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About Lower Green Bay/Fox River AOC

The Lower Green Bay and Fox River was designated an Area of Concern under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The AOC is primarily contaminated with PCBs from industrialization. Since 1988, over 3/4 of the 120 remedial actions recommended by the Lower Green Bay Remedial Action Plan have been implemented or initiated.

While water quality problems and public use restrictions are most severe in the AOC, water resources in the entire basin are affected by runoff pollution from urban and rural areas, municipal and industrial wastewater discharges and degraded habitats. Industrialization was a major factor in Lower Green Bay/Fox River becoming contaminated.

Land water use upstream (logging, agriculture and industry) was a significant contributor to the numerous negative impacts to water quality in the water system. High turbidity, sedimentation, fluctuating dissolved oxygen, frequent algal blooms, degraded fish/wildlife/plant populations and adverse toxicant impacts have all been found in Lower Green Bay/Fox River. PCBs are the primary contaminant. The AOC is a shallow environment that has a rapid recycling system which also contributes to water quality issues.

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Beneficial Use Impairments

Beneficial Use Impairments for the Great Lakes AOCs

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Tainting of fish and wildlife flavor
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Fish tumors or other deformities
  • Degradation of aesthetics
  • Degradation of benthos
  • Restriction on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems
  • Eutrophication or undesirable algae
  • Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor
  • Beach closings
  • Degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations

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Restoration

Restoring the Lower Green Bay/Fox River AOC (timeline)

Partners in Restoration

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Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department works to implement habitat restoration projects in the AOC. One of these projects is the restoration of the Baird Creek watershed, which is located in the Lower Fox River basin.

The University of Wisconsin Extension helps to implement remedial actions such as the aesthetics monitoring program. Information regarding the Citizen Advisory Committee can also be found here. The Citizen Advisory Committee is the principal link between RAP partners and the community. It represents public, private and nonprofit interests within the AOC. The committee identified the ten most pressing problems that should be addressed in the RAP, defined a desired future state for lower Green Bay and the Fox River and advises on recommended remedial actions.

WDNR works closely with the EPA to manage the remedial action plan for the AOC. They work directly with several of the restoration projects occurring in the AOC, including Cat Island, Baird Creek and west shore northern pike habitat.

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