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Northeast Wisconsin Preserve Gets Grant To Clean ‘Fish Boil’ Pollution

Cooking Method Caused Kerosene To Seep Into Lake Michiagn

Michael McDonough (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A 1,600-acre nature preserve in Door County is getting money for plantings to help filter decades-old pollution. The Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey’s Harbor has a new visitor center on the grounds of what used to be a restaurant.

The eatery hosted traditional Door County fish boils that involved using kerosene to light kettles on fire. The site is just yards from the shores of Lake Michigan, and according to Judy Drew, Ridges’ assistant director, the kerosene seeped into the lake.

“The restaurant was here for several decades and you know fish boils are a popular thing in Door County,” said Drew. “And I think as restaurants have become aware of this, there are ways you can prevent that from happening. And many of the restaurants have implemented those procedures.”

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Drew said the sanctuary is planting rain gardens to filter all sorts of pollutants before water runs off into the lake. The Ridges’ grant is $75,000. It’s part of a nearly $2 million grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan.

A press release described the fund as a, “private foundation … crafted out of a legal settlement related to construction of the coal-fired power plant in Oak Creek, the Fund receives $4 million annually from the plant owners including We Energies, WPPI Energy and Madison Gas and Electric.”