Areas of Concern Program

The Areas of Concern (AOCs)  are regions along the Great Lakes with water quality problems and degraded environmental conditions. There are 14 Areas of Concern identified in Michigan and a total of 41 AOCs in the Great Lakes Basin. The Great Lakes Commission provides a wealth of information about the AOC program. The State of Michigan has been a member of the Great Lakes Commission since 1955.

Michigan Great Lakes Areas of Concern Program, was created as a result of the revised 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada. A summary of this program is provided by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The International Joint Commission listed the Saginaw River/Bay as an Area of Concern in 1985.

The Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern extends from the head of the Saginaw River at the confluence of the Shiawassee and Tittabawassee Rivers upstream of the city of Saginaw to its mouth, and all of the Saginaw Bay out to its interface with open Lake Huron at an imaginary line drawn between Au Sable Point and Point Aux Barques. Contaminated sediments, fish consumption advisories, degraded fisheries, and loss of significant recreational values, primarily from nonpoint sources discharges, combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and industrial sources of polychlorinated biphenyls, were the major reasons for the Area of Concern designation. Contact John Riley for more information on the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern Program at

The Statewide Public Advisory Council

The Statewide Public Advisory Council promotes sharing of ideas across the state’s Areas of Concerns. The Public Advisory Councils and Statewide Public Advisory Council provide local stakeholder perspective related to goals and objectives within Areas of Concerns. This relationship is integral to the implementation of the Area of Concern program.

Remedial Action Plans

Remedial Action Plans are documents approved by the State of Michigan and the Environmental Protection Agency of the U.S. Government that detail the current environmental conditions of the Area of Concern and identify actions needed to clean up the Area of Concern.

Remedial Action Plans are divided into three stages:

Stage 1: Environmental Conditions and Problem Definition

This stage outlines the starting point for the Area of Concern. The Stage 1 RAP was completed in 1988 for the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern.

Stage 2: Goals, Options and Recommendations

This stage defines the remedial actions to clean up the Area of Concern. In 2012, the Stage 2 RAP was completed for the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern.

Stage 3: Evaluation of Remedial Measures and Confirmation of Restoration of Uses

This is the stage where all Beneficial Use Impairments have been removed, environmental conditions are shown to be met, and the Area of Concern is delisted.

The Stage 1 RAP for the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern was completed in 1988. All RAPs for the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern are included with other reports on the Resources page.