Presque Isle Bay is one of 40 remaining environmental areas of concern (AoCs) on the North American Great Lakes that have one or more water, habitat, or sediment quality impairments as defined by the International Joint Commission. In situ natural capping using sediment from to-be-remediated watersheds and other potential sources is being considered as the most feasible means of remediating an existing contaminated sediment problem at this site. A multi-decade (∼40 year) sediment budget shows that, when localized anthropogenic effects (dredging, reclamation) are discounted, the bay net-accumulated sediment over time. Sediment was supplied from three major sources: bank erosion and bluff retreat (41%), streams (25%), and the Lake Erie littoral system (20%). The non-stream sources supply environmentally clean materials from ancient beach and glacio-lacustrine deposits along the shoreline, and from the modern littoral system. Organic and metallic contaminants supplied primarily by streams and run-off remain a remediation challenge for the AoC. Geologically, natural capping of contaminants over the next several decades is a viable solution for most of the bay. The mechanism may not work effectively in all areas because approximately 25% of the bay floor is moderately net-erosional while several localized areas accumulate sediments very slowly at decadal timescales.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Water Science and Technology
- Soil Science