Green Bay & Fox
An Area of Concern (AOC) is a location in the Great Lakes that has experienced environmental degradation. Lower Green Bay (out to Long Tail Point and Point Au Sable) and the Fox River below the De Pere Dam were listed as one of 5 Great Lakes Areas of Concern in Wisconsin (Green Bay Fox AOC Map). Priority attention was given to our area mainly because of contaminated sediment, poor water quality, and lost or altered habitat. Our Area of concern has 13 out of 14 possible water quality “impairments.”
The Fox River and Green Bay have long fueled the region’s development and economy as a source of water, food, jobs and recreation. Before the 1970s, untreated sewage and industrial wastes were often dumped directly into the river. Consequently, sediments in the Fox River are contaminated in many areas.
Clean-up is underway, but several issues remain including polluted runoff, lost wetlands and non-native plant and animal invasions. Addressing these problems is critical, so that the river and bay can provide healthy habitat and redevelopment opportunities.
Costs of Water Pollution
- Harmful algae blooms that harm fish and wildlife and make water unsafe for recreation
- Contaminated fish that are unsafe to eat
- Mucky , smelly, unusable public beaches
- Expensive dredging and disposal of river sediments
- Diminished beauty of the bay
Many improvements have been made to clean up the river and bay and bring back fish and wildlife. However, great challenges remain to restore the fishable, swimmable waters of one of the most valuable regions in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provides an opportunity to reduce runoff pollution and improve habitat in the river and bay.