The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has selected the Greater Green Bay Ecosystem as the site for a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), and Sturgeon Bay wants to be its home base.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is currently scouting a site for the NERR, and Mayor David Ward said it’s come down to three candidates: Green Bay, Marinette and Sturgeon Bay. 

Ward has formed a small advisory group that he said would be made more formal in the near future when the city works on a bid to locate the NERR site in Sturgeon Bay.

“Part of the comprehensive plan was to encourage more water research,” Ward said during the Common Council’s March 16 meeting. “This is one opportunity to do that. It’s an effort to show [that] we as a community want to have this here.”

There are 29 NERR sites located in coastal areas throughout the country. Each is funded through a combination of federal and state monies and provides a “living laboratory” for research, outreach and education, according to the city’s resolution. 

Among the benefits are a visitor center that draws tourists, and providing international exposure, increased research dollars, assistance stewarding local aquatic treasures, educational resources, recreational opportunities and local economic development.

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