The first session will be on August 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. in room 110 of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive. The second session will be on August 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Erie County Conservation District office, 1827 Wager Road.
“These availability sessions are an opportunity for residents to learn about the Great Lakes Area of Concern Program and the progress made over the last 21 years since Presque Isle Bay was designated an area of concern,” DEP Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch said. “Achieving this milestone marks an unprecedented cooperative effort between government and citizens; the environmental improvements are evident to all who enjoy the Bay.”
In 1972, Canada and the United States signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which describes a process and criteria for identifying and restoring geographical AOCs based on the presence of conditions that impair the beneficial uses of the aquatic ecosystem. The agreement lists 14 beneficial uses, covering issues from wildlife habitat to the ability to swim in, drink and eat fish that live in the water.
In 1991, at the request of area residents, Presque Isle Bay became an AOC and in 1993, the Stage 1 Remedial Action Report identified two impairments as problematic for the Bay— restrictions on dredging activities and fish tumors or other deformities. The restrictions on dredging were removed in 2007.
DEP is requesting public comment on the Stage 3 RAP, which summarizes the studies, data and literature supporting the recommendation to de-list the fish tumor impairment and Presque Isle Bay as an AOC.
A copy of the final draft RAP can be reviewed by contacting Lori Boughton, Office of the Great Lakes, at 814-217-9635 or through the Presque Isle Bay Public Advisory Committee’s website.The RAP can also be viewed at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive, Erie; the Erie County Public Library, 160 E. Front St., Erie; and the Erie County Conservation District, 1927 Wager Road, Erie.