The lower Sheboygan River and Harbor were designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) in 1985. A Great Lakes AOC is an area where water-quality problems affect the use of the waterway such that it needs priority attention. High levels of nutrients, solids, and toxic chemicals entering the river had caused a series of problems including nuisance algal blooms, fish consumption advisories, and contaminated sediments. The pollution of the river was also suspected of contributing to the degradation of animal and plant populations and the reduction in fish and wildlife habitat. Nine Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs), including “restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption” and “loss of fish and wildlife habitat” were identified for the Sheboygan River and Harbor AOC.
Sheboygan River Area of Concern (AOC)
To address PCB contamination in sediment and other water quality problems which restricted uses including fish and wildlife advisories, the Sheboygan River was designated as an impaired waterway by USEPA in 1979. Of the 43 AOCs designated in the United States and Canada, only three have been delisted and two more are considered to be in recovery.
“Area of Concern” Resources
Wisconsin AOCs Info & Resources
Sheboygan River Canoe and Kayak Trips
All Great Lakes AOCs Information
International Joint Commission
Developing Delisting Targets for the Sheboygan River Area of Concern
Restore and Protect
The goal of the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership is to restore and protect this Area of Concern so that it can be “delisted,” or removed from the list of AOCs. In order to do this, a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) must be implemented. It must be shown that all of the BUIs have been addressed and the beneficial uses therefore restored. Goals or targets must be set and then met for each of the BUIs so that the AOC can be considered cleaned up. The process takes time and commitment, and like most of the other AOCs, ours is still in progress.
Sheboygan River Cleanup Public Involvement Forum (10/2006) Discussion of concerned citizens, community/interest groups, and local leaders to address future river cleanup goals.
Benefit From Sheboygan River Cleanup Forum (9/2006)
Dr. John Braden from the University of Illinois, detailed how homeowners may realize gains in home value as a result of cleanup activities in the river.
Dredging the Sheboygan River Wednesday (6/2006)
Pollution Risk Services removed PCB contaminated bottom sediment. The sediment was transported to the former Tecumseh Plant site via a pipeline. There it was filtered through semi-permeable tubes until the water drained out. The water was treated prior to its entry back into the Sheboygan River. Dry sediment was taken to a certified landfill.
River Clean Up Earth Day, Saturday (4/2006)
The Sheboygan River Basin Partnership sponsored a river cleanup. The river cleanup was conducted through a grant from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board.
Sheboygan River PCB Removal (3/2006)
Environmental Toxicologist, Dr. Steve Laszewski coordinated the removal of contaminated PCB sediments within the upper part of the Sheboygan River between Sheboygan Falls and Kohler.
Will Clean-up of Sheb. River Increase Property Values? (2/2006)
University of Illinois professor, John Braden presented a public program at Maywood Environmental Park to discuss a statistical study which was completed on the Sheboygan River AOC addressing the benefits to property values.