1.4 Response Jurisdictions

To view an interactive map of response jurisdiction boundaries, click here.

Region 5 has been divided into two operational areas, inland and coastal, which correspond to the areas in which US EPA and USCG are responsible for providing OSCs. The coastal operational area consists of the open waters of the Great Lakes, including Lake St. Clair, the interconnecting rivers, major bays, ports and harbors of the Region 5 States, and the land surface, land substrata, ground water and ambient air proximal to those waters. The inland operational area includes all other land territory of the six States of Region 5, including each State’s inland lakes and rivers. Numerous Native American community reservations and treaty rights areas are also delineated within Region 5.

Two Coast Guard Districts share Federal Region 5. The Ninth Coast Guard District, headquartered in Cleveland, serves the Great Lakes drainage basin. The Eighth Coast Guard District, headquartered in New Orleans, serves the drainage basins of the upper Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. The boundary between USCG District 8 and USCG District 9 is at River Mile 187.3 on the Illinois River.

Within the Great Lakes coastal zone, the appropriate Captain of the Port (COTP) functions as the predesignated OSC for all oil and hazardous substance releases, subject to a DOT/US EPA redelegation of certain CERCLA response authorities. US EPA performs the following two categories of response actions within the coastal zone: 1) remedial actions for releases originating from facilities, and 2) all response actions for releases originating from hazardous waste management facilities.

The scope of the Eighth Coast Guard District response role is defined by a revised Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the District and US EPA Region 5, signed by the Rear Admiral and Regional Administrator on March 15, 2017. The revised MOU assigns US EPA as the predesignated OSC for the entire inland zone, including the inland river system within the Eighth Coast Guard District, for responding to all discharges of oil and hazardous substances. The USCG responds to spills from commercial vessels only.

DOD or DOE provides OSCs for all response actions for releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants which originate on any facility or vessel under the jurisdiction, custody or control of DOD or DOE. In the case of a Federal agency other than US EPA, USCG, DOD or DOE, such agency shall provide OSCs for removal actions necessitated by releases originating on any facility or vessel under its jurisdiction that are not emergencies.

US EPA or USCG OSCs may be requested to provide technical assistance to the lead agency OSC who is responding to the release or threatened release. In the event of an emergency on Federal agency property other than DOD or DOE, US EPA or USCG retains response authority and US EPA OSCs may respond and later initiate cost recovery actions against the potential responsible party.

Definitions of the boundaries of OSC jurisdictions for Region 5 are provided in the following subsections. Where highways are used to delineate the boundary, the roadbed right-of-ways of the highway are included in the inland (US EPA) zone.

US EPA Region 3 OSC Boundaries

US EPA Region 3 will provide OSCs for investigating and responding to releases to the main stem of the Ohio River from the Ohio-Pennsylvania boundary, mile 40.1, to the Kentucky-West Virginia boundary, mile 317.2. All releases in the above-named stretch of the Ohio River emanating from sources in West Virginia will be handled by US EPA Region 3 personnel; those from sources in Region 5 will be handled by Region 5 personnel. If either RRT is activated, the Eighth USCG District would be involved along the entire stretch of the Ohio River.

US EPA Region 4 OSC Boundaries

US EPA Region 4 will provide OSCs for investigating and responding to releases of oil or hazardous materials to the main stem of the Ohio River from the Kentucky-West Virginia boundary, mile 317.2, to its junction with the Mississippi River, mile 981.2. Releases in the above-named stretch of the Ohio River emanating from shoreline sources in US EPA Region 4 will be handled by personnel of Region 4; spills from shoreline sources in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois will be handled by personnel from Region 5.

Region 4 will have the responsibility for ensuring notification of water users downstream of the location of the release, including coordination with The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), the USCG Eighth District and USACE, when a release occurs on the south shoreline or in the main stream of the Ohio River. Region 5 has a like responsibility, including coordination with ORSANCO, the USCG Eighth District, and USACE when a release occurs on the north shoreline of the river. Either Region, when requested by the other, may assume the functional OSC role for a particular incident. The decision to accept this responsibility will rest with the Region being requested on an incident-specific basis. Boundary lines do not preclude mutual assistance between the two agencies.

US EPA Region 7 OSC Boundaries

US EPA Region 7 will provide OSCs for investigating and responding to releases to the main stem of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) when either Iowa or Missouri is the principal first responding State. US EPA Region 5 will have jurisdiction for such releases within the State of Minnesota and where Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois is the first principal responding State. When releases to the UMR main stem will result in significant response by more than one State, or when there is uncertainty as to the responding States, Region 7 will provide OSCs for such releases occurring between Cairo, Illinois, and Keokuk, Iowa (miles 0.0 to 354.5). Region 5 will provide OSCs for such releases above that point.

For spills from shore facilities and non-waterborne sources, OSCs will be provided by the Region in which the source is located.

US EPA Region 8 OSC Boundaries

US EPA Region 5 will provide OSCs for investigating and responding to releases to the main stem of the Red River of the North from its origin in Lake Traverse near Browns Valley, Minnesota, to the Canadian border. All spills to the above-named stretch of the Red River emanating from sources in North Dakota and South Dakota will be handled by Region 8 personnel.

South of the Browns Valley area, the boundary between South Dakota and Minnesota involves the headwaters of the Minnesota River flowing southward. Region 5 Spill Response personnel will respond to releases to the main stem of the Little Minnesota River and Big Stone Lake southward to Ortonville, Minnesota.

All releases to the above-named headwaters of the Minnesota River emanating from sources in South Dakota will be handled by Region 8 personnel; releases from sources in Minnesota will be handled by Region 5 personnel.

US EPA Region 8 will provide communications as necessary with the Canadian Province of Manitoba concerning all releases occurring in waters flowing into Canada, including those emanating from Region 5.

Ninth Coast Guard District OSC Boundaries

Four USCG Sectors and one Marine Safety Unit (MSU) provide FOSCs for releases occurring within the coastal zone of Federal Region 5, each serving a specific geographic area. These geographic areas are defined as the international boundary with Canada, the boundaries between the units (described at 33 CFR 3.45), and the boundary between the inland zone and the coastal zone. In most locations, the boundary between inland and coastal zones follows the near shore areas adjoining the Great Lakes and the interconnecting rivers.

The following subsections detail, for each of the five units, which tributaries fall within the coastal zone and where a geographic feature, such as a highway, serves as the boundary.

Sector Buffalo, NY

  1. Ashtabula River (Ashtabula, Ohio): Upstream to East 5th Street.
  2. Black River (Lorain, Ohio): Upstream to the turning basin at the National Tube Division of U.S. Steel (river mile 3.0).
  3. Conneaut River (Conneaut, Ohio): Upstream to the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Swing Bridge at Pittsburg & Conneaut Dock Comp. (river mile 0.75).
  4. Cuyahoga River (Cleveland, Ohio): Upstream to the mouth of Big Creek in the Metropolitan Parks (river mile 7.5).
  5. Grand River (Fairport Harbor, Ohio): Upstream to the turning basin at Osborn Concrete and Tank Company.

Except for the river miles mentioned above, the coastal/inland zone demarcation shall be defined by the boundary on the highway created by State Route 2 from Vermilion to North Perry and then U.S. Route 20 from North Perry to the Ohio/Pennsylvania border. The coastal zone being all waters and adjacent shoreline north of this boundary, any incident on the above-mentioned highways will be the responsibility of US EPA but it should be noted that the COTP may be requested to respond as First Federal Official on scene until a US EPA OSC can respond.

Sector Detroit, MI

  • Lake Huron North of Saginaw Bay
    1. All U.S. waters south of latitude line 44°43′00″ N following the shoreline down to the Au Sable River.
    2. All waters of the Au Sable River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to the Route 23 Bridge.
    3. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Au Gres River.
    4. All waters of the Au Gres River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to the East Huron Rd/Route 23 Bridge.
  • Saginaw Bay
    1. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Saginaw River.
    2. All waters of the Saginaw River to include all adjoining wetlands, inlets, and channels upstream to the I-675 Bridge.
    3. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to the Sebewaing River.
    4. All waters of the Sebewaing River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Route 25 Bridge.
    5. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to the Pigeon River.
    6. All waters of the Pigeon River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Route 25 Bridge.
  • Lake Huron East and South of Saginaw Bay
    1. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to Bird Creek.
    2. All waters of Bird Creek to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Spring Street Bridge.
    3. Continuing southeast, following the shoreline, down to the St. Clair River.
  • St. Clair River
    1. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Black River.
    2. All waters of the Black River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to and including the Black River Canal.
    3. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Pine River.
    4. All waters of the Pine River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the CSX Railroad Bridge.
    5. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Belle River.
    6. All waters of the Belle River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Route 29 Bridge.
    7. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to Anchor Bay.
  • Lake St. Clair
    1. Continuing west, following the shoreline, down to the Salt River.
    2. All waters of the Salt River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Callens Road Bridge.
    3. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Clinton River.
    4. All waters of the Clinton River up to and including the Clinton Spillway and all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels.
    5. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Milk River.
    6. All waters of the Milk River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to the Jefferson Avenue Bridge.
    7. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Detroit River.
  • Detroit River
    1. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Rouge River.
    2. All waters of the Rouge River to include all adjoining wetlands, inlets, channels, and shorelines upstream to S. Schaefer Highway.
    3. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Ecorse River.
    4. All waters of the Ecorse River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Jefferson Avenue Bridge.
  • Lake Erie
    1. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to the Huron River.
    2. All waters of the Huron River to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to the Jefferson Avenue Bridge.
    3. Continuing south, following the shoreline, down to Mouille Creek.
    4. All waters of Mouille Creek, to include all adjoining wetlands, inlets, channels and shorelines upstream to U.S. Turnpike Road.
    5. Continuing south, following the shoreline, to Swan Creek.
    6. All waters of Swan Creek (in Michigan) to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to I-75.
    7. Continuing south, following the shoreline, to the Raisin River.
  • River Raisin
    1. All waters of the River Raisin to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to I-75.
    2. Continuing south, following the shoreline, to the Ottawa River.
  • Ottawa River
    1. All waters of the Ottawa River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets and channels upstream to I-75.
    2. Continuing south, following the shoreline, to the Maumee River.
  • Maumee River
    1. All waters of the Maumee River to include all adjoining wetlands, inlets, channels, and shorelines upstream to I-75.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to Otter Creek.
  • Otter Creek
    1. All waters of Otter Creek to include all adjoining wetlands, inlets, channels, and shorelines upstream to Rt. 2.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to Driftmeyer Ditch.
  • Driftmeyer Ditch
    1. All waters of Driftmeyer Ditch to include all adjoining wetlands, inlets, channels, and shorelines upstream to Rt. 2.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to the Toussaint River.
  • Toussaint River
    1. All waters of the Toussaint River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to Rt. 2.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to the Portage River.
  • Portage River
    1. All waters of the Portage River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to Rt. 2.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to Sandusky Bay.
  • Sandusky Bay
    1. All waters of Sandusky Bay to include all adjoining wetlands, shorelines, inlets, and channels upstream to Rt. 2.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to the Huron River.
  • Huron River
    1. All waters of the Huron River to include all adjoining wetlands, shoreline, inlets, and channels upstream to Rt. 2.
    2. Continuing east, following the shoreline, to longitude line 82°25′00″ W.

Sector Lake Michigan

  1. All waters of Lake Michigan within Sector Lake Michigan’s COTP zone.
  2. Pike Creek (Kenosha): To the Sixth Avenue Bridge.
  3. Root River (Racine): To the Main Street Bridge.
  4. Oak Creek (Milwaukee): To its mouth.
  5. Kinnickkinnic River (Milwaukee): To the South Kinnickkinnic Avenue Bridge.
  6. Menominee River (Milwaukee): To mile 2 (25th Street Bridge)
  7. Milwaukee River (Milwaukee): To the North Humboldt Avenue Bridge.
  8. Sauk Creek (Port Washington): To the Wisconsin Street Bridge.
  9. Sheboygan River (Sheboygan): To the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge.
  10. Manitowac River (Manitowac): To the C&NW Railroad Bridge.
  11. West Twin River (Two Rivers): To the 16th and Madison Streets Bridge.
  12. East Twin River (Two Rivers): To the 22nd Street Bridge.
  13. Kewaunee River (Kewaunee): To the Park Street Bridge.
  14. Ahnapee River (Algoma): To the 2nd Street Bridge.
  15. Fox River (Green Bay): To the State Route 172 Bridge.
  16. East River (Green Bay): To the Monroe Avenue Bridge.
  17. Oconto River (Oconto): To the turning basin.
  18. Menominee River (Marinette, Wisconsin to Menominee, Michigan): To the Dunlap Avenue (Highway 41) Bridge.
  19. North Point Marina (Winthrop Harbor, Illinois): Entire marina.
  20. Waukegan Harbor: Entire harbor.
  21. Wilmette Harbor: From the entrance to the sluice gate.
  22. Montrose Harbor (Chicago, Illinois): Entire harbor.
  23. Belmont Harbor (Chicago, Illinois): Entire harbor
  24. Diversey Harbor (Chicago, Illinois): Entire harbor.
  25. Chicago River: The outer harbor, limited to the waters outside the Chicago Lock and retaining walls, including the waters inside the lock gates.
  26. Burnham Park Harbor (Chicago, Illinois): Entire harbor.
  27. 59th Street Harbor (Chicago, Illinois): Entire harbor.
  28. Jackson Park Harbor (Chicago, Illinois): Entire harbor.
  29. Calumet Harbor and River (Chicago, Illinois): From the mouth of the Calumet River south to the north side of O’Brien Lock and Dam, including the waters inside the lock gates. From "The Forks" west to the temporary dike at the south boundary of Lake Calumet.
  30. Hammond Marina: Entire marina.
  31. Indiana Harbor (East Chicago, Indiana): Upstream to Conrail Railroad Bridge.
  32. Pastrick Marina (East Chicago, Indiana): Entire marina.
  33. Buffington Harbor (Gary, Indiana): Entire harbor.
  34. Gary Harbor (Gary, Indiana): Entire harbor.
  35. Burns Harbor (Burns Harbor, Indiana): From the entrance to the south end of deep draft slip.
  36. Michigan City Harbor: Entrance to Bascule Bridge.
  37. Betsie Lake (Frankfort): Entire lake throughout up to and including the mouth of the Betsie River to Highway M-22 bridge.
  38. Arcadia Lake: Entire lake.
  39. Portage Lake: Entire lake.
  40. Manistee Lake (Manistee): Entire lake throughout up to and including the mouth of the Manistee River to Highway M-55 bridge.
  41. Pere Marquette Lake (Ludington): Entire lake throughout up to and including the mouth of the Pere Marquette River to Old U.S. 31 bridge.
  42. Pentwater Lake: Entire lake.
  43. White Lake: Entire lake.
  44. Muskegon/Bear Lake (Muskegon, Michigan): Entire lake throughout, up to and including the Muskegon River to the U.S. 31 bridges.
  45. Mona Lake: Entire lake.
  46. Spring Lake: Entire lake.
  47. Grand River: From the mouth to the end of the dredged channel at Buoy #78 (in Ottawa County approximately 17 miles upstream).
  48. Pigeon Lake: Entire lake up to the fixed bridge in the intake channel of the J.H. Campbell power plant and on the eastern end up to the fixed bridge of Lakeshore Avenue.
  49. Lake Macatawa: Entire lake to the end of the dredged channel marked by buoys #25 and #26 (eastern end of the lake in Holland).
  50. Kalamazoo Lake (Douglas/Saugatuck): Entire lake up to and including the Kalamazoo River to the CSX Railroad bridge, approximately 11 miles upstream.
  51. Black River (South Haven): From the mouth to the U.S. 31 bridge, approximately 2.6 miles upstream.
  52. St. Joseph River (St. Joseph): From the mouth to the Somerleyton bridge, approximately 6.6 miles upstream.
  53. Paw Paw River (Benton Harbor): From the mouth to the CSX Railroad bridge, approximately 3.2 miles upstream.
  54. Galien River: from the mouth to the Highway 12 bridge, approximately 2 miles upstream.

Sector Sault Ste. Marie, MI

  1. Lake Superior: The waters, bays, tributaries, and adjoining shoreline of Lake Superior within U.S. territory, eastward from the westernmost boundary of the Area of Operations (AOR) to a line between Point Iroquois running northeast to Gros Cap Reef Light on the International Boundary.
  2. St. Mary’s River: The waters, bays, tributaries, and adjoining shoreline of the St. Mary’s River within U.S. territory, from a line between Point Iroquois and Gros Cap Reef Light southward to a line between Detour Reef Light and Crab Island Shoal Light, including the waters of Potagannissing Bay.
  3. Lake Huron: The waters, bays, tributaries, and adjoining shoreline of Lake Huron within U.S. territory, northward from the southernmost boundary of the AOR, west to the Straits of Mackinaw Bridge.
  4. Lake Michigan: The waters, bays, tributaries, and adjoining shoreline of Lake Michigan, eastward from the westernmost boundary of the AOR, to the Straits of Mackinaw Bridge.
Marine Safety Unit Duluth, MN

Within Duluth/Superior Harbor, COTP Duluth will assume the responsibility for providing FOSCs in Duluth/Superior Harbor to the mouths of all small tributary rivers and creeks entering into the harbor, plus the St. Louis River serviced by existing patrols and aids to navigation up to the Highway Bridge on Route 23 at Fond du Lac, Minnesota, and the waters of Lake Superior within COTP Duluth.

Ninth Coast Guard District Responses in the Inland Zone

Ordinarily, the Ninth Coast Guard District will not provide the OSC for a release occurring in the inland zone. However, where a Marine Safety Officer responds in the inland zone to a marine casualty or other incident pursuant to USCG port safety and commercial vessel safety responsibilities, that officer will serve as the First Federal Official On Scene, pending arrival of the predesignated US EPA OSC. In this capacity, that officer will manage any cleanup actions performed by the responsible party and, if necessary, will initiate a Federal removal.

The US EPA Region 5 office may request that the Ninth Coast Guard District provide the OSC for a release in the inland zone, regardless of source, because of the particular circumstances of the incident.

Eighth Coast Guard District OSC Boundaries

If the incident involves a commercial vessel, a transfer operation, or a marine transportation related facility, the USCG will provide the OSC. The Eighth District will assist the predesignated US EPA OSC where there is a discharge or release of oil or hazardous substances, or a threat of such a discharge or release, into or on navigable waters. Upon request by the US EPA OSC, the USCG may act on behalf of US EPA, assuming the functional role and responsibilities of the OSC. If the USCG is the first Federal official on-scene, the USCG will notify the US EPA OSC and act as the OSC until such time as the US EPA OSC arrives.