for dredging in bay pleases some
But Door Co. advocates say they’re ignored
By John Dipko
Green Bay Press-Gazette
MADISON - Environmental watchdogs praised a Fox River
cleanup plan for including dredging in the bay of Green
Bay, but they’re not sure the project goes far enough.
The $400 million cleanup plan, released Monday, calls
for dredging to occur where the river and bay meet, including
spots in the bay where high concentrations of polychlorinated
biphenyls, or PCBs, are located.
The rest of the bay will undergo monitoring for 40 years
under a $39.6 million program to see whether the pollutants
degrade, spread out in lower concentrations or wind up
Jennifer Feyerherm, toxics specialist for the Sierra
Club’s Great Lakes Program, said public comments helped
prompt regulators to address the edge of the bay.
"Folks noted there was a hot spot, and just because
we drew a line between the river and bay, it doesn’t mean
we should stop there," she said. "Sampling that
has been done on the eastern part of the bay hasn’t perhaps
been as extensive as it could be. The (plan) calls for
more monitoring and modeling, so I’m hoping that sampling
will be added so everyone’s minds can be put to rest about
that part of the bay."
But Jerome Viste, executive director of the Door County
Environmental Council, expressed far less hope.
"In Door County, we’re getting shafted," he
said. "Eighty percent of the material is out in the
bay and everyone knows it. Nothing’s being done to keep
that under control."
Viste said he worries that highly concentrated deposits
of PCBs will someday be found in waters like Little Sturgeon
Bay, Fish Creek or Ellison Bay.
"Then the taxpayers get stuck," he said. "If
anything can be done, the expense will be borne entirely
by local citizens. It’s unfortunate because it’s my feeling
that these materials are moving down the bay. The currents
are counterclockwise, meaning everything comes up the
Door County shoreline."
Ron Vander Loop, who chairs the Brown County delegation
to the state’s Conservation Congress, said monitoring
does nothing to clean up the bay, and he sympathizes with
"They’re left in the dark, but they’re not in it
much worse than we are," Vander Loop said. "We
just happen to be right on the spot where they made the
announcement. Some of our dialogue has been that we have
to clean up the east shore. ‘No, we’ll monitor it,’ they
Natural recovery also would take several decades, perhaps
more than a century, to occur before the levels drop to
the point where the bay would be considered clean, Vander
"It naturally won’t be for a number of years because
fish that live in it now that carry the PCBs will still
carry it when they die," he said.