Another significant milestone has been reached in the process of designating a new National Estuarine Research Reserve for the bay of Green Bay. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reviewed the final nomination package submitted by the state of Wisconsin and determined that it meets all regulatory requirements for accepting the nomination of natural area sites for a NERR.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay leads the state’s efforts towards NERR designation.
“This nomination embodies the collaboration with partners and the public that is the backbone of the research reserve system,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “As we move through the designation process, NOAA is committed to hearing from partners about how research, education and stewardship opportunities can help make this estuarine ecosystem and Great Lakes communities more resilient.”
NOAA’s selection of the nomination for the bay of Green Bay NERR is a significant milestone in the designation process and an advancement on bringing the water quality research, educational programming and technical expertise that come with siting a research reserve on the bay of Green Bay.
“This is an exciting next step for our region. UW-Green Bay is committed to studying, preserving and protecting the area that includes the largest freshwater estuary in the world,” said University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander. “The partnership that can happen by bringing in a national network of coastal research experts will provide information that is locally relevant and nationally significant and bring attention and support to the region to help solve some of the challenges facing our great waterways. This is an effort we are proud to lead.”
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR) is a national network of 30 sites across the coastal US, including the Great Lakes, designed to protect and study estuaries and their coastal wetlands. The mission of the NERR System is, “To practice and promote stewardship of coasts and estuaries through innovative research, education, and training using a place-based system of protected areas.” Established through the Coastal Zone Management Act, the reserves represent a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states. NOAA provides funding and national guidance, and each site is managed on a daily basis by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners. For the Bay of Green Bay NERR, UW-Green Bay is the state lead for the designation process. At the local level, a Bay of Green Bay NERR will offer a coordinating force to manage, restore, and protect the Green Bay ecosystem, with a programmatic focus on four sectors: research, education, stewardship, and training.