Saturday, January 18, 2014

Draft master plan for the Green Bay wildlife, fisheries and natural areas available for public input

PESHTIGO, Wis. - Protection of aquatic resources and habitats - including northern pike and sturgeon spawning areas - and high-quality and rare natural communities are among the objectives of a draft plan for the management and use of the Green Bay Planning group, a collection of Department of Natural Resources properties scattered along the west shore of Green Bay.

The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the Green Bay Planning Group Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment at an upcoming public meeting scheduled for January 29 in Oconto.

The draft plan describes proposed future land management strategies, recreational opportunities, and boundary modifications for the properties, which include wildlife areas, fisheries area and State Natural Areas. The following properties are covered by the planning process: the 11 units of the Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area - Charles Pond, Little Tail, Long Tail, Oconto Marsh, Peats Lake, Pecor Point, Pensaukee, Peshtigo Harbor, Rush Point, Sensiba and Tibbett-Suamico; the Badger Gift Lands, a 757-acre parcel adjacent to and north of the Peshtigo Harbor Unit of the Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area that was given to the DNR as part of a 2002 consent decree with the Fort James Operating Company as part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment for the Fox River; Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area; and other scattered wildlife and fisheries lands.

Highlights of proposed management include:

  • Continued emphasis on management of coastal wetlands, including emergent marsh, sedge meadow, bottomland and swamp hardwoods, shrub swamps and riverine habitats.
  • Protection and management of aquatic resources and habitats, including northern pike and sturgeon spawning areas, and game and non-game fisheries.
  • Protection and management of high-quality and regionally rare natural communities such as southern sedge meadow, floodplain forest, northern dry mesic forest, Great Lakes barrens and oak woodlands that harbor rare species.
  • Continued emphasis on traditional outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping.
  • Improvements to an existing shooting range.
  • Identification and development of additional opportunities for shore fishing, accessible hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, paddling and cross-country skiing.
  • Modifications to existing project boundaries including 335 acres of boundary contractions and 2,891 acres of expansions, 980 acres of which are already in DNR ownership.
  • Continued collaborations with private landowners, local governments and conservation organizations on shared stewardship, management and recreation goals.

The DNR also has received a request from a local snowmobile club to route a connector trail from the Marinette County snowmobile trail network across a portion of the Peshtigo Harbor Unit in order to access Green Bay and is seeking public comment on this proposal.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 29 from 6-8 p.m. at the Oconto High School auditorium, 1717 Superior Avenue, Oconto.

The meeting agenda is as follows: open house with informational displays available and staff present for one-on-one questions and discussion, 6-6:45 p.m.; formal presentation providing an overview of the draft plan, 6:45-7 p.m.; formal question-and-answer period 7-7:15 p.m.; additional open house and one-on-one questions and discussion, 7:15-8 p.m.

The proposed action is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. The DNR has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required.

The Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment, along with maps and other background information, will be available for viewing at the public meeting. They can also be viewed online by searching the DNR website, for keywords "Green Bay master plan."

The Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment will also be available for review at the DNR Green Bay Service Center, DNR Peshtigo Service Center and at the Peshtigo Public Library, Farnsworth Public Library in Oconto and Brown County Library, Weyers-Hilliard Branch, in Green Bay.

Comments or questions about these documents can be offered at the public meeting, online through the master planning page of the DNR website or submitted to: John Huff by mail at 101 N. Ogden Road, Suite A, Peshtigo, WI 54157, by phone at 715-582-5047, or by email at; or Yoyi Steele by mail at 101 S. Webster Street, WM/6, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by phone at 608-266-8169, or by email at

The public may submit comments through February 28, 2014.