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GLIN==> Request For Comments on Delisting the "Degradation of Benthos ” Beneficial Use Impairment in the East Branch of the Black River, Ohio Area of Concern

Request to Delist the
        “Degradation of Benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment in the
          East Branch of the Black River, Ohio Area of Concern

On March 29, 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA)
Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) received a request to delist
the “Degradation of Benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) in the East
Branch of the Black River, Ohio Area of Concern (AOC).  This request was
submitted by Mr Joseph P. Koncelik, Director of the Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency (OEPA), and Mr. Kenneth G. Pearce, the Chairman of the
Black River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Coordinating Committee.

This request is being submitted in the recognition of the improved
watershed management and upgrades to wastewater treatment and collection
facilities which have allowed the benthic macro-invertebrate communities
in the East Branch of the Black River to fully recover from previous
impacts to water and habitat quality.  Both the letter and the formal
document which presents scientific and technical support for this
request are attached for your review and comment at the end of this


The U.S. RAP Program has made substantial progress towards the
restoration of beneficial uses in the 31 U.S. and binational AOCs.  This
led to the question of how and when to formally delist AOCs as the
implementation of all recommended actions for restoring beneficial uses
are completed, and as the uses are restored and maintained. The critical
test for any such process and associated criteria is to insure that it
is rigorous, scientifically defensible, and allows for full review and
comment from interested and affected stakeholders.

Acting on directions from the United States Policy Committee (USPC),
GLNPO convened the U.S. RAP Workgroup (comprised of representatives from
the eight Great Lakes states and other U.S. federal agencies, with
observers from the Canadian federal and provincial agencies and the
International Joint Commission [IJC]), in order to draft principles and
guidelines for showing progress, maintaining momentum, and formally
delisting and AOC.  These principles and guidelines can be used by a RAP
Implementation Group (defined as the state agency responsible for the
RAP program and the local public stakeholder group working with the
state agency on the RAP) as guideposts and tools in their work.  The
USPC approved this document on December 6, 2001.  The entire document,
entitled Restoring United States Areas of Concern: Delisting Principles
and Guidelines,” can be found at:


Removing Beneficial Use Impairments

One of the tools identified was the removal of individual beneficial use
impairments as they are restored.  While not originally envisioned for
application on a subwatershed or individual river-reach basis, the
Delisting Principles and Guidelines were intended to be a dynamic
document, allowing for these types of modifications as they are
identified.  Removing use impairments as they are restored and
celebrating this as evidence of environmental improvement in an AOC will
help maintain momentum towards the ultimate goal of restoring and
formally delisting all of the Great Lakes AOCs.

Requirements for the Removal of a Beneficial Use Impairment

Removal of a beneficial use impairment can occur under any of these

•     a delisting target has been met through remedial actions which
confirms that the beneficial use    has been restored (the situation for
this request to delist the BUI);
•     it can be demonstrated that the beneficial use impairment is due
to natural rather than human  causes;
•     it can be demonstrated that the impairment is not limited to the
local geographic extent, but  rather is typical of lakewide,
region-wide, or area-wide conditions; and/or
•     the impairment is caused by sources outside the AOC.  The
impairment is not restored but the  impairment classification can be
removed or changed to “impaired-not due to local sources”.
Responsibility for addressing “out of AOC” sources is given to another
party (e.g., Lakewide   Management Plans).

Procedures for the Removal of a Beneficial Use Impairment

The following steps are to be followed in order to delist a given BUI:

1.    Recommendation for Restoration:  The RAP Implementation Group (in
this case, OEPA and the       Black River RAP Coordinating Committee)
recommends a change of status in one or more    beneficial use
impairments to USEPA.  The recommendation should be accompanied by
documentation and data to substantiate that delisting targets have been
met, permitting the     status to change (attached).

2.    Decision on Restoration: USEPA will issue a decision whether or
not to support the                  recommendation within 90 days,
allowing for public review and comment. If USEPA supports   the
recommendation, they will send an official statement of concurrence to
the RAP                 Implementation Group and to the IJC.  If USEPA
does not support the recommendation and/or      decides that it needs
further study, it will meet with the RAP Implementation Group to explain
its   decision and to resolve the issue(s) in a timely manner.

3.    Celebration of Achievement:  When a beneficial use is restored,
the RAP Implementation        Group will then issue a press release to
acknowledge this milestone.

What We Are Asking From You

GLNPO is soliciting public comments on the Request to Delist the
“Degradation of Benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment in the East Branch of
the Black River, Ohio Area of Concern.  Please address your comments or
questions by June 24, 2005 via email to:

                              Mark Elster
               USEPA-Great Lakes National Program Office
                      77 W. Jackson Blvd. (G-17J)
                           Chicago, IL  60604
                            P:  312-886-3857
                            F:  312-353-2018

EPA intends to render a  decision by June 30, 2005.

(See attached file: EB Cover letter.pdf)(See attached file:

Attachment: EB Cover letter.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

Attachment: EastBranchDelistingRequest.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document