Valenta, Fermanich comments on bay’s ‘dead zone’ get national exposure

Areas of hypoxia, or so-called “dead zones,” were the topic of a webinar offered last week by Prof. Kevin Fermanich and former UW-Green Bay undergraduate and environmental sciences master’s student Tracey Valenta. Organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the webinar drew widespread state and even national coverage when the Associated Press picked up on the presentation about a documented dead zone in the bay of Green Bay about eight miles northeast of the Fox River mouth. Valenta’s ES&P thesis says the oxygen-deprived area sometimes extends to cover more than a third of the largest freshwater estuary in the Great Lakes. (Impacts on the bay’s important sports fisheries are mitigated by the fact many species can escape the affected areas and depths to find more oxygen.) Fermanich credits his late colleague, Prof. Dave Dolan, for assisting Valenta’s work. The larger bay of Green Bay hypoxia project is funded by NOAA and led by UW-Milwaukee’s Water Institute. One of the places the AP news story appeared was in the Wall Street Journal.