Military Training: Unexploded Ordnance Found in Lake Michigan

NSIAD-92-95 Published: Mar 31, 1992. Publicly Released: Apr 08, 1992.
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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed two incidents concerning ordnance recently found on the shores of Lake Michigan, focusing on: (1) whether mariners were made aware of potential unexploded ordnance hazards; and (2) the adequacy of the responses to the ordnance findings.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration To enhance public safety in and around Lake Michigan, the Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Commandant of the Coast Guard should update applicable nautical charts for Lake Michigan to identify range 6903, caution mariners on the possible existence of ordnance, and prescribe procedures mariners should follow if they find ordnance. Those changes should also be made to the U.S. Coast Pilot manual.
Closed – Implemented
Nautical charts will be updated to show uncharted ranges in the Great Lakes, in addition to Range 6903. The pollution reports will be modified to address findings of unexploded ordnance.
United States Coast Guard To enhance public safety in and around Lake Michigan, the Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Commandant of the Coast Guard should update applicable nautical charts for Lake Michigan to identify range 6903, caution mariners on the possible existence of ordnance, and prescribe procedures mariners should follow if they find ordnance. Those changes should also be made to the U.S. Coast Pilot manual.
Closed – Implemented
Charts cautioning mariners, and prescribing procedures is the responsibility of NOAA. The Coast Guard defers action to NOAA but will publish any updated information, received weekly from NOAA, in its "Local Notice to Mariners" publication.
United States Coast Guard To enhance public safety in and around Lake Michigan, the Administrator, NOAA, and the Commandant of the Coast Guard should, until new nautical charts are published, use the weekly "Local Notice to Mariners" bulletin to provide information to the public on possible ordnance dangers.
Closed – Implemented
The Coast Guard will publish the information in its weekly "Local Notice to Mariners". The Coast Guard further recommended that agencies with cognizance over the ranges in the Great Lakes publish a brochure on the ordnance dangers.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration To enhance public safety in and around Lake Michigan, the Administrator, NOAA, and the Commandant of the Coast Guard should, until new nautical charts are published, use the weekly "Local Notice to Mariners" bulletin to provide information to the public on possible ordnance dangers.
Closed – Implemented
Notices of possible ordnance dangers will be published in DOD and U.S. Coast Guard notices to mariners, and in the weekly U.S. Coast Pilot 6 publication until new nautical charts are issued.

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