FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2022
Responding to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s (OLEC) and Ohio EPA’s recommendations from earlier this year, U.S. EPA has agreed to remove the “Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) from the Maumee Area of Concern (AOC).
BUIs identify specific problems that can prevent a waterbody from meeting its full water quality potential. In 1990, the Maumee AOC advisory committee identified 10 BUIs that needed to be addressed. The Maumee AOC includes the lower Maumee River and smaller streams that are primarily within Lucas, Ottawa, and Wood counties.
The health of fish and wildlife within the AOC has improved significantly over the last 30 years, making it safer for people to eat. This prompted OLEC and Ohio EPA to request that the impairment designation be removed from the BUI list. The recommendations for fish consumption within the Maumee AOC are now consistent with the state standards for eating one meal a week.
This milestone was achieved through the collaborative efforts of dedicated local, state, and federal partners. In July 2022, OLEC and Ohio EPA issued an invitation for public comment as part of the removal recommendation process, and no comments opposing removal of the BUI were received. OLEC and Ohio EPA continue to advance towards the removal of the eight remaining BUIs with AOC local partners. As each BUI removal goal is met, OLEC, in partnership with Ohio EPA, will notify the community, seek public input, and submit additional BUI removal recommendations to U.S. EPA.
More information about the improvements and remaining impairments in the Maumee Area of Concern are available online: www.maumeeaoc.org.
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie's natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) serves as the commission's chairman. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development Services, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and seven additional members of the public appointed by the governor.
For more information, contact:
Dina Pierce, Ohio EPA
Lynn Garrity, Ohio Lake Erie Commission