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Menominee River

Contact Information

U.S. EPA RAP Liaison
John Perrecone
(perrecone.john@epa.gov)
312-353-1149
U.S. EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd. (C-14J)
Chicago, IL 60604

State RAP Contact - Michigan
Sharon Baker
(bakersl@michigan.gov)
517-335-3310
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Water Bureau

State RAP Contact - Wisconsin
Charles Ledin
(charles.ledin@dnr.state.wi.us)
608-267-2375
Chief, Office of the Great Lakes
WDNR – Bureau of Watershed Management

Frequent Acronyms

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Menominee River AOC Boundary Map

Menominee River AOC Boundary Map (PDF) (1pg, 350K)

Menominee shape file (ZIP) (271K)

Background

The Menominee River forms the boundary between the northeast corner of Wisconsin and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The river's headwaters originate in both states. The main stem of the river flows between the cities of Menominee, Michigan, and Marinette, Wisconsin before emptying into Green Bay.

The Menominee River Area of Concern (AOC) includes the lower three miles (4.8 km) of the river from the Upper Scott Paper Company (Wisconsin) Dam to the river's mouth and approximately 3.1 miles (5 km) north and south of the mouth along the adjacent shoreline of Green Bay. The AOC also includes the cities of Marinette and Menominee, as well as the adjacent nearshore area of Green Bay, Wisconsin, extending three miles north to John Henes Park and south of the river mouth to the point of land known as Seagull Bar. The AOC also includes Green Island.

Land use in the AOC is primarily industrial and residential. A chemical company, two paper mills, two municipal wastewater treatment plants, a ship building company, and a foundry are located along the river. The AOC watershed is shared between Michigan and Wisconsin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency working on the Ansul Fire Protection Company site. The Wisconsin DNR is providing support.

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Beneficial Use Impairments

Six of 14 beneficial use impairments have been identified through the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) process. A primary cause of the identified use impairments is arsenic contamination in the turning basin and in sediments along the right bank (downstream direction) of the river below the Ansul Fire Protection Company, an herbicide production facility, in Marinette, Wisconsin. This problem was caused from improper arsenic storage and disposal practices by Ansul from 1957 to 1977. Under recent RCRA corrective action enforcement efforts, sediment and groundwater remediation efforts were implemented in the Eighth Street Slip area.

Other pollutants of concern identified in the AOC included paint sludge and coal tar. Remediation of the paint sludge site was completed in 1995, on the Michigan side. The site was remediated under Act 307 authority. The WPSC Marinette MPG (Manufactured Gas Plant) "Coal Tar Site" is another significant source of contamination. It is currently under remedial investigation by the U.S. EPA Superfund Division. Other pollutants -- such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and oil and grease – have also contributed to use impairments. A fish advisory exists for mercury and PCBs.

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Delisting Targets

The following delisting targets are discussed in the most recent Menominee River AOC RAP document, the 1996 Lower Menominee River Remedial Action Plan Update (PDF 7.83MB, 177pages). The purpose of the plan was to guide restoration, where possible, of the identified impaired uses in the 1990 Stage 1 RAP.

The long-term goals were identified as:

  1. Protect the aquatic ecosystem of the Menominee River and harbor from the effects of toxic and conventional pollutants.
  2. Maintain a balanced aquatic and terrestrial community to ensure long term health of the ecosystem
  3. Maintain and enhance recreational and commercial uses of the Menominee River and Harbor, consistent with the long term maintenance of the natural resource base and a healthy economy.

Objectives for meeting the long-term goals were identified as:

  1. Evaluate the exposure risks to fish, aquatic life, wildlife, and human health from in-place pollutants (contaminated sediments) to determine the need for remediation.
  2. Eliminate all toxic effects to fish and aquatic life from industrial and municipal discharges.
  3. Identify and eliminate all toxic effects to fish and aquatic life from polluted runoff.
  4. Maintain water quality in the river and bay as drinkable after standard treatment.
  5. Maintain a balanced and productive fishery that produces fish that everyone can safely eat.
  6. Improve water and sediment databases to assist in evaluating environmental quality in the AOC.
  7. Restore, protect, and enhance environmental corridors in the AOC.
  8. Limit excess nutrients entering the Menominee River and harbor area.
  9. Promote public attitudes and perceptions of the waterfront as a valuable and aesthetic resource.
  10. Develop, improve, and maintain shoreline access and recreational facilities for public use and enjoyment.
  11. Protect wildlife and fish habitat in nearshore and wetland areas.
  12. Reduce conflicts among different types of users.
  13. Encourage commercial and industrial developments that build upon and enhance the value of the waterfront.
  14. Improve the scenic beauty of the river and bay shorelines.
  15. Remediate sediment contamination to protect human health, fish, aquatic life, and wildlife.
  16. Eliminate all raw sewage discharges and overflows and other known bacterial problems to meet water quality standards for total and partial body contact (including recreational uses) throughout the AOC.
  17. Pursue all opportunities to reduce or eliminate all discharges of toxic substances into the AOC, including direct discharges to surface waters, runoff from land surfaces, and air emissions.

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RAP Development and Status

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has worked with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to develop and implement the RAP for the Menominee River. The multi-stakeholder Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) have been instrumental in the development of the RAP by mobilizing public support, increasing awareness, and conducting data and problem analysis. A vision statement for the desired future state of the Lower Menominee River was developed by the CAC and used as guidance in the preparation of RAP goals and objectives that were developed jointly by the CAC and TAC.

Currently, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are working with Ansul Fire Protection Company under the RCRA Corrective Action Program to address arsenic contamination in the AOC.

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Significant RAP Milestones

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RAP Implementation

Recent progress and achievements

A significant amount of progress has occurred since the RAP process began in 1988. Agreements and programs among government agencies, municipal authorities, and industry have been created to address the use impairments. Presented below is a summary of actions and accomplishments:

Current projects and outlook

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RAP-Related Publications

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Community Involvement

A primary goal of the Lower Menominee River RAP is and has been to include and encourage public participation in RAP development and implementation. Public participation has focused on:

As part of the RAP process, WDNR and MDEQ formed a RAP Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC included area residents, local government officials, educators, recreation specialists, environmentalists, and business and industry representatives from the Marinette, Wisconsin and Menominee, Michigan area. Also included were CAC community education and outreach activities were also begun and will continue throughout the RAP process.

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Photos

Menominee Lighthouse

Menominee Lighthouse

Lower Menominee River

Lower Menominee River

Menominee River

Menominee River


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