Green Bay

Restoring a Great Lakes Treasure

The Great Lakes are a global priority and one of the places the Conservancy is working to effectively conserve to reach our goal of protecting 10 percent of every major habitat type on Earth by 2015. Pictured: Green Bay in Lake Michigan. © Mark Godfrey/TNC

The Green Bay watershed is 10.6 million acres and encompasses portions of northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Green Bay is one of the largest freshwater estuaries in the world and is considered to be one of the most biologically productive bays in the Great Lakes. © Mark Godfrey/TNC

People have relied on Green Bay for water, food, jobs and recreation opportunities for centuries. In 2007, the income generated by sportfishing in Green Bay for walleye (shown here) and other fish was valued at more than $30 million. © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Over the years, Green Bay’s health has been degraded by invasive species like zebra mussels (shown here); PCBs, mercury and other chemicals; residential development; and dams, dikes and road/stream crossings that are impassible to fish and other aquatic species. Photo courtesy of the Center for Great Lakes and Aquatic Sciences.

The Nature Conservancy has been actively conserving land in the Green Bay watershed since the early 1990s. Projects include Michigan’s upper Menominee watershed and Garden Peninsula (Haunted Forest Preserve shown here), Carlsville Bluff on the Door Peninsula and the Wild Rivers Legacy Forest in northeast Wisconsin. © Michael D-L Jordan (

In 2005, the Conservancy expanded its conservation vision beyond individual project areas in Wisconsin and Michigan to include the entire Green Bay watershed (outlined above). The Conservancy worked with partners for two years to develop a conservation plan to protect and restore the full range of biological diversity in the watershed. © TNC

The plan will conserve and restore coastal wetlands like these along Green Bay's west shore, which clean polluted water, intercept waste, protect our shorelines from erosion, provide critical food and shelter for migratory birds and serve as nurseries for fish, frogs and other aquatic life. © Kendra Axness/UW-Extension

The plan will provide ducks, songbirds and shorebirds like this green heron with the food, shelter and rest they need to successfully complete their long and sometimes hazardous journeys each spring and fall. © Michael McDowell

It also will protect fish like lake sturgeon (shown here), mussels and other aquatic life that depend on free-flowing waters. © Vearl W. Brown

The plan will help stop the spread of invasive species like giant reed grass (shown here) and prevent the introduction of new invasives that degrade native habitats and make them unusable by people and wildlife, damaging our economy and our quality of life. © Jodi Milske/Door County Land Trust

The plan also will ensure that the Green Bay watershed will be a thriving recreational destination where current and future generations can safely swim, sail, hunt, fish and enjoy the waters, beaches, rivers and forests. © Wisconsin Department of Tourism



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