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Whitney Slough

Back to Northern Lake Michigan

Counties: Brown


Whitney Slough, 8 Nov. 2000. On far northeast side, city of Green Bay. Sedge-dominated swales between forested beach ridges. Photograph, E.J. Judziewicz.

Site Description

Whitney Slough is located east of the mouth of the Fox River and adjacent to the city of Green Bay, 250 feet from the southern shoreline of lower Green Bay in Brown County. It is bounded on the south and east by steep slopes. Most of the wetlands are a rather simple lowland forest with little herbaceous ground cover. Cottonwood is generally the dominant species, though other tree species are present. There are also stands of emergent marsh dominated by cattails and shrub swamp. It is likely that the wetland was, at one time, contiguous with the waters of Green Bay, but a highway and residential development now separate them.

The Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary lagoons are located in the western part of the site. These include a series of ponds and connecting channels which have been excavated to serve as a wildlife refuge. The water source is surface drainage, and a pump-supported drainage system regulates the water levels. High water levels have historically reduced the quality of the wetlands. There is little seiche movement above Whitney Slough in the Bay Beach area because of shoals between Point au Sable and Grassy Island. While lower Green Bay is heavily polluted, the extent and effect of these pollutants on Whitney Slough is unknown.

This wetland has been fragmented and degraded by residential and commercial development, landfill sites, roads, dikes, and drainage ditches found in the wetland. Portions of the wetland have been used as landfill sites. A dumping ground lies several miles offshore of the wetland within Green Bay. The northwestern portion of the wetland includes Bay Beach Park and Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary; no other major areas of the wetland are publicly owned.

The site is an important migratory stop over point for songbirds. No rare species have been documented as breeding at this site.

Additional Comments

This site is primarily of local value due to its small size, the extensive development around it, and its isolation from the lower Green Bay ecosystem. Despite its disturbed nature, it should be considered a part of the highly significant complex of lower Green Bay wetlands.

Text describing this site was published previously in a 2002 DNR publication entitled “A Data Compilation and Assessment of Coastal Wetlands of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes” by E.J. Epstein, A. Galvin and W.A. Smith.

NOAA logo Wisconsin Coastal Management Program logo This project was funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Last revised: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 17:21:12 CDT