Cat Island Chain Restoration Project

Purpose

Habitat destruction and degradation due to fluctuating lake levels have negatively impacted habitat and wildlife in this Area of Concern (AOC). This destruction has led to altered food webs, a loss of biodiversity, and a poorly functioning ecosystem. Restoring the Cat Island Chain by constructing a 2.5 mile wave barrier along the remnant Cat Island Shoals is an opportunity for the protection and restoration of the largest and most critical wetland habitat in the Great Lakes.

Objective

Reconstruction of the Cat Island chain would consist of constructing a 2.5 mile wave barrier along the remnant Cat Island shoals. The wave barrier will immediately protect and restore 1,225 acres of shallow water and wetland habitat. Upon the wave barrier 272 acres of islands will be constructed upon the historic footprints using clean dredged material from the Green Bay Harbor. Restoring the islands will lead to recovery of a significant portion of the lower bay habitat and will benefit sport and commercial fisheries, colonial nesting water birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, marsh nesting birds, amphibians, turtles, invertebrates, and fur-bearing mammals.

Outcome

A wave barrier extending approximately 2.5 miles from the west shore of Green Bay toward the remaining exposed segment of Cat Island will be constructed of rock and protect 1,225 acres of shallow water and wetland habitat. Three islands totaling about 272 acres will be constructed through a USACE companion project. Terrestrial island habitat will be restored and, by blocking wave energy, reestablishment of aquatic plant beds in 1,600 acres of the lower bay will be promoted. The project would provide beneficial use for clean dredged material and would help restore terrestrial and aquatic habitat diversity lost over time as the former islands were destroyed by storms and high water levels. Each island would provide terrestrial and aquatic habitat. Vegetation should quickly become established within the constructed islands from existing seed bank in the sediments, which also have sufficient nutrients to support the vegetation. Until the island construction is complete, vegetation within the island dikes will be subject to disturbances, including burial, from subsequent filling operations, but the newly-placed dredged material will quickly re-vegetate. Additionally, the islands would help block wave energy from further eroding the fringe remnants of the estuarine wetlands which were once present in the head of Green Bay. The islands would promote the reestablishment of aquatic plant beds in the head of the bay. Overall, project benefits to fish and wildlife in lower Green Bay also would be expected to increase aesthetic and recreational enjoyment.

QA Measures

Run Project Summary Report

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Habitat
GLRI_00E00552-0
2010
Active
 
Reports and Documents
 
Activities & Recommendations
Restore Wetlands
Habitat destruction and degradation due to fluctuating lake levels have negatively impacted habitat and wildlife in this Area of Concern (AOC). This destruction has led to altered food webs, a loss of biodiversity, and a poorly functioning ecosystem. Restoring the Cat Island Chain by constructing a 2.5 mile wave barrier along the remnant Cat Island Shoals is an opportunity for the protection and restoration of the largest and most critical wetland habitat in the Great Lakes.
Grant Awarded
Restoring the Cat Island Chain by constructing a 2.5 mile wave barrier along the remnant Cat Island Shoals is an opportunity for the protection and restoration of the largest and most critical wetland habitat in the Great Lakes.
 
Waters