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Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans

Published Feb. 26, 2024
Updated: March 4, 2024

Remedial Action Plans

This program enables the Corps of Engineers to provide technical assistance to state and local agencies or non-profit organizations for the development or implementation of Remedial Action Plans at Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs).  Technical assistance has already been provided to 23 AOCs. 

This assistance has included:

  • Planning and design of sediment remediation actions
  • Planning and design of habitat restoration actions
  • Water quality and/or sediment transport modeling
  • Collection of physical, chemical and biological data
  • Outreach support
  • Cost estimating
  • Construction management

RAP technical assistance requires a non-federal partner to provide cost-sharing (35%) as cash or in-kind services.

Remedial Action Plan Section 401

Background

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, an international treaty between the United States and Canada, designated 43 Areas of Concern around the Great Lakes where beneficial uses of the lakes and tributaries were impaired. Fourteen use impairments were identified including restrictions on consumption of fish and wildlife, loss of fish and wildlife habitat, restrictions on dredging activities, and beach closings.

Annex 2 of the agreement directed that the governments of the U.S. and Canada cooperate with state and provincial governments to ensure that Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) were developed and implemented for each Area of Concern.

Remedial Action Plans are to be developed in three stages. The first stage RAP identifies the beneficial uses that are impaired, defines the causes of use impairments and sources of pollutants. The second stage RAP evaluates various remedial measures to restore beneficial uses, identifies the selected measures and identifies persons or agencies responsible for implementation. The third stage RAP provides monitoring and surveillance information to demonstrate that the beneficial uses have been restored.

Corps' Authority

In the Water Resources Development Act of 1990, Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support the development and implementation of Remedial Action Plans at U.S. Areas of Concern on the Great Lakes. Section 401 of this Act enables the Corps to provide technical support to State and local governments.

RAP support may include a variety of technical services, including:

  • physical and environmental monitoring
  • remedial planning and design
  • construction management
  • development of geographic information systems (GIS)
  • computer modeling and analysis
  • cost estimating
  • real estate and public outreach support

Under this authority, the Corps has provided support to RAPs at the following Areas of Concern:

  • Ashtabula River, Ohio
  • Grand Calumet River, Indiana
  • Waukegan Harbor, Illinois
  • Detroit River, Michigan
  • Muskegon Lake, Michigan
  • White Lake, Michigan
  • Clinton River, Michigan
  • Manistique River, Michigan
  • River Raisin, Michigan
  • Rouge River, Michigan
  • Saginaw River/Bay, Michigan
  • St. Clair River, Michigan
  • St. Louis River, Minnesota/Wisconsin
  • Buffalo River, New York
  • Eighteen Mile Creek, New York
  • Niagara River, New York
  • Rochester Embayment, New York
  • Black River, Ohio
  • Cuyahoga River, Ohio
  • Maumee River, Ohio
  • Fox River/Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Estuary, Wisconsin
  • Sheboygan River, Wisconsin

This is not a grant program. A cost-sharing agreement is required. Partners may include state or local governmental agencies or non-profit organizations. Support is provided by Corps districts and their contractors. Support is cost-shared 65/35. The non-Federal share may come from state and local agencies, non-profit groups or private sources. In addition, the non-Federal share may include "services in-kind" in lieu of cash.

To utilize this program, prospective partners should contact the appropriate Corps district office to discuss the type and scope of support desired. The district office will develop a budget, schedule and cost-sharing agreement for approval by the sponsor.

USACE base funding for the GLRAP program is through the annual Energy & Water Appropriations.  While no base funding has been provided since Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, over $14.3 million funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has been utilized by USACE for GLRAP projects through FY 2023.