Introducing: Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects and studies the Green Bay estuary.


Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Who Are They?

The future Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve will be a part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR) of 30 sites across the coastal US designed to protect and study estuaries and their coastal wetlands through the integration of research, education, outreach, and stewardship. Freshwater estuaries occur in the Great Lakes where rivers meet the lake. 

The NERR System was established through the Coastal Zone Management Act, and NOAA provides funding and national guidance. All NERR sites are managed by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners. 

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will manage the Green Bay NERR after they finish leading the designation process. The designation process has six steps and typically takes 4-6 years. The first step was completed in 2019, and the Green Bay NERR is currently working on step two. Upon designation, the Green Bay NERR would be the third NERR within the Great Lakes and the first NERR representing the Lake Michigan-Huron biogeographic region. It will offer a coordinating force to manage, restore, and protect the Green Bay Ecosystem, with a programmatic focus on four sectors: research, education, stewardship, and training. If you want to learn more about the other two Great Lakes NERRs, check out their websites: Lake Superior NERR in Superior, WI, and Old Woman Creek NERR in Ohio.


How Does the Green Bay NERR Support Coastal Resilience?

Each NERR site conducts research, outreach, and education about their estuarine-based natural resources. Each NERR site supports place-based research, creates distinct educational resources, facilitates local stewardship of aquatic natural resources, and supports local economic development. Each reserve also provides the trainers and educators needed to bring reserve-generated data and information to local citizens and decision makers.


Research will be conducted to better understand the Green Bay ecosystem.


A formal designation of the NERR will enhance tourism in Green Bay and Door County. A visitor center will provide access to tourists and educational resources.


Educational opportunities will be provided for visitors, students, and community members.

The Green Bay NERR is about 1-3 years out until it is successfully designated and up and running; therefore, no work is currently being done to support coastal resilience. However, it is safe to assume that coastal resilience will be a guiding theme throughout the Reserve’s research, education, stewardship, and training work.


Connect with the Green Bay NERR

Visit the website to learn more about the designation process, and go to the Get Involved webpage to sign up for the Green Bay NERR Newsletter or to submit a request for a virtual presentation to an organization or community. Also, check out the Program Updates and Info webpage to stay up-to-date on the designation of the Green Bay NERR.