Lower Green Bay & Fox River Area of Concern
Since 2014, the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity (CCB) has helped the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on fish and wildlife-related efforts in the Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern (LGBFR AOC), which is one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern across the United States and Canada. The LGBFR AOC boundary includes the pelagic zone of the Bay of Green Bay as well as the coastal zone from Longtail Point on the west shore of the Bay, to Point au Sable on the east shore, and down the lower seven miles of the Fox River below the De Pere Dam. It was originally listed by the International Joint Commission of Canada and the U.S. in the 1980s because this area was significantly impacted by contaminated sediment, habitat loss, and poor water quality. It is characterized as having 11 of the possible 14 beneficial use impairments (BUI), which are problems or issues that negatively affect the chemical, physical, or biological quality of that Great Lakes system.
Thanks to funding provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the CCB has specifically worked on the Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat BUI and Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations BUI and launched a project website describing their multi-year involvement to fish and wildlife restoration efforts in the LGBFR AOC. They have helped to assess baseline fish and wildlife conditions, develop and provide important informational resources (e.g., maps, databases), develop a strategy for monitoring and evaluating conditions of these two BUIs, recommend removal targets for these two fish and wildlife BUIs, and develop a project list that, if completed, would lead to the removal of these two BUIs. Fish and wildlife restoration and enhancement projects will be funded and implemented as early as 2021.