Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Fox River NRDA brings recreation closer
Midwest Region, September 18, 2019
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Areas of the Fox River are being restored, including improvements to fishing and boating access.
Areas of the Fox River are being restored, including improvements to fishing and boating access. - Photo Credit: City of DePere
Bomier Boat Launch
Bomier Boat Launch - Photo Credit: City of DePere

The Fox River, located in eastern Wisconsin, was contaminated in the 1950s with hazardous chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs impacted not only the water quality, but native fish and wildlife, as well as how the local communities use their natural resources.


As part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, the trustees conducted a full assessment on the Fox River/Green Bay and determined there was work to be done to restore the land and water to a healthy condition. Dredging began in 2009, and additional cleanup efforts are ongoing to help with the contamination. One of the main goals of restoration efforts is to support projects that compensate the public for their diminished use of the fishery as a result of PCB contamination.

The Fox Point Boat Launch and the Bomier Boat Launch in DePere, Wisconsin, both support the goal of enhancing public recreation. These projects involve the renovation of a boat dock that deteriorated over time and the expansion of another boat dock to increase capacity.

Fox Point Boat Launch
The Fox Point Boat Launch project began in 2017 and all refurbishments were complete in 2018. Located on the Fox River, it’s a very popular site for fishing, especially for walleye and musky, and other outdoor activities as well. The area gets increasingly busy during the spring walleye run, due to boat launch popularity. This restoration project involved renovating the deteriorating docks; all boards were upgraded to recycled-plastic boarding and floats were replaced. The repairs made the boat launch safer and more welcoming for visitors.

Bomier Boat Launch
The stigma of PCB contamination drove many away from using the Fox River for fishing and recreation. One of the main goals of the Bomier Boat Launch project is to increase the ability for people to use the river, as well as to accommodate a larger segment of the community. Anglers and canoers alike will have a place where they can safely launch their vessels south of the De Pere Dam.
The project is slated to be complete at the end of October, 2019 and includes three main components: parking lot expansion, addition of a new launching lane, and the installation of a handicap accessible canoe/kayak launch. This launch site is the only boat launch in the area that provides access to the section of the Fox River between the De Pere Dam and Wrightstown.

The renovation of the Fox Point Boat Launch as well as the expansion of the Bomier Boat
Launch help to achieve the ultimate goal of compensating the public for their diminished use of the river and fishing opportunities. Working to give the public better access to the river and more functional and practical ways to engage in recreation will in turn increase the quality of life in these areas.

Written by Taylor Hensel
DOI Office of Resource and Damage Assessment
Updated by Trina Soyk

Contact Info: Trina Soyk, 920-866-1737, trina_soyk@fws.gov
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