliffs and rock outcrops): Although small and less visible, the other inland plant communities are managed to maintain and/or improve their condition. Appropriate assemblage of native plant species are present; refer to NatureServe’s International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation (2001) for descriptions of species composition. Ecosystem processes, including hydrology and fire, are functioning within their natural range of variation. Goal for Wild Rice: Healthy populations of wild rice are restored to appropriate wetland habitats in the estuary. Milestones By 2010, fish and wildlife habitat in the AOC is not threatened by further intensive land conversion or invasion of undesirable exotic species. In addition, the contaminated sediments in the river and estuary and the high sedimentation rates in the AOC are not further contributing to the loss or degradation of habitat.

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By 2020, the recovery of beneficial uses within the AOC can be demonstrated by trends of generally increasing extent and quality of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. To achieve these milestones the following steps must be taken: By 2006, initiate large-scale restoration and enhancement projects for existing and historic habitat types listed within the “St. Louis River Habitat Plan”. By 2010, complete protection of all possible existing aquatic, wetland, shoreland and near-shore areas through public ownership, easement, designation, or voluntary agreement for the areas from Fond du Lac dam to Stryker Bay and Allouez Bay to prevent additional habitat from being converted, or degraded. Additional habitat conversion, or degradation would further impair the ability and likelihood of recovery of beneficial uses 2 & 9 within the AOC. By 2010, complete protection of strategic upland and watershed lands within the AOC through ownership, easement, designation, or voluntary agreement to protect existing priority AOC habitats and to prevent, or reduce, watershed stressor inputs into the St. Louis River and estuary. By 2015, long term management plans and operational agreements are in place to monitor, manage, and mimic the biophysical processes that naturally create, maintain, and transform fish and wildlife habitats within the lower St. Louis River and Estuary (including, but not limited to: hydrology, fine and coarse sediment, fire, water quality). By 2020, reduce occurrence of purple loosestrife by 75% by mechanical, chemical and biological means within the lower St. Louis River and estuary (using 2002 as the baseline). Prevent the invasion of Eurasian water milfoil into the St. Louis River. Complete remediation of contaminated sediments at St. Louis River/Interlake /Duluth Tar and U.S. Steel (St. Louis River) and Newton Creek/Hog Island Inlet (Superior Bay) and complete habitat restoration at these sites. As much of the contaminated material as possible has been removed so this material does not impair the impacted sites or does not threaten the rest of the estuary.

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