Sheboygan River on success story list

Hundreds of people from across the country and Canada gathered in Sheboygan at the Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) Conference to celebrate the cleanup of the most impaired rivers of the Great Lakes, including the Sheboygan River. Participants shared the work being done in other Great Lakes watersheds and visitors to the area were impressed by the progress made in the Sheboygan River AOC.

Local partner, the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership (SRBP) invites you to attend a follow up workshop, “AOC Update: The Future of the Sheboygan River” on Wednesday, May 30th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Maywood Environmental Center to find out why a healthy river is so important and hear from local experts with a summary of the 2018 Great Lakes AOC Conference, the current status of the Sheboygan River, how its restoration has benefitted Sheboygan, and ways that you can get involved.

“Sheboygan has so much to be proud of and it is rewarding to share our successes with leaders from the Great Lakes region,” said Aaron Brault of Sheboygan County Planning and Conservation, “But what about the people who live, work and play around the Sheboygan River? Many Sheboygan residents don’t realize how far the Sheboygan River has come and how essential its health is to our own.”

The AOC Conference was held at Blue Harbor Resort, May 16th and 17th, with the backdrop of Lake Michigan providing the perfect setting. Tours led by local leaders showcased the work completed in our river to restore habitat and remediate contaminated sediment from Sheboygan Falls to the harbor.

The Sheboygan River has come a long way on its path toward being delisted as an Area of Concern, and Victor Pappas of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) will be providing an update on the current status and next steps at the workshop on May 30th. “It was many years of sustained effort by many partners to reach our restoration goals and move the AOC towards recovery,” said Pappas.

Leaders from AOC sites throughout the Great Lakes region agreed that partnerships are essential to getting work done, and these partnerships have been critical to the clean up of the Sheboygan River as well. “The AOC Conference was an opportunity to celebrate the partnership between the City, County, State DNR, EPA, and the Great Lakes Restoration

Initiative to remove industrial pollution from the Sheboygan River and restore habitats along this waterway,” said City of Sheboygan Mayor Mike Vandersteen. At the workshop, Mayor Vandersteen will discuss how AOC restoration has benefitted Sheboygan, and what it means for residents, visitors, and the local economy.

Presenters at the conference stressed the importance of long term stewardship and maintenance to the success of restoration projects and the Sheboygan River AOC was credited as an example of a location that is doing well in this area.

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