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      Deer Lake may no longer be an area of concern

      The U.S Environmental Protection Agency was in Ishpeming on Tuesday to get public comments on the proposal to delist Deer Lake as an area of concern.

      Deer Lake was named an area of concern in the 1980's after fish in the lake were deemed unsafe to eat because of mercury contamination from historic mining in the area. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has determined that fish are now safe to eat and conditions have improved enough where it is no longer an area of concern.

      "If you talk to some people they would say, oh we'll never be able to eat fish out of Deer Lake, the lake has turned into this algal scum and we don't even want to boat on it anymore," Task Force Leader Mark Loomis said. "When you go out there now it's clear water and the fish are safe to eat."

      After the meeting the State of Michigan will take their final delisting report to the EPA who will in turn coordinate with the State Department to delist Deer Lake. They hope to have the lake delisted by the fall.

      According to the Michigan DNR, delisting would not change the lake's current status as a catch-and-release only waterbody. Any change to that regulation would be at the discretion of the state's Department of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Commission.