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Development of a Watershed TMDL for the Lower Fox River Basin and Green Bay Area of Concern

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The Lower Fox River (LFR) Basin and Green Bay Area of Concern (AOC) are impaired by excessive phosphorus and sediment loading, which leads to nuisance algae growth, oxygen depletion, lack of submerged aquatic vegetation, and water clarity problems. Although phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth, excess phosphorus in the bay increases the occurrence of unwanted algae blooms, which can damage the ecology and aesthetics of the bay, impair swimming restrictions, and affect the economic well-being of the surrounding community. Excessive algae growth also depletes the supply of oxygen in the hypolimnion of the bay, endangering fish and other aquatic life. Excess sediments in the LFR Basin and Green Bay AOC reduce light availability to critical aquatic plants, restricting their ability to grow. Aquatic plants serve as vital habitat and food sources for fish, birds, frogs, turtles, insects, and other kinds of wildlife. They also produce life-giving oxygen, help stabilize bottom sediments, protect shorelines from erosion, and take up nutrients that would otherwise be available for nuisance algae growth. When aquatic plants die due to excess sediments in the river or bay, water quality is degraded. This paper will provide an overview of the approach being used to establish a phosphorus and total suspended solids (TSS) watershed TMDL for the LFR and Green Bay AOC, as well as a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) for the impaired waters within the boundary of the Oneida Nation Reservation. The overview will introduce some of the unique aspects of the TMDL development and implementation planning approach including stakeholder input, integration of Clean Water Act programs, use of BMP cost-effectiveness models and social science and marketing tools, and the identification of potentially restorable wetlands.
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Keywords: TMDL; TMDL implementation; nutrients; watershed approach

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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