From Monday, Jan. 9: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the State Closure process in the Lower Fox River PCB Cleanup Project. This is the next milestone for the 17-year-long cleanup of the Lower Fox River and Green Bay now that all cleanup work is finished.
State Closure can be approved only after the cleanup work is finished and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies it as complete. This certification was issued in October 2022.
The cleanup work was successfully completed in 2020 through collaboration between the DNR, the EPA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, tribal nations and corporations responsible for the cleanup and care of the river and bay.
State Closure requires mailing notice letters to those who live and work on the river before DNR issues final closure approval. The notice letters will be mailed in January 2023 to about 1400 riverfront property owners to inform them of project completion and the request for final closure. Those who receive notice letters are being informed of cap areas and asked to not disturb them.
The DNR began oversight of the project in partnership with EPA in 2004 when the cleanup started along 39 miles of the Lower Fox River and the bay of Green Bay. The project targeted polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) in river sediments.
PCBs are toxic chemicals used historically in the production and recycling of carbonless copy paper in the 1950s through 1970s. The project removed 6.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment through hydraulic dredging, and engineered caps were installed on another 275 acres of riverbed. These caps must be protected from future disturbance to ensure success of the cleanup for years to come. Caps will be routinely monitored by the cleanup companies.
The cleanup companies, Georgia Pacific, Glatfelter Corporation and NCR Corporation, are responsible for all work and costs.
Long-term testing is underway to measure PCBs in fish tissue, sediment and surface water. Test results show significant reductions of PCB concentrations compared to concentrations measured in 2006 for the upper reaches of the river. The entire river and the bay will be tested every five years until cleanup goals are achieved to the satisfaction of the DNR and EPA.
From Monday, Jan. 9: The meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, at Lakeshore Technical College’s Centennial Hall West in Cleveland, Wisconsin. The meeting will be in person, but a Zoom option will also be available.
DNR staff will present the latest Lake Michigan survey and stocking information, and stakeholders can share ideas and input on future fisheries management initiatives.
“We have been working very closely with critical stakeholders over the last 11 years to respond to the science and social preferences that drive this excellent fishery,” said Bradley Eggold, DNR Great Lakes District Fisheries Supervisor. “At this meeting, we will gather input and comments that will ultimately culminate in a plan for 2023 and beyond.”
More information on this meeting, including handouts and presentations, can be found on the DNR’s Lake Michigan Fisheries webpage.
What: Public Meeting on Lake Michigan Fisheries Management
When: 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23
Where: Online via Zoom or in person at Lakeshore Technical College. Pre-register for the meeting using this Zoom Meeting Registration link.
Join in person at:
Lakeshore Technical College
Centennial Hall West
1290 North Avenue
Cleveland, WI 53015
From Monday, Jan. 9: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the village of Wauzeka is an applicant for funding through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) to improve its public drinking water system. This project includes the replacement of a watermain on Main Street in the village of Wauzeka.
Activities related to this project are minor actions under Chapter NR 150, Wis. Admin. Code, for which no environmental analysis is required; however, following the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program federal requirement 40 C.F.R. §35.3580, an environmental review must be conducted before funding this project.
The Safe Drinking Water Loan Program has determined that the project will not result in significant adverse environmental effects, and no further environmental review or analysis is needed before proceeding with funding the project.
The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding this decision and the potential environmental impacts of this project. Submit comments by Jan. 23, 2023 to:
Department of Natural Resources
C/O Kevin Olson, Community Financial Assistance, CF/2
101 S Webster St.
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707
Kevin.Olson@wisconsin.gov or 608-234-2238
Based on the comments received, the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program may prepare an environmental analysis before proceeding with the funding process. The analysis would summarize the DNR’s consideration of the project’s impacts and reasonable alternatives.