Green Bay waters, environment focus of push to designate the bay a National Estuarine Research Reserve

For centuries, the bay of Green Bay has been vital to how northeast Wisconsin lives, works and plays. It’s had its share of challenges, but it also has cultivated a group of strong supporters willing to put in work to preserve it. 

Those supporters have begun to wonder: What’s next for the bay?

To help preserve the bay for future generations, they’re pushing to designate it as a research reserve that would use National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funding to study the area and educate the public about how to protect and celebrate the unique resource.

The bay is bouncing back after generations of abuse caused degraded water quality, fish and wildlife habitat. 

Among the signs of progress: A decades-long, billion-dollar cleanup effort removed more than 3 million tons of toxic sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from the Fox River. The city of Green Bay is working to reopen a swimming beach at Bay Beach Amusement Park that was forced to close in the 1930s due to industrial pollution. And in Door County, conservation groups are banding together to restore a lake long plagued by phosphorus runoff that fuels algae blooms. 

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