Getting to Know the Green Bay FWCO
BY MARK HOLEY, GREEN BAY FWCO
establish effective passage for sturgeon over the
Menominee dam. Credit: USFWS
Founded in 1992, for the past 20 years the Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) has been a major contributor to the management and restoration of native fish in Lake Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes. Project Leader Mark Holey was the only employee in 1992 and he has seen the scope of the office increase and the staff grow to 12 with a satellite office in Elmira, Michigan. The primary area served by the Green Bay office is Lake Michigan, but through various projects provides fisheries management and technical assistance to States and Tribes throughout the Great Lakes basin.
fall spawning. Credit: USFWS
The core program of the Green Bay FWCO focuses on restoration, rehabilitation and conservation of important native fish populations in Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes, with emphasis on lake trout, lake sturgeon and lake whitefish. Through these efforts, our office helps develop and implement lake wide stocking and supplementation programs and conducts regular standardized fishery dependent and independent surveys for lake trout, lake sturgeon, whitefish and other important fish stocks to evaluate success of lake wide restoration, rehabilitation and conservation efforts.
culvert for a replacement to improve fish
passage upstream. Credit: USFWS
Initiated in 2008, the Great Lakes Fish Tagging and Tag Recovery Laboratory at the Green Bay FWCO provides coded-wire tagging, tag recovery, and other science support services to state and tribal agencies that stock trout and salmon into the Great Lakes, as well as for the Service’s Midwest and Northeast Regions’ lake trout restoration programs. This coordinated effort among all jurisdictions will provide greater insight into the levels of natural reproduction of both native and non-native fish, the relative survival and contributions of stocked fish, the ability to manage harvest away from wild fish, and evaluation of hatchery operations.
stocked into the Great lakes is completed in this, one of
four Great Lakes Mass Marking tagging trailers.
The office plays a substantial role in the implementation of the terms of the 2000 Consent Decree. The Decree is a negotiated federal court order that specifies the fish management regime and allocation of fishery resources within the 1836 Treaty waters of lake Michigan, Huron and Superior among five Native American Tribal Governments and the State of Michigan. The Service represents the United States for the implementation of the Decree. The office staff participates in and contributes to the assessment of fish stocks within the Treaty waters and the developing fish population models using the assessment data to annually determine safe harvest limits for lake trout and lake whitefish for 26 management units.
Healthy fish populations require healthy fish habitat. The Green Bay FWCO implements the National Fish Passage Program and the National Fish Habitat Partnership to restore quality fish habitat within the Lake Michigan basin. We restore instream, riparian, wetlands, coastal, lake and upland habitats benefiting native species. Partnerships are the key to successful implementation of all projects and we routinely partner with other federal, state and tribal agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations, watershed councils and local governments to leverage resources. In the past 10 years, our office has completed over 72 projects that have opened up over 1,000 miles to fish and aquatic organism passage in the Lake Michigan watershed. Learn More