NERR Update

Photo of a group of people rice planting from a boat in the Bay of Green Bay with the text, Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

NERR Site Selection and Nomination Process 
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay kicked off the site selection and nomination process in the fall of 2020. Three committees have been assembled to execute the process—the Site Development Committee, which is tasked with drafting criteria to be used in selection of a site; the Site Evaluation Committee, which is tasked with applying site selection criteria through an agreed-upon process to recommend a site, or collection of sites, for nomination; and the Site Coordination Committee, which oversees the work of all other committees and compiles a Site Nomination Document once a site has been selected. These committees have membership from UW-Green Bay faculty and staff, local, state, federal government partners, Tribal governments and agencies, representation from the business community, northeast Wisconsin citizens, and other UW institutions.

The site selection process is non-competitive and there will be no call for proposals. The site selection committees will review land and water areas, apply site selection criteria, and recommend a site, or collection of sites, for nomination. This process will be done collaboratively with federal, state, local, and Tribal governments. Once a site has been determined, the University, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will hold at least one public meeting in the vicinity of the site preliminarily recommended for nomination. Interested parties can share their comments orally and in writing during the meeting, and for a set period of days after the meeting. Comments will be considered by the state when formally nominating a site to NOAA. We tentatively expect that public meetings will be held in late Summer 2022, with a site nomination put forth in early Fall 2022. Overall, we are working towards a goal of NERR designation by the end of 2024.

What is a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)?
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is leading the designation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) for the Bay of Green Bay. The NERR system is a non-regulatory national network of 29 sites across the U.S. designed to study, preserve, and educate about our coastal resources. The Bay of Green Bay NERR will focus on research, place-based education, stewardship, and training. Plans for the NERR include a visitor center with water-focused exhibits, meeting and conference spaces, a laboratory and classrooms, and a boat launch. Below are updates on the Bay of Green Bay NERR designation.

NERR Public Kickoff Events
In April two virtual public kickoff events were held to introduce the community to the Bay of Green Bay NERR designation. Recordings from both events can be found here, as can a short introductory video about the effort. Thank you to Senator Baldwin and Congressman Gallagher for providing videos for the kickoff, and to NOAA for helping us to plan and participate in the event. We have compiled a document of questions and answers that were generated from the kickoff meetings. The Q and A document is available on the NERR website.

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