Experts assistance Green Bay settle new island sequence to advantage shipping and wildlife

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A partnership between a University of Wisconsin-Madison, a shipping attention and other organizations to revive a sequence of islands in Green Bay is, literally, for a birds.

As a days digest in northeastern Wisconsin, many roving birds take their evidence to fly over Green Bay en track to wintering grounds, mostly interlude along a approach on a Cat Island chain. Among them are piping plovers, delicate, two-ounce birds that are increasingly wanting in a Great Lakes segment interjection to medium detriment caused by tellurian development. A 2007 consult found usually 6 nesting pairs of plovers in Wisconsin.


Below a Green Bay moody path, ships plow along toward a Port of Green Bay, relocating tons of asphalt, spark and other products before icy conditions make ride difficult. The pier welcomes some-more than 170 ships any year and generates an estimated $83 million in annual mercantile activity.

Though these dual anniversary activities might seem during odds, experts from a University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, housed during UW-Madison, are informing a replacement plan centered on Cat Island that they wish will advantage both a birds and a shippers. One of a heading experts is Gene Clark, a Sea Grant coastal operative who advises shipping attention partners on how to dispose of dredged element in ways that advantage both attention and a environment.

To keep shipping lanes open and viable, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers frequently dredges channels and harbors, pulling adult materials that can embody mud, weeds, sand, rubbish and more. Shipping operations dispose of these materials in comforts that cost around $30 million to build, says Clark. But if a materials are clean, they could be used instead in construction or medium replacement projects. And reusing dredged materials rather than storing them yields large assets for shippers.

Two views of a easy island sequence in Green Bay. Above is a western seaside and wetlands famous as Peter’s Marsh. Below is a highway heading to a replacement work. Images credit: Gary Fewless and Bud Harris.

Two views of a easy island sequence in Green Bay. Above is a western seaside and wetlands famous as Peter’s Marsh. Below is a highway heading to a replacement work. Images credit: Gary Fewless and Bud Harris.

Fine sands dredged from a Green Bay shipping lanes are being used to fill a length of Cat Island and dual smaller, unnamed islands to emanate a sum of 272 additional land acres. So far, a plan has determined a “spine” and several “fingers” of new land in Green Bay.

The initial call for a plan of this kind came in a 1970s from former Sea Grant coastal operative Phil Keillor. He saw Cat Island as a approach to revoke waves and lees re-suspension in a bay. After reduce Green Bay was designated an area of regard by a International Joint Commission in a late 1980s, Sea Grant’s then-water peculiarity dilettante Vicky Harris led a group of technical and citizen advisory committees. Two years ago, work finally got underway.

“Vicky Harris spent 30 years operative with groups to see replacement come to life,” says Julia Noordyk, Sea Grant’s stream H2O peculiarity specialist. “It’s delightful to work with partners to make this occur and to see Vicky’s, and others’, investment profitable off.”

Eventually, some-more than 1,400 acres of habitat, both above and next a aspect of a bay, will be created. As for a piping plover? In 2014, a bird was sighted 10 times on a rising islands. Twenty-nine other class of shorebirds are also anticipating a new haven, including a federally threatened red tangle and a involved gull-like Forster’s tern, that has successfully bred in reduce Green Bay for a initial time in 20 years.

“The replacement of a Cat Islands is a win-win that demonstrates a economics and environmental advantages of reusing dredged material,” says Dean Haen, executive of a Brown County Port Resource Recovery Department.

Project partners along with UW-Madison Sea Grant embody a Port of Green Bay, Brown County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, Lower Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council, UW-Green Bay and 14 pier depot operators.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison