Sturgeon Bay wants to be the public headquarters for a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and officially established a committee last week to help make that happen.
The waters of Green Bay are the world’s largest freshwater estuary, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is leading the charge for that body of water to become the 30th NERR in the country. The national reserve designation is given by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A NERR is a protected area established by partnerships between NOAA and coastal states. Although research is a NERR’s primary focus, other benefits include opportunities to reconnect people with the water (education), address pollution challenges (stewardship) and introduce citizen-science-based programs to the region (training).
The new Sturgeon Bay committee will meet a couple of times per month and be subject to Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law. It can have up to nine members, who will be appointed next month. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council officially established the committee by resolution April 20.
“One of the primary functions will be to identify facilities for possible sites,” said Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward.
Ward said Sturgeon Bay would be competing with the cities of Green Bay and Marinette to become the NERR’s headquarters site.
Both the Sturgeon Bay Common Council and the Door County Board of Supervisors approved resolutions in 2019 in support of establishing a NERR in this region.