News and Activities

Wetland Restoration on the Fox River National Wildlife Refuge

Date Posted: June 15, 2007

The Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council have approved funding from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement to restore the hydrological conditions in approximately 200 acres of the refuge wetlands. The Trustee Council was formed as part of the efforts to address cleanup of PCBs in the Fox River, and to rehabilitate impacted fish and wildlife.

"The wetland restoration will result in increasing water depth, duration of water on the wetland and frequency of flooding in drained areas, especially during the spring," explained Sadie O'Dell, refuge wildlife biologist. "This creates habitat conditions important for fish spawning and nursery areas as well as for migratory birds such as mallards, greater sandhill cranes, American bittern, northern harrier and the yellow rail."

The process is funded by those found responsible for releasing hazardous substances into the environment, not by taxpayers. Starting in the mid-1950s, carbonless copy paper was developed and produced in the Lower Fox River valley. Carbonless copy paper was manufactured between 1954 and 1971, however some other paper mills deinked and recycled the carbonless copy paper and continued to release PCBs through 1980. As a result of these processes, an estimated 70,000 pounds of PCBs were released into the Fox River.

Participants in this effort include Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Contaminants and National Wildlife Refuge staff, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Michigan Attorney General, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Colette Charbonneau, Restoration Coordinator, 920-866-1726
Frank J. Horvath, Chief, Damage Assessment and Response Branch, 612-713-5336

Article - Spotlight On: Wetland Restoration on the Fox River National Wildlife Refuge (pdf file)

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine - A River Under Repair: The Fox Fights Back

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Lakes/Big Rivers Region - Lower Fox River/GreenBay Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Fox River National Wildlife Refuge

Last updated: June 12, 2015