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Green Bay is an arm of Lake Michigan, located along the south coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the east coast of Wisconsin. It is separated from the rest of the lake by the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin, the Garden Peninsula in Michigan, and the chain of islands between them, all formed by the Niagara Escarpment. Green Bay is some 120 miles (193 km) long, with a width ranging from about 10 miles (16 km) to 20 mi (32 km). It is 1,626 square miles (4,210 km2) in area.[2][3]

Green Bay
Greenbay.svg
Green Bay
LocationBrown County, Wisconsin Door County, Wisconsin Kewaunee County, Wisconsin Marinette County, Wisconsin Oconto County, Wisconsin Delta County, Michigan Menominee County, Michigan[1]
Coordinates45°01′47″N 87°27′39″W / 45.02972°N 87.46083°W / 45.02972; -87.46083Coordinates: 45°01′47″N 87°27′39″W / 45.02972°N 87.46083°W / 45.02972; -87.46083
TypeBay[1]
Surface elevation581 feet (177 m)[1]
A Tall ship sailing into the mouth of the Fox River

At the southern end of the bay is the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the Fox River enters the bay. The Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge (formerly known as the Tower Drive bridge) spans the point where the bay begins and the Fox River ends, as the river flows south to north into the bay. Locally, the bay is often called the Bay of Green Bay to distinguish the bay from the city. The bay is navigable by large ships.

The bay is located in parts of five counties in Wisconsin (Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto), and two in Michigan (Delta, Menominee).

HistoryEdit

Oconto, Green Bay is home to Copper Culture State Park, which has remains dated to around 5000-6000 BC. It is a burial ground of the Copper Culture Indians. This burial ground is considered to be the oldest cemetery in Wisconsin and one of the oldest in the nation. The Ho-Chunk believe that they were created on the shores of Green Bay at a place called Red Banks.[4]

The French Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, and missionary, Father Claude-Jean Allouez said the first Mass in Oconto on December 3, 1669.[5]

The bay was named la baie des Puants (literally, "the bay of the Stinks") by the French explorer Jean Nicolet as shown on many French maps of the 17th and 18th centuries. According to George R. Stewart, the French received the name from their Indian guides, who called the natives living near Green Bay by a derogatory word meaning "Stinkers", thus the bay was the "Bay of the Stinkers", but this name perplexed the French, and Jacques Marquette thought the name might relate to the smell of the swamps, when he explored the area in May 1673. His fellow explorer Louis Joliet, with two canoes and five voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry (Métis) were on their way to find the Mississippi river. They travelled up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters. The French also called the bay Baie Verte, and the English kept this name as Green Bay.[6] The name of the bay in the Menominee language is Pūcīhkit, or "bay that smells like something rotting".[7]


Environmental ConcernsEdit

Areas of ConcernEdit

According to the EPA, “Areas of Concern are designated by the International Joint Commission as geographic areas in the Great Lakes basin having severe environmental degradation. There are 43 Areas of Concern with 26 in the United States, 17 in Canada, and five shared by the two countries.” [1][2]

Background on Green Bay Area of ConcernEdit

Lower green Bay Area of Concern was designated in 1987 under the Great Lakes Water Quality agreement.

It was designated by these sources of pollution:

  • Affected by runoff pollution from urban and rural areas, municipal and industrial wastewater discharges and degraded habitats.
  • Industrialization was a major factor in this becoming contaminated
  • High turbidity, sedimentation, fluctuating dissolved oxygen, frequent algal blooms, degraded fish/wildlife/plant populations and adverse toxicant impacts.
  • This AOC is a shallow environment that has a rapid recycling system which also contributes to water quality issues

Beneficial Use ImpairmentsEdit

Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI) are a change in the chemical, physical or biological integrity of the Great Lakes system sufficient to cause significant environmental degradation. The International Joint Commission identified 14 BUIs listed below. All BUIs that have been designated for an AOC, must be removed for the AOC to be considered restored and begin the delisting process.[3]

Green Bay BUI's:

  • 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
  • Restriction on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Bird/animal deformities or reproductive problems
  • Excess of nutrients from pollutants
  • Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor
  • Beach closings
  • Degradation of microorganism populations

Timeline of RestorationEdit

Since 1988 over three quarters of the 120 remedial actions recommended by the lower green bay remedial action plan have been implemented or initiated.

Industrialization was a major factor regarding the Lower Green Bay becoming contaminated.

Significant Contributors to Negative Impacts: Land water use(agriculture, logging, industry), High turbidity, sedimentation, frequent algal blooms, degraded fish/wildlife/plant populations and adverse toxicant impacts.

  • 1988: First stage of action plan is released
  • 1993: Update to action plan, current progress is released and future goals are identified
  • 2003: USFWS releases an environmental assessment and restoration plan for the AOC
  • 2003-2008: E.Coli measured consistently on beaches, shows overall health is good, but more projects needed to delist
  • 2009: Wisconsin DNR identifies delisting targets for each of the BUI’s
  • 2010-2011: Laws passed to reduce/ban phosphorus in household materials, reduce phosphorus runoff from farms, and set new water quality standards.
  • 2011: Stage 2 action plan update is released, describing key actions taken since 199, and identified future projects associated with the different BUI’s
  • 2012: Update action plan, US army Corps of Engineers begins Cat ISland restoration project, and 360,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediments are dredged
  • 2013: UofW extension released fact sheet of BUIs status in the AOC, judge rules that all companies EPA considers responsible for PCB contamination must complete the required cleanup work

Past & Present CleanupEdit

Current: 2019 marks the 16th year of clean up of the lower Green Bay. River clean up is scheduled for late March depending on ice conditions. Monitoring will continue to study fish, water, and PCB Concentrations. [4] Once the lower GreenBay clean up is complete long term monitoring will still be done on the entirety of the river.

Past Emergency Clean Up: In 1999 and 2000, EPA oversaw a dredging project done by some of the paper companies about 3 miles upstream from the mouth of the Lower Fox River.  It removed 80,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment, containing 3,400 pounds of PCBs.

Rules and Enforcement [5]

See alsoEdit

  • Peshtigo Fire: a firestorm that affected land on both sides of Green Bay, and the deadliest fire in the history of the United States

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Green Bay (Lake Michigan)
  2. ^ Fox River and Green Bay Statistics Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine, Fox River Watch
  3. ^ "Green Bay (body of water)". Wisconsinhistory.org. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  4. ^ "Ho-Chunk Oral Tradition - Indian Country Wisconsin". www.mpm.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  5. ^ Hall, George E. 2009. A History of Oconto. 2nd ed., edited by Duane Ebert and Pamela Ann Loberger. Oconto, WI: Oconto County Historical Society, p. 33.
  6. ^ Stewart, George R. (1945). Names on the land. Random House. p. 88.
  7. ^ Hoffman, Mike. "Menominee Place Names in Wisconsin". The Menominee Clans Story. Retrieved 2018-10-05.