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St. Lawrence River AOC at Massena/Akwesasne

The St Lawrence River at Massena Area of Concern (AOC) includes two areas of interest for New York State. The first is the New York State waters of the St. Lawrence River upstream of the Canadian boundary to the Massena public water supply intake, the Grasse River from the mouth upstream to the breached dam in the village of Massena, the Raquette River from the mouth upstream to the NYS route 420 bridge, and the St. Regis River from the mouth upstream to the dam at Hogansburg.

The second area of special interest includes the non-U.S. waters from the Moses-Saunders Power Dam to the eastern outlet of Lake St. Francis, including provinces of Ontario, Quebec in Canada and St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Territory.

Restoring the Massena/Akwesasne Area of Concern

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement outlines the process for restoring all Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The process involves developing a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) to address Beneficial Use Impairments in each AOC. A Remedial Advisory Committee (RAC) was established for each AOC to assist the restoration process.

Massena Remedial Action Plan

All Areas of Concern have a Remedial Action Plan that identifies specific problems and outlines the work needed to restore, or delist, the AOC. The Department of Environmental Conservation takes the lead in developing and implementing the Massena AOC Remedial Action Plan.

Remedial Action Plans are developed in three stages:

Massena AOC Identified Beneficial Use Impairment Status
BUI 2014 Status
Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption Impaired
Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations Unknown / Further Assessment Needed
Fish Tumors or Other Deformities Unknown / Further Assessment Needed
Bird / Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems Unknown / Further Assessment Needed
Degradation of Benthos (benthos is the river bottom or lake bed environment, including substrate/sediment and organisms) Unknown / Further Assessment Needed
Degradation of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Populations Delisting Document completed
Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Impaired

Massena Area Cleanup Efforts

Much has been done since 1987 to clean up the identified problems and restore water quality:

  • municipal wastewater systems upgraded
  • new agriculture techniques for resource management implemented
  • permitted discharges to water and air reduced through government regulations
  • industrial manufacturing and disposal procedures improved
  • lagoons, sludge and other land-based waste sites identified, tested, monitored, and in many cases cleaned up or closed
  • contaminated sediments in streams and rivers located, and plans for removal or treatment completed or currently under consideration
  • targeted cleanup activities have been completed by local industries, including Alcoa and General Motors

Massena AOC RAP Coordinator

Christopher Fidler
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Water
Massena AOC Coordinator
317 Washington St.
Watertown, NY 13601-3787
Phone: (315) 785-2262

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