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Stormwater management, flood control, and surface water quality represent issues and problems that can only be properly addressed within an areawide planning framework involving the cooperative efforts of the local governments which are contained entirely or partly within natural watersheds. Moreover, unless properly dealt with, these problems can be intensified by urbanization. Bay-Lake RPC works to address flooding and water quality issues surrounding watersheds, as well as, restoration and management planning.

Menominee River Watershed Management Plan

Project Location

The Menominee River flows into Green Bay and forms the boundary between northeast Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Menominee River Area of Concern (AOC) boundary includes the lower three miles of the Menominee River from the Park Mill Dam (Upper Scott Dam) to the river mouth and extends approximately three miles north of the river mouth along the adjacent Green Bay shoreline to John Henes Park and three miles south of the river mouth along the adjacent Green Bay shoreline, including Seagull Bar. The AOC boundary includes portions of Marinette County in Wisconsin and Menominee County in Michigan and is within the City of Marinette, Wisconsin, and the City of Menominee, Michigan. The AOC includes six permanent islands: Blueberry, Little Blueberry, Boom, Stephenson and Strawberry, which are found within the lower three miles of the Menominee River; and Green Island, which is located in Green Bay approximately five miles east of Seagull Bar. The DNR shares oversight of this AOC with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The two states are responsible for implementing Remedial Action Plans, which guide the restoration of beneficial uses in this AOC.

Background Information

The MenominIcon.pngee River flows into Green Bay and forms the boundary between northeast Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Menominee River Area of Concern (AOC) boundary includes the lower three miles of the Menominee River from the Park Mill Dam (Upper Scott Dam) to the river mouth and extends approximately three miles north of the river mouth along the adjacent Green Bay shoreline to John Henes Park and three miles south of the river mouth along the adjacent Green Bay shoreline, including Seagull Bar. The AOC boundary includes portions of Marinette County in Wisconsin and Menominee County in Michigan and is within the City of Marinette, Wisconsin, and the City of Menominee, Michigan. The AOC includes six permanent islands: Blueberry, Little Blueberry, Boom, Stephenson and Strawberry, which are found within the lower three miles of the Menominee River; and Green Island, which is located in Green Bay approximately five miles east of Seagull Bar.

The DNR shares oversight of this AOC with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The two states are responsible for implementing Remedial Action Plans, which guide the restoration of beneficial uses in this AOC. Most of the beneficial use impairments (BUIs) listed for the Lower Menominee River AOC were caused by the presence of contaminated sediment. Pollutants of concern identified in the AOC included the following:

Contaminated sediment was dredged from the Menekaunee Harbor in 2014.

  • arsenic;
  • paint sludge;
  • coal tar;
  • mercury;
  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and
  • oil and grease.

Log driving, urbanization, invasive species, habitat fragmentation, loss of wetlands and municipal combined sewer overflows have also contributed to impairments in the AOC. Of the 14 beneficial uses, six were originally listed as impaired in the Lower Menominee River Remedial Action Plan (1990).

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Restrictions on recreational contact
  • Degradation of benthos
  • Restrictions on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat

The Menominee River was designated an Area of Concern in the 1980s due to habitat loss and contaminated sediments in the river that impaired public benefits such as healthy fish and wildlife populations, consumption of fish, and maintenance of shipping channels. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and citizen groups identified six environmental problems to target here for improving the river.

After decades of hard work, all the necessary actions to clean up and restore the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern have been completed and restoration goals have been achieved and documented. Six problems, called "Beneficial Use Impairments" in the AOC Program that were listed for the Lower Menominee River have also been formally removed. The DNR is proposing to "delist" or remove the Lower Menominee River from the international list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern. We anticipate completing all delisting review steps in 2020. Moving forward the WDNR and Bay-Lake RPC will be working alongside to create a management plan for future restoration and implementation steps.

For more information, please contact:
Madison Smith, Environmental Planner
Phone: (920) 448-2820, Ext. 106
Email: MSmith@baylakerpc.org

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