(Sept. 28, 2018) The Great Lakes National Program office announces the removal of the 80th “Beneficial Use Impairment” (BUI) from the U.S. Areas of Concern (AOCs). The removal of the “degradation of aesthetics” BUI from the Buffalo River AOC is a significant milestone because it is the first BUI at this AOC to be removed. Through a locally driven effort, partners have addressed this BUI by working to bring back the natural beauty of the area. Based on a restoration of 24% of the AOC’s shoreline and a significant increase in the amount green spaces, this BUI removal is representative of the significant progress being made in the Buffalo AOC. This is an important step for the Buffalo River AOC, both on its path to becoming a cleaner environment and to ultimately being “delisted”, i.e., taken off the list of the 27 remaining U.S. AOCs.
BUIs are indicators of environmental degradation in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs). There are 14 BUIs, addressing fish and wildlife consumption, degradation of the lake bottom, restrictions on dredging, beach closings, and other types of environmental degradation. Since the start of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in 2010, 70 BUIs have been removed, seven times the number removed prior to GLRI. GLRI funding has rapidly increased the pace of progress in Great Lakes AOCs.
[Restoration of the Ohio Street Boat Launch upland habitat site on the Buffalo River just after construction.
Photo credits: Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and EagleHawk One, LLC]