Note: This website was updated through June 30, 2015. For continued Sheboygan River news and program announcements, please subscribe to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources “GovDelivery” distribution list to receive periodic announcements via email regarding the Sheboygan River Area of Concern.
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Look for new exhibits telling the Sheboygan River story in 2015:
Ten exhibit panels are being installed spring of 2015 to remind people of what has happened to the Sheboygan River and what still lies ahead. “There are so many stories to tell, and so many details, it is difficult to tell the story briefly,” said Debbie Beyer, UW-Extension Natural Resources Educator, who worked closely with the dredging and habitat restoration teams. “But I believe that the exhibits will give people a sense of the tremendous amount of work that was done to clean up and improve the river, and the tremendous cost involved, so that we can look at this as a lesson going into the future,” she said. Six general exhibits will be installed along the Sheboygan Harbor and an exhibit will be installed at each of four habitat restoration sites with public access: Esslingen Park, Roy Sebald Sheboygan River Natural Area, University Drive, and Kiwanis Park.
Help watch and listen for signs that the Sheboygan River is healing!
Check out our “Newsletter” tab for the most recent Sheboygan River Explorer newsletter announcing at least 30 programs to help you get involved in monitoring river restoration in action!
In 2012, more than $90M worth of work was done to remove sediments contaminated with PCBs and restore fish and wildlife habitat. We are now in the “healing phase”, watching, listening, and sampling to see how the environment, fish and wildlife respond to the clean-up and restoration actions. Help from volunteers is needed to provide data on birds, bats, mussels, frogs and toads, and habitat. See the “events page” to participate in guided programs to observe and collect data, while you enjoy learning and being out along the river.
The Sheboygan River and Harbor Area of Concern includes the 14 mile stretch of river from the Sheboygan Falls dam to the Sheboygan Harbor on Lake Michigan. It flows through the City of Sheboygan Falls, the Village of Kohler, and the City of Sheboygan. The river’s character changes dramatically from the upper river to the lower river sections. In the upper reaches, you’ll experience a mostly natural landscape along the immediate river corridor, punctuated by an occasional residential area and the Black Wolf Run Golf Course. There are several very shallow riffles that can make canoeing or kayaking exciting when the water is high enough, or challenging when the water is low. As you float down-river and cross under I-43, you’ll notice a transition to a slower current and more silty river bottom. The river also takes on a more urban character, as you pass under street and railroad bridges, and float along industrial areas, residential areas, city parks, and finally the inner harbor where the riverbanks are shored-up with sheetmetal or rock seawalls.
Prior to the PCB removal in 2012, the Sheboygan Harbor was last dredged in 1969. Since then, a restriction was placed on dredging in Sheboygan due to contamination from PCBs. Sediment that settled in the harbor had resulted in an ever more shallow draft for boats. Large vessels could no longer use the harbor, thus limiting activity.
For a series of narrated slide presentations on various aspects of the Sheboygan River Area of Concern, be sure to check out the Sheboygan “presentations” tab.