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Great Lakes Sustainability Fund

In the late 1980s, the Parties, in cooperation with State and Provincial Governments and the International Joint Commission (IJC), designated 43 Areas of Concern, or “degraded areas,” within the Great Lakes Basin, based on significant environmental concerns in these areas. Since then, of the 17 Canadian areas, three areas have been fully restored and removed from that list.

While solid progress is being made in cleaning up the remaining Canadian areas, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (GLSF) was created to accelerate the work being done to restore the environmental quality of Canada's remaining 14 Areas of Concern.

Restoring Areas of Concern improves water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and population health. Funding is provided to initiatives that meet specific criteria and that serve to restore the environment. Such projects include fish and wildlife habitat restoration, contaminated sediment remediation, landowner stewardship, and control of pollution from municipal wastewaters and rural runoff.

The fund also provides funding for technical studies to determine causes of bacterial contamination at beaches and in cases that involve municipal infrastructure, the fund can assist with planning, design and pilot studies. Environmental improvements lead to local economic competitiveness through the development of innovative technologies, and increased recreation, tourism and development opportunities in Area of Concern communities.

The fund is administered by Environment Canada in consultation with seven other Government of Canada departments: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Heritage, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada and Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Portfolio (formerlyTransport Canada and Infrastructure Canada).

Delisted Canadian Areas of Concern:

Severn Sound
Collingwood Harbour
Wheatley Harbour

Canadian Area in Recovery:

Spanish Harbour

Canadian Areas of Concern:

Thunder Bay
Nipigon Bay
Jackfish Bay
Peninsula Harbour
Hamilton Harbour
Toronto and Region
Port Hope Harbour
Bay of Quinte

Binational Areas of Concern

St. Lawrence River
Niagara River
St. Marys River
St. Clair River
Detroit River

For more information about the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund, please visit the Environment Canada web site at


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