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This project is an important story for another top predator in Green Bay. The Green Bay West Shores Wildlife Area, located along selected wetland parcels of 42 miles of shoreline between Green Bay and Marinette. This is critical habitat for northern pike on their annual migration to spawn and find nursery areas for their young.
Studies by Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff since 1991 indicate this top predator is largely dependent upon streams and wetlands along the west shore. They travel as far as 22 miles from the bay to spawn. These waterways include the major tributaries to Green Bay as well as smaller streams and creeks. Roadside ditches that drain to Green Bay are also used by northern pike to reach spawning habitats.
NRDAR funding specific to the Green Bay West Shores Area has created a unique opportunity to acquire critical habitats in this area. Public support is strong both from local government and conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, and Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.
To preserve this critical habitat, DNR has purchased 615.53 acres using $2.3 million of NRDAR settlement money with another $555,253 in matching funds. The department is negotiating for additional acreage in this priority area.
Natasha Kassulke is associate editor of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.