Conservation plan for west Green Bay shoreline

The western shoreline of Green Bay near Oconto.
The western shoreline of Green Bay near Oconto.

OCONTO - How to go about improving an area natural treasure.

The western shore of Green Bay.

The Department of Natural Resources has a plan, but is asking the public to weigh in as well.

The area covers more than 10,000 acres of state-owned land, stretching from just north of the city of Green Bay to past Oconto.

Cold temperatures and a biting Lake Michigan wind made for good fishing Wednesday off the Oconto breakwater.

"We're after whitefish today," said Mike Corwin, Marinette.

Mike Corwin says during boating season, low lake levels have made launching his boat a challenge.

"We used to be able to put a 16 or 18 foot boat in the water, and just go from there. Now, you have to basically go when it's warm, walk your boat out 100 yards to even get the motor started," said Corwin.

"I enjoy the fishing. Last year wasn't too good, but I constantly changes so it's always a challenge," said Leif Rasmussen, Oconto.

The Department of Natural Resources has a plan to manage 12 properties including nearly 11,000 acres. Fishing, hunting, boating and more are all on the table.

"Management for the sorts of things people want to see. Wildlife recreation, wildlife viewing and of course the consumptive sports, both fishing and hunting," said John Huff, D.N.R. Area Wildlife Supervisor.

Area wildlife supervisor John Huff is behind the plan. He says low lake levels are a major challenge. Public access to the lake, and invasive species top the list of concerns.

The fight over phragmites has kept the D.N.R. busy for years. Crews sprayed the invasive grass up and down the shoreline from Green Bay, to Marinette.

"We've put everyone in a position where we can start to manage phragmites with a little more hope of success," said Huff.

Huff says the long term plan may not include a lot of development. Sportsmen we talked to say time will tell.

"You only can do so much. Changes don't happen overnight," said Rasmussen.

"They need to keep up with it. Monitor it, because these communities, they need that," said Corwin.

The meeting is at the Oconto High School Auditorium, and runs from 6pm until 8pm Wednesday night.

If you want more information about the meeting, or the D.N.R. master plan, just head to our website, and click on the "FOX 11 news links" section.