Wisconsin DNR Named 2019 NEW Watershed Champion
(Pictured above, left to right: Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach; U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher; Gary Kincaid, WDNR; Beth Olson, WDNR; Jean Romback-Bartels, WDNR; Nancy Quirk, Green Bay Water Utility; Tom Sigmund, NEW Water; Jim Blumreich, Commissioner for Green Bay Water Utility and NEW Water.)
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and those working on the Fox River Cleanup Project, today were honored as the 2019 NEW Watershed Champion. Heading into its 16th season of operations on the Lower Fox River, the goal of the project is to reduce the risk to human health and the environment by reducing the impact of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
The PCB remediation project was recognized at the 6th annual World Water Day event hosted by NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Green Bay Water Utility at the Jack Day Environmental Education Center. World Water Day (www.worldwaterday.org) is a commemorative event launched by the United Nations in 1993 to bring awareness to global water issues. The two water entities honor World Water Day to call attention to local water issues, including aging infrastructure and impairments, and to celebrate the efforts of a local champion in caring for the watersheds of Wisconsin.
Dredging, capping and sand covering operations on a 39-mile stretch of the river from Lake Winnebago to the bay launched in 2004 after many years of discussion and planning on how to reduce the impact of the PCBs in the river sediment. The Lower Fox River Remediation LLC is conducting the cleanup effort. Oversight is provided by WDNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s great to see the tremendous progress as the project has moved downstream toward the bay,” said Tom Sigmund, NEW Water Executive Director. “This is such an important project for the entire region.”
Now in its 16th year of work on the river, project crews have dredged more than 6 million cubic yards of sediment, which is piped to the project’s dewatering and desanding facility on the west shore of the river. More than 3.3 million tons of processed sediment has been hauled to landfills for disposal. About 975 acres of river bottom has also been capped or sand covered.
“It’s been exciting to see the progress of the project as the barges have moved down river over the years,” said Nancy Quirk, Green Bay Water Utility Manager. “We applaud the cooperative effort and all of the resources directed to getting this important project completed.”
To learn more about the Fox River Cleanup Project, please visit www.foxrivercleanup.com. To learn more about NEW Water, please visit newwater.us. To learn more about the Green Bay Water Utility, please visit www.gbwater.org.