Manistique River cleanup effort gets $3.7 million

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is awarding the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality $3,795,056 to help continue the cleanup of contaminated sediment from industrial waste in the Manistique River. This support will help MDEQ develop and implement measures to remediate poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination in the watershed.

“Michigan’s waterways are one of our state’s most precious resources,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “I am pleased that these funds will build on ongoing efforts to clean the Manistique River watershed, which will boost the Upper Peninsula’s economy and preserve these resources for future generations.”

“Our lakes and waterways are part of who we are and our way of life,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force. “This investment will help clean up pollution and conserve beautiful natural resources in the Manistique watershed for generations to come.”

The Manistique River has been listed as an Area of Concern since 1987 due to a long history of industrialization and repeated contamination from PCBs, oils and combined sewer overflows. In addition, debris and sawdust from more than a century of logging and milling in the region have degraded the Manistique River watershed. As a result, over the years there have been restrictions on dredging and fish and wildlife consumption, as well as beach closings.

When completed, the project is expected to significantly reduce the PCB levels in the Manistique River channel and harbor. With successful remediation, dredging restrictions will be removed and fish PCB concentrations will return to safe levels. Meeting these objectives will lead to the removal of the remaining Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) from the harbor and channel that were identified in 1987 for the Manistique River Area of Concern.