The Niagara River is a connecting channel (strait) that flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The Niagara River is a binational Area of Concern (AOC) that straddles the border between Canada and the United States. Both countries have developed Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) specific to each areas issues. Both Canada and the United States are committed to working together to improve the water quality of the Great Lakes, including the Niagara River.
The focus of all AOCs include the “Waters of the Great Lakes”, which are defined as:
The waters of Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario and the connecting river systems of St. Mary’s, St. Clair including Lake St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara and St. Lawrence at the international boundary or upstream from the point at which this river becomes the international boundary between Canada and the United States, including all open and nearshore waters.
2012 Amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
The geographic scope of the Niagara River (Ontario) AOC includes the bed and surface water of the area covered by the Niagara River on the Canadian side of the international boundary, extending from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake, as illustrated on the map below. The watershed (drainage basin) of the Niagara River in Ontario includes all of the Welland River, and the smaller tributaries in the upper and lower Niagara River. The drainage area that flows into the river is referred to as the AOC watershed.
Restoration efforts are focused on the river itself but some projects are implemented in the AOC watershed, when deemed necessary.