Great Lakes Region


A view from a ridge above the St. Lawrence River in Robert Moses State Park

Funds Available to Restore St. Lawrence River Resources

On behalf of the St. Lawrence River Environment Trustee Council, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting proposals for funding to restore natural resources, habitats, and cultural and recreational uses in areas affected by decades of hazardous waste releases from industrial pollution in the St. Lawrence River, its tributaries, and adjacent watersheds. 

The settlements include projects that protect 324 acres of unique habitat and improve public recreational access to natural resources. (NOAA photo)

Wisconsin’s Sheboygan River Community Gains 324 Protected Acres and Improved Public Recreation Access after Settlements

On April 17, 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin entered final consent decrees announcing three settlements, with three separate companies, in excess of $4.5 million for natural resource damages at the Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund site.

Amsterdam Dunes, a rare Great Lakes coastal dune and swale habitat, will be preserved as part of the proposed settlement.

Trustees Seek Comments on Project to Protect Unique Habitat in Wisconsin

On December 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release announcing three settlements, with three separate companies, in excess of $4.5 million for natural resource damages at the Sheboygan River & Harbor Superfund site. These settlements will resolve claims brought by NOAA and its co- trustees regarding liability for historic industrial discharges of chemicals that caused injury to public natural resources.

Case Pages:

“Tar seep” in an upland area at the head of Slip 6. The tar-like substances shown here are similar to the contaminants that were removed during the remediation process at several sites within the St. Louis River Estuary.

St. Louis River/Interlake/Duluth Tar

Hazardous Waste Site | Duluth, Minnesota | 1890s – Present

What Happened?

As result of historical industrial operations along the St. Louis River numerous hazardous chemicals were released into the environment. The St. Louis River Superfund site was listed on the National Priorities List in 1983.

Scientists assess impacts to mussel shells from response-related boat traffic.

Enbridge Pipeline Release

Oil Spill | Marshall, MI | July 25, 2010

Bridge over the Grasse River

St. Lawrence River

Hazardous Waste Site | Massena, New York | 1903 to Present

Kalamazoo River

Hazardous Waste Site | Allegan & Kalamazoo Counties, MI | 1950s to Present

Paper mills conducting carbonless copy paper recycling released PCBs polychlorinated biphenyls; a class of chemicals previously used in manufacturing that remain in the environment for many decades, accumulate in living creatures, and pose health hazards to humans, wildlife, and fish. into the Kalamazoo River from the late 1950s through the early 1970s.

Canoeing the Sheboygan River in the fall. (Deb Beyer, University of Wisconsin)

Sheboygan River and Harbor site

Hazardous Waste Site  |  Sheboygan, WI | 1870s to Present

Beginning as early as the 1870s, various industrial facilities released PCBs, heavy metals, and PAHs to the Sheboygan River and the surrounding area. EPA designated the lower 14 miles of the Sheboygan River a Superfund site in 1986.