Establishing A National Estuarine Research Reserve For The Green Bay Watershed

UW-Green Bay and area partners are leading the charge to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) for the Green Bay watershed—home to the largest freshwater estuary in the world. The NERR system is a national network of 29 sites across the coastal U.S., designed to practice and promote stewardship of coasts and estuaries. Established through the Coastal Zone Management Act, the reserves represent a partnership program between the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states. NOAA provides funding and national guidance, and each site is managed on a daily basis by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners.

The regional NERR designation would promote a coordinating force to manage, restore and protect the Green Bay ecosystem, with a programmatic focus on four sectors—research, education, stewardship, and training.

UW-Green Bay and its partners, hosted two virtual kick-off events in April to educate the public about NERR and what it could mean to the region and state. The kick-off was highlighted by a video describing the importance of protecting our freshwater resource — not only for our physical livelihood, but for commerce, recreation, and pure enjoyment. Watch the video.

The one-hour kick-off event can be accessed at the UW-Green Bay NERR website.

Next steps will be to review relevant geography being considered for a site, draft criteria to be used in the site selection process, and identify 3-5 optimal candidate locations for the Green Bay NERR.