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Black River Area of Concern

Black River Advisory Committee's goal is to remove the Black River from the US EPA's Area Of Concern list. The Advisory Committee is made up of city, state and federal entities, non-profit organizations, private citizens, and other Black River stakeholders. This committee is sponsored by the Ohio EPA and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), and assists with funding requests and project designation along the lower six miles of the Black River. 

While the entire mainstem of the Black River is 15 miles long, the committee's main focus is on the Lower Black River. Starting at the mouth of the river where it drains into Lake Erie and going 6.5 miles upriver to where French Creek flows into the river is the main area of focus.

Management Actions Nearly Complete - Moving Toward Delisting!

The Black River was designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) in 1987 and local, state, and federal partners have worked together in working toward completing all management actions, with the final step anticipated in summer 2024. The Black River AOC has 4 Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) that remain impaired. Working to remove BUIs doesn’t just help the river, it helps the whole county. The Black River was once known for the mighty ships that were built on its banks. Along with steel and coal utilizing the banks and shoreline, this was Lorain's lifeblood. Now it is the lifeblood through recreation and entertainment. State, federal, and local efforts continue to help work towards the goal of delisting the Black River AOC, with a goal of delisting by the end of 2025/early 2026.

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Recent Announcements


Another important step toward delisting the Black River as an Area of Concern! Invitation for public comment is available until May 31 for the Black River AOC Draft BUI Removal for Beach Closings (Recreational Use). The removal recommendation is based on the identification of actions to improve water quality throughout the Black River AOC, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of beach advisories at Lakeview Beach. While evaluation showed elevated beach advisories are a region-wide issue within Lake Erie’s central basin, conditions within the Black River AOC continue to improve with work funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and other state, local, and federal partners.

More information, as well as the draft & Lakeview Beach study, can be found here or download the documents below:

Comments can be sent until May 31st to Hannah Boesinger, Northeast Ohio AOC Coordinator, Ohio Lake Erie Commission @

BUI 4: Fish Tumors or Other Deformities Removed 
On October 16, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed the 'Fish Tumors or Other Deformities' Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) from the Black River AOC that was caused by Historical industrial pollution in the Black River, which resulted in poor water quality and sediments contaminated with toxic compounds that negatively impact fish health, including metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Elevated PAHs in particular can cause liver tumors and external deformities in fishes - especially in more susceptible bottom-dwelling or resident species such as brown bullhead catfish and smallmouth bass. Fish populations in these rivers suffered from excessive rates of both internal (liver tumors) and external (deformities, eroded fins, lesions, and tumors) malformations as a result of sediment contamination, prompting the initial designation of the Fish Tumors and Other Deformities BUI in the Black River AOC. This marks the fifth BUI removed from the Black River AOC with four remaining BUIs. Read more here.
Lorain County Soil and Water Conservation District to Facilitate Black River Area of Concern Advisory Committee
Lorain County Soil and Water Conservation District has taken on the important role of facilitating the Black River Area of Concern Advisory Committee. With a proven commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement, the District is poised to continue leading the collaborative efforts in restoring and preserving the ecological health of the Black River watershed.


Quarterly Meetings
All of our meetings have the option to join in person or virtually via Zoom. Our next meeting is Thursday, July 18th at 10:00am at the City of Lorain Reclamation Site, 2601 E. 28th St, Lorain, OH 44055
Please Click Here for our current schedule of meetings coming up. You will also fin
d an archived list of past meetings and minutes.


Learn about the history of the Black River by viewing our timeline.


Learn more about the Black River AOC by viewing our Multimedia section.

Explore Black River AOC
Learn about the Black River through our multimedia collection and timeline.
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