Clean Bay Backer Water Quality Pamphlet
Green Bay, WI

Grantee: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Basin Program Funds: $7,912
Non-federal Funds: $6,580
Project Duration: 09/1994 - 08/1995
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The Lower Fox River and Green Bay Remedial Action Plan identified nonpoint sources of phosphorus and suspended solids to be the primary cause of most of the AOC's 11 impaired beneficial uses. Each year, an estimated 1.5 million pounds of phosphorus is delivered to the Fox River, 80% of which originates from nonpoint sources throughout the Fox-Wolf basin.

Before channel treatment

The Clean Bay Backer Water Quality Pamphlet sought to enhance the water quality of the Lower Fox River and Green Bay through a public education pamphlet designed to: 1) inform citizens about water quality, nonpoint source pollution, and remedial actions they can help initiate throughout the watershed; 2) increase appreciation from and understanding of local and regional water resources and the benefits of restored water quality; 3) help the public make informed decisions about water resources and fresh water coastal management; and 4) motivate citizens to take individual actions to reduce or prevent nonpoint source pollution.

The Fox-Wolf watershed encompasses 18 counties spread over 6,400 square miles. The Lower Fox River and Green Bay, identified as an Area of Concern (AOC) by the International Joint Commission, are plagued with both conventional and toxic pollutant problems. The primary cause of most of the AOC's 11 impaired beneficial uses is nonpoint sources of phosphorus and suspended solids. The 1993 RAP update concluded that the “vast majority of the estimated 200 million pounds of suspended solids delivered to the AOC each year are related to nonpoint sources.” Progress in improving water clarity and restoring the quality of the Fox River and Green Bay depends on actions to reduce the flow of nutrients and suspended solids to the Area of Concern.

This project covered the development and distribution of the educational pamphlet. The pamphlet identified both healthy and degraded areas within the Fox-Wolf basin and suggested actions to reduce/prevent nonopoint source pollution using six animated characters called “The Clean Bay Backers.”

In order to meet the above-stated goals, a colorful and informative pamphlet entitled “How to be a Clean Bay Backer” was designed and printed. With considerable coordination with other projects from the pamphlet distribution, such as a USEPA-funded “Clean Bay Backer Media Campaign,” over 10,000 copies of the pamphlet have been distributed across a 6,400 square-mile watershed. The Clean Bay Backer media campaign promoted the pamphlet through newspaper, billboard, radio, and television advertising, and a 1-800 number. Regional collaboration efforts included environmental education programs associated with the Neville Public Museum, the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, and UW-Extention.

After channel treatment

A survey designed to measure the effectiveness of these education efforts has indicated that the project has met or exceeded its goals for an awareness rate (of the Clean Bay Backers and Polluted Runoff) of 25% in Northwest Wisconsin.

Contact: Dr. Vicky Harris, (920) 448-5127


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