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Construction of Foundation for Cat Island Restoration Project Nears Completion

Release Date: 09/12/2013
Contact Information: (Media only) Peter Cassell (EPA), 312-886-6234, 312-859-9614 (Cell), cassell.peter@epa.gov; Lynn Rose (USACE), 313-226-4680, lynn.m.rose@us.army.mil.

Green Bay, Wisconsin – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Wisconsin, and Brown County today announced that they are wrapping up work on the foundation for the Cat Island chain restoration project in Lower Green Bay.

"Thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – and our dedicated federal, state and local partners – the foundation for the Cat Island chain is almost finished," said Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager. "This foundation will serve as a barrier to shield wetlands that protect water quality in Green Bay and provide important habitat for wildlife.”

When completed, the approximately $20 million Cat Island project will restore three barrier islands and protect 1,400 acres surrounding Duck Creek, a Green Bay tributary. Dredge materials are being used to build the foundation for the islands. The foundation creates a barrier that provides immediate environmental benefits by protecting wetlands, promoting aquatic vegetation.

"This is a win-win situation for Green Bay Harbor and the Cat Island Chain Restoration as this project will be a model for dredge material management in the future,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ells, District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. “At the Corps we are frequently looking for beneficial uses of dredge materials. In this case we will be providing a location for dredge material placement while restoring critical wetlands and creating an environmentally rich habitat for years to come."

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has supported this project for over two decades, serving on local planning committees and working with local stakeholders to implement the project," said Charlie Wooley, the Service's Midwest Regional Deputy Director. "The Cat Island project will restore an important part of Lower Green Bay. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all the partners, this effort will provide important spawning, nursery, and rearing habitat for fish and other aquatic species."

"The Cat Island Chain Restoration Project is a great example of how dredging material can be re-purposed for the benefit of the environment and keep our port economically viable at the same time," said Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.

In 2010, EPA provided a $1.5 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to fund the Cat Island project. This grant funded the construction of a 2.5-mile barrier in Lower Green Bay to serve as a foundation for the island restoration project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided $12.5 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the county and state provided some $5.7 million in matching funds.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was proposed by President Obama at the start of his first term. For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit http://www.glri.us/.