An impairment of beneficial uses means a change in the chemical, physical or biological integrity which caused significant environmental degradation.
St. Lawrence River Area of Concern at Massena/Akwesasne
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was signed between the United States and Canada in 1972 to affirm the importance of restoring and maintaining the Great Lakes as an essential water boundary. It also defines an Area of Concern (AOC) as an area that has been environmentally degraded according to 14 Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI). A total of 43 AOCs have been identified: 26 located in the United States; 12 in Canada; and 5 bi-national shared by both nations, which includes the St. Lawrence River AOC.
The St. Lawrence River AOC begins above the power dam facilities and seaway locks at the Massena Village drinking water intake and flows downstream for approximately 15 miles to the eastern outlet of Lake Saint Francois, and includes portions of the Grasse, Raquette, and St. Regis rivers.
The St. Lawrence River AOC is one of only five bi-nationally recognized sites with jurisdiction on both sides of the border and is the only AOC in the United States that includes a Native American tribal territory. The entire AOC is divided by the international border: jurisdiction in the United States portion is shared between the United States, New York State and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; while jurisdiction in the Canadian portion is shared between Canada, Ontario, Quebec and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. The shared goal among these international agencies is the complete delisting of the St. Lawrence River as an AOC.
The programs to address the degradation of the St. Lawrence River AOC at Massena/Akwesasne are as follows: