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Video: How can we clean up polluted watersheds?

The US Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes region
The US Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes region

There are 43 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes region.  Five of them – the St. Mary’s River, Muskegon Lake, Clint River, Maumee River, and the Buffalo River –are the focus of a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Great Lakes Commission.

Great Lakes Today’s Elizabeth Miller spoke with the commission’s Eric Ellis during the Healing Our Waters conference in Buffalo.


What’s an area of concern (AOC)?

An area of concern is designated such by the U.S. EPA – it’s usually a watershed or group of watershed with a history of pollution or degradation impacting water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, among other things.

What’s a beneficial use impairment (BUI)?

A beneficial use impairment is a specific issue that needs to be addressed in those areas.  For example: beach closures, restoring fish and wildlife populations.

What AOCs are a part of the NOAA/GLC partnership?

·        St. Mary’s River (Michigan)

·        Muskegon Lake (Michigan)

·        Clint River (Michigan)

·        Maumee River (Ohio)

·        Buffalo River (New York)

Copyright 2021 Great Lakes Today. To see more, visit .

Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.