River cleanup makes ‘significant progress’

sun-through-the-trees-thamesThe Michigan Office of the Great Lakes announced last week that significant progress had been made on cleanup of the St Marys River, which flows between the eastern Upper Peninsula and Ontario.

The river was labeled an area of concern in 1987, after industrial pollution from both the Canadian and American sides of the river impacted the region.

On December 8th, the EPA announced that algae levels in the river were below a threshold for action.

Algae is a visible sign of water pollution, often feeding on excessive minerals in the water and sometimes choking out plants and wildlife in the river.

John Riley is with the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.
“We’re not trying to return these areas to pristine pre-settlement conditions because that’s just not going to happen. But we feel like if we can get them to a condition where they’re comparable to any similar place along the Great Lakes with similar water quality. That’s what we’re trying to get to though where we can say ‘hey conditions are as good as anywhere else.”

Riley said there is still more work to be done, particularly on the Canadian side, but this brings the river one step closer to being taken off a list of areas of concern.