NEW Water launches adaptive management program to improve the region’s water quality

October 20, 2021

Together Launch Announcement(Green Bay, WI) Improving impaired waterways of Green Bay through a regional approach is the goal of a new, large-scale water quality improvement program publicly launched today by NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District.

The NEW Watershed Program in Ashwaubenon Creek and Dutchman Creek is a long-term adaptive management strategy to address area water quality concerns while providing a cost-effective, alternative compliance option for NEW Water’s wastewater discharge permit with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

“Through this program, we’re able to achieve permit compliance through collaborative partnerships that achieve a common goal of improving water quality,” said NEW Water Executive Director Tom Sigmund. “To see long-term improvement in water quality we need to work together to prevent these pollutants from entering our waterways, starting in the watersheds.”

Supporting this program are United States Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and United States Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

“We have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and improving water quality is a key element of that stewardship,” explained Senator Baldwin. “The bay of Green Bay is the largest freshwater estuary in the world; it plays an important part of our everyday lives. That’s why it’s vital that we work to protect it.”

“From tourism and recreation to agriculture and commerce, industries across Northeast Wisconsin rely on healthy waterways. It’s critical we work to improve and protect these resources,” said Rep. Gallagher. “The NEW Watershed Program in Ashwaubenon and Dutchman Creek is an innovative approach that will bring stakeholders from across our community together to help preserve waterways for generations to come.”

The program’s adaptive management plan was conditionally approved by the WDNR in December of 2020, following a successful pilot project by NEW Water in the Silver Creek watershed. The NEW Watershed Program involves collaborating with landowners, farmers, the land conservation offices in Outagamie and Brown counties, the Oneida Nation, private agronomists, universities, and non-governmental entities.

It also includes collaborative efforts with community leaders and residents in urban settings to implement initiatives to reduce the amount of phosphorous and sediment from entering area waterways or the sewer system.

Leading up to the public launch, more than 6,000 acres of field walks were conducted in fall 2020 to identify resource concerns and areas where best management practices could be implemented. The program team then developed a prioritization plan for implementing these practices. The team also established criteria for tracking and verification of installed practices to ensure success.
Beginning last fall, and continuing throughout this year, the program team has worked with farmers/growers in the program area to implement best management practices including two-stage ditches, rotational grazing, planting cover crops, practicing no-till and the installation of several buffers/filter strips. The team will continue this collaborative effort in the coming years, including working with community leaders and area residents on strategic urban efforts.

“Working together will make a difference in our water quality,” said Sigmund. “Ultimately, it’s up to all of us to improve and preserve our precious water resources for today and future generations.”

Learn more about the Launch event

To learn more about this Program and how you may get involved, please visit the NEW Watershed Program website >>

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