Clean Bay Backer Erosion Awareness
Green Bay, WI

Grantee: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Basin Program Funds: $19,800
Non-federal Funds: $19,700
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 04/1997
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The Lower Fox River and Green Bay, identified as an Area of Concern (AOC) by the International Joint Commission under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, is plagued by both conventional and toxic pollution problems. The primary causes of most of the AOC's 11 impaired uses are nonpoint sources of phosphorus and suspended solids delivered to the Fox River and lower Green Bay. Progress in improving water clarity and restoring the quality of the Fox-Wolf Basin depends upon an informed and educated public to promote actions that reduce the flow of nutrients and suspended solids.

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The “Clean Bay Backers” made their debut in May of 1994 with the kickoff of a yearlong polluted runoff awareness campaign that utilized radio, television and billboard advertising to promote the How to Be a Clean Bay Backer booklet. This booklet was prepared with Great Lakes Basin Program assistance from an earlier grant. The goals of this phase of the project were to inform citizens throughout the Fox-Wolf Basin about the nonpoint source pollution issues and problems; to motivate citizens to take individual actions to report, reduce, and prevent nonpoint source pollution; to help the public make informed decisions about water resources and freshwater coastal management; and to promote the benefits of restoring water quality in the Fox-Wolf Basin.

Clean Bay Backers continued to distribute the booklet, How to be a Clean Bay Backer. Through successful television, radio, and billboard advertisements the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was able to exceed their goal of raising awareness of the Clean Bay Backers and the causes of polluted runoff, as well as awareness of reduction steps that individuals can take.

The toll-free phone number established under the previous year's grant award was maintained. A database was established that listed the name and address of the caller, the nature and location of the erosion problem, and how he or she heard about the hotline.

Radio advertisement copy for the summer and fall schedules was developed and approved by the Remedial Action Plan (RAP)-Public Education and Participation Committee. These advertisements, including in-kind spots donated by WIXX radio, reached approximately 120,600 (18 and older age group) people in the total Green Bay survey area on a monthly basis. A 30-second television commercial featuring Billy Beaver was aired during evening newscasts and during Green Bay Packer pre-season football games. The commercial asked callers to dial the toll-free number to report erosion problems.

The billboard campaign placed one billboard in a different location in the Green Bay area every month for six months. The design displayed Billy Beaver fixing a fallen-down silt fence at a river bank and bore the message:

Billboard mock-up
Report Erosion Problems! Call 800/470.4420.

Demand for the How to be a Clean Bay Backer booklet exceeded the previous year with over 15,000 copies being distributed. The booklets are now being revised and reprinted in 1998 with the assistance of local business donations. In all, 30,000 copies have been distributed to schools, civic groups, and the general public.

Approximately 216 people from throughout the watershed utilized this service while many more people called simply to request water quality information. An analysis of the database revealed radio and television to be the most effective media outlets. Television spots reached approximately 120,600 adults aged 18 and older monthly. According to the billboard company used (Orde Advertising), approximately 85 percent of the adults in the Green Bay metropolitan area saw the Clean Bay Backer billboard 14 times per month during the campaign.

The success of this grant has precipitated several other educational efforts such as the production of a children's video about polluted runoff and the Clean Bay Backers, the design for a portable RAP/Clean Bay Backers display, incorporation of Clean Bay Backer materials into the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District Environmental Education Center, and the production of 6,000 I'm a Clean Bay Backer buttons.

Contact: Vicky Harris, (920) 448-5127


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