Research and ongoing conservation efforts continue as Wisconsin Sea Grant and Green Bay partnership grows | WBAY
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Since 1968 the Wisconsin Sea Grant network has funded 91 Green Bay-focused research projects, investing more than $8.8 million.
During a news conference Tuesday at the Jack Day Environmental Educational Center, Sea Grant explored past research on topics such as contaminants, the Lake Michigan food web, and water quality. It also reflected on its alignment with the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, using that as a base from which to respond to local needs, which currently are centered on assisting communities in building flood resilience, enhancing water quality, and fostering conservation of natural resources.
Speakers included Sea Grant Director Jim Hurley, Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, Interim Director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Erin Giese, The Nature Conservancy Director of Land Conservation Nicole Van Helden, and Wisconsin Alumni Association Chief Alumni Officer and Executive Director Sarah Schutt.
“The city of Green Bay has benefitted tremendously from the close partnerships that exist between city staff and UW Sea Grant,” Mayor Genrich said. “We’ve collaborated deeply on efforts to prevent flooding and develop neighborhood resiliency within the East River watershed, which is vitally important work to improve the quality of our natural resources and strengthen our community.”
Some of the highlights from Tuesday included past and currently funded research in the Green Bay estuary—such as the program’s role in the historic cleanup of PCBs in the Fox River—along with current efforts to build flood resilience and encourage the use of green infrastructure, which manages stormwater and benefits water quality.
Wisconsin Sea Grant Director Jim Hurley said we live in the mouth of the largest freshwater estuary in the world and there’s a lot of work to do to protect it.
“This is a special place in a special state,” Hurley said. “This state cares deeply about its land, about its waters, its cultural history, and the diversity of its citizens.”
Mayor Genrich said during his second term as mayor, he’s interested in relocating the coal piles downtown on the waterfront.
He hopes when U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg comes to town Wednesday, May 24, they will discuss those efforts.
The news conference was part of the daylong commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Sea Grant Program operates on the Madison campus, as well as in Green Bay, based in a field office in the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.