Kevin Fermanich

Kevin Fermanich

Professor & Researcher

LS 416


Research Interests

Soil processes and ground water quality; nonpoint source pollution; watershed monitoring and management; fate of contaminants.


B.S. UW-Stevens Point; M.S., Ph.D. UW-Madison.

Meet Dr. Kevin Fermanich 

Dr. Kevin Fermanich grew up on a small farm on the divide between the Embarrass and Wolf River watersheds in the upper parts of the Green Bay basin. He is a Professor of Geoscience and Environmental Science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he holds the Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin Professorship of Natural Sciences. Dr. Fermanich is also serving as a Green Bay area UWEX Specialist for applied research and outreach related to ecosystem restoration and water quality.  He teaches courses in soil science, environmental science and policy, GIS, groundwater, geoscience field studies, ecosystems management, and environmental systems. He and his students and project staff frequently collaborate with other scientists and stakeholders to study water quality, watershed management, soil health, and agricultural management issues. Kevin received his BS in soil science and resource management from UW-Stevens Point and MS and PhD degrees in soil science/water resources from UW-Madison.  Kevin’s wife Jill, is a health and safety manager at UW-Green Bay.  They have two children – a daughter who graduated from college in May 2017 and is working on local food systems with AmeriCorps in Massachusetts and a son who just started college and is studying material science and engineering.  Kevin and Jill own his family’s farm and are actively restoring one of the old farm buildings on the property.

Research and Outreach:

My research is focused on understanding and managing soil and landscape processes that influence nutrient and soil runoff from agricultural lands and impact water bodies such as the Fox River, Green Bay and the Great Lakes.  My current activities span a wide variety activities from detailed measurements of soil health metrics, to quantifying sediment and phosphorus loss in runoff from grazing and crop fields, to watershed monitoring and modeling, to vegetation restoration in Green Bay, and to modeling of oxygen dynamics in Green Bay. It’s really exciting to be working on the whole system -- starting on a farm field or small stream way up in the watershed to all the way to the exchange of water and nutrients between Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  I regularly support graduate and undergraduate students to work on various parts of the system through externally awarded grant funds.  All of my research and scholarly efforts are very applied, as such, a significant amount of my time is spent working with local, state and national agencies, NGOs, governments, businesses, and other stakeholders.  I really enjoy working with and exposing students to the tremendous group of partners working to address water quality and sustainability problems in our region.

Green Bay Ecosystem Modeling Project: Restoring the Health of the Green Bay Ecosystem Under a Changing Climate

Professor Kevin Fermanich was co-lead principal investigator of a project team with diverse expertise that has worked to integrate existing watershed, biogeochemical and hydrodynamic models with downscaled regional climate scenarios for the Green Bay system.  The goals of the projects were to assess current and future conditions and the efficacy of available land management strategies to mitigate hypoxia and restore beneficial uses in Green Bay.  Fermanich and colleagues were recently selected to be awarded $240,000 in 2019 by the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.  They will extend their previous work and make modeling results more usable by decision makers and other stakeholders.
See more about the project here

Dr. Kevin Fermanich's Presentation to Commissioners of the Internation Joint Commission

October 18, 2016
Recording of presentation "Transitioning Science to management: actions needed to improve hypoxia and hypereutrophication in the Green Bay, Lake Michigan Ecosystem" by Dr. Kevin Fermanich to Commissioners of the International Joint Commission.

Presenting research by Dr. Kevin Fermanich, Professor, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and Dr. Val Klump, Director, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences.

See Dr. Fermanich's Presentation

How do you like to spend your free time?

My family and I are fairly active outdoor enthusiasts.  We are avid cross country skiers and during the past 10+ years I’ve been a volunteer parent-coach with a junior Nordic ski club.  I also annually ski the American Birkiebeinner marathon ski race in Hayward, so much of my free time is spent volunteering, training, traveling, or hanging-out with my family and other XC ski enthusiasts.  In addition to skiing, I spend my free time traveling (usually to someplace to do an outdoor adventure), kayaking, canoeing, hiking and/or camping.  Since 2012, I regularly spend weekends at our farm restoring an ~120 year old granary, managing the cropland or visiting with my siblings (I have 8 total).

What would you say to encourage people to enroll in Geoscience, Environmental Science, and Environmental Science and Policy?

UW-Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin is an outstanding place to learn about and gain direct experience in geologic, water resource, and ecological systems in which our human society is unescapably linked and dependent on.  There are extremely knowledgeable and dedicated faculty and staff in Geoscience, Environmental Science, and Environmental Science and Policy at UWGB.  If you are interested in hands-on field laboratory experiences, fascinating field trips to globally unique places, applying math and science knowledge, and working directly with people in the community to solve sustainability problems, one of these majors is right for you.  Seek out faculty members in these programs to learn more!