Counties, Tribe Sign Pact To Fight Runoff In Green Bay

Goal Is To Reduce Phosphorus Runoff Into Bay By 40 Percent By 2038

The Bay of Green Bay
The Bay of Green Bay. Ken Lund (CC BY-SA)

Four county executives from northeastern Wisconsin joined the Oneida Nation to sign a water quality pact.

The goal is to significantly reduce phosphorous runoff into waterways that ultimately empty into the bay of Green Bay.

The pact is between Brown, Outagamie, Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties along with the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.

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The governments will pursue federal and state grants to help landowners reduce runoff into streams, rivers and lakes through planting cover crops and other measures.

“We want to limit the impact on the bay as much as we can by working with the landowners using state and federal subsidies (to) minimize the effect of their management practices,” Brandon Stevens, vice chair of the Oneida Nation, said.

The goal is to reduce phosphorus runoff into the Green Bay by 40 percent by 2038.

Stevens said that includes helping farmers and other landowners plant cover crops such as rye or winter wheat that may impede winter runoff into waterways.

Stevens was joined at Lambeau Field for the pact signing by the following county executives from northeastern Wisconsin: Troy Streckenbach of Brown County; Tom Nelson of Outagamie County; Mark Harris of Winnebago County; and Allen Buechel of Fond du Lac County.

Nearby Calumet County is also considering the agreement.

The effort is far-reaching because of the unique nature of the Fox River watershed, which encompasses the region. The river runs north, and all contaminants can end up in the waters of Green Bay.

“In the end it all runs to the mouth of the bay,” Streckenbach said. “From that standpoint what this signifies is that you have county executives who represent their areas coming together saying, ‘This is an important issue.’”

The counties and tribe are working with two nonprofit organizations: The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance and the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

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