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Learn
about Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and their watersheds.
Protect
Wisconsin´s Great Lakes from invasive species and pollution.
Restore
critical Great Lakes habitat and lakeshore value.
Share
your Great Lakes photos and writings.

Cleanup and restoration of our rivers can be an important first step in economic reinvestment. Federal, state and local partners are working together to bring life back to Menekaunee Harbor.

Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Laurel Last
Lower Menominee River AOC coordinator

Lower Menominee River Area of Concern

About

About the Lower Menominee River AOC

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.

Community engagement

Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

Open House

February 2011 Citizen Advisory Committee open house at
UW–Marinette.

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) exists to assist State and Federal Agencies to identify local issues, define restoration targets and goals, serve as a resource for historical information, and implement small scale restoration and community outreach activities. The CAC is made up of area citizens who are devoted to restoring the Lower Menominee River. Meetings are open to public attendance and advertised on DNR's public meetings calendar. Non–member public participation at Citizen's Advisory Committee meetings is limited, but all meetings are open for public comment prior to close.

If you're interested in becoming a formal, voting member of the Lower Menominee River Citizen's Advisory Committee, please carefully review these bylaws [PDF] and contact Laurel Last.

Get involved

To learn more about AOC community events, volunteer opportunities and more, check out our latest event listing. Don't forget to check back often for updates.

AOC newsletters

Impairments

Impairments

Dredging contaminated sediment

Contaminated sediment was dredged from the Menekaunee Harbor in 2014. (DNR photo)

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:

  • 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 [exit DNR], 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
BUI removal

The following is a list of BUI removal packages with cover letters and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concurrence letters.

The Lower Menominee River AOC completed all management actions in 2016. The states intend to propose the "Restrictions on fish consumption" BUI for removal in 2017, and the AOC could potentially be delisted in 2018. Continued progress has only been possible with the help of many partners who have put a lot of effort into restoring the Lower Menominee River. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding has been a critical component of this restoration effort.

Projects

Projects

Island Rookery Habitat Enhancement Project

A project to improve habitat for island-nesting birds is currently underway in the Lower Menominee River AOC. The goal of the project, which began in the fall of 2014, is to improve the plant communities at Strawberry, Blueberry, Little Blueberry and Boom Islands (approximately 18 acres in total) to maintain habitat conducive to heron and egret nesting activity. This three-year project is focused on invasive plant species control and restoration plantings at these four islands. Strawberry Island is currently home to a large breeding colony of egrets and herons, while Little Blueberry Island, Blueberry Island and Boom Island provide potential rookery habitat. This is a United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Detroit District project funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Menekaunee Harbor

Brush piles provide cover, loafing, basking and feeding opportunities for a variety of species in Menekaunee Harbor.

Menekaunee Harbor Restoration Project

Now that dredging is complete in Menekaunee Harbor, the restoration project has entered its next phase: habitat restoration. The City of Marinette and DNR continue to work together to improve the harbor area for fish, wildlife and people. The work will include planting native vegetation, controlling invasive plants, and installing various habitat structures, including rock piles, brush piles, bird nesting boxes, bat houses and in-water wood structures for fish. Habitat restoration is expected to be completed in spring of 2016, with follow-up invasive plant monitoring and control through 2018 to ensure project and AOC goals are met. The city and DNR share a vision for the harbor that includes better public access, improved economic and recreational opportunities, a cleaner environment and improved habitat for fish and wildlife.

South Channel Restoration Project

Just upstream of Menekaunee Harbor, the South Channel project is being implemented by the City of Marinette and DNR with funding from a USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant. This project will improve fish and wildlife habitat along this side channel of the Menominee River. Wetlands are being restored by controlling invasive plant species and planting native species. Northern pike habitat is being enhanced by providing a channel to improve access to the restored wetlands for spawning. In addition, woody structures are being installed to improve fish habitat; nesting structures are being installed for waterfowl, wading birds, raptors, songbirds and bats; and rocky material is being removed from under the Ogden Street Bridge to improve flows, fish passage, and overall stream connectivity between South Channel and Menekaunee Harbor. Habitat restoration in the South Channel is expected to be completed in 2016, with follow-up invasive plant monitoring and control through 2019 to ensure that native vegetation is established and project and AOC goals are met. Besides the environmental benefits, these restoration projects are revitalizing the area by cleaning them up and providing economic and recreational opportunities along the river.

Last revised: Wednesday October 18 2017