THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
From Our Readers...
Issue Date: September 2, 2021
Emily Tyner, Director of Freshwater Strategy at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, recently explained a few of the many facets surrounding the selection process for a Bay of Green Bay-National Estuarine Research Reserve. Possible locations for the future site of the visitor/education center part of the reserve include Marinette, Green Bay and Door County. The reserve will also include natural areas (land and water) located throughout the Green Bay estuary system.
Tyner, who will mark her one-year anniversary at the job on Sept. 1, holds an MA from UW-Milwaukee (Freshwater Ecology) where she is a doctoral candidate in the School of Freshwater Sciences.
"The Freshwater Collaboration, within the UW's 13 campuses, is an effort to build partnerships on campuses and to further water research and education within those communities," Tyner said.
How is a site selected?
"Site choice will be neutral, it's a process. There are seven categories stipulated by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), our federal partner, modified to fit local conditions. We are currently in step two, the evaluation of potential sites. We look at ecological conditions and diversity; whether the site is a good fit for long-term research; site accessibility for education, roads, school buses, public access, etc.; site resilience to climate change and changing water levels. How conducive the site is to building partnerships with local organizations, state agencies, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)? Is the site on public land or land held by a nature conservancy (no purchase of private land will be involved). And, finally, will access be impeded by possible future development of surrounding areas? Site selection will be made by the end of 2022 and designed by the end of 2024."
How will the future site function?
"The university will run the day-to-day operations. Funding is at 70% federal and 30% state match. Every reserve has three to four staff members and a director. It's a four-pronged focus: REST??Research, Education, Stewardship and Training??with a coordinator for each area and one overall director." Tyner added that the site would also involve students and summer fellows, one or two educators and may include a person to do mapping work. Dependent on funding, it could reach six to eight employees. We will tap into system-wide programs. Every reserve collects similar water samples, biological samples, weather parameters, etc. to be fed into a national data base."
What does a National Estuarine Research Reserve site look like?
"It's not a single location. There's a diversity of areas, and very likely it will be a multi-component site with a variety of areas included, but that has not yet been confired by the relevant committees. The visitor center and educational center form the hub with land and water areas being non-contiguous parts of the reserve."
How does a NERR Center affect the local economy?
The NERR Association "found that Reserves directly and indirectly support jobs in many industries??including tourism, construction, restaurant, real estate, fishing, retail??in the counties where they are located," she said. "It can become a hub for recreational opportunity."
She added that people tour the reserves, spread throughout the country, similar to tours of our national parks.
Tyner emphasized that a National Estuarine Research Reserve is not a regulatory agency. "The site won't change at all fishing, hunting, public boating, kayaking, etc." The Reserve's goal is to foster water research and education."
"NERR shines a national spotlight on the beauty of this region," she emphasized.