The Fox River Natural Resource Trustee Council

Background Information

The Fox River Natural Resource Trustee Council supports the long-term recovery, protection, and enhancement of the unique natural resources of the Lower Fox River and Green Bay ecosystem. The council has provided settlement funding for over 100 restoration projects over the last decade that restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of natural resources that have been injured by PCB releases.

Starting in the mid-1950s, Lower Fox River paper companies and associated waste treatment facilities released PCBs into the Lower Fox River/Green Bay ecosystem. These releases resulted in injuries to wildlife, surface water, and sediments. Through a process known as Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), authorized under federal law, the Trustees assessed these injuries and determined what actions are necessary to restore, rehabilitate, replace, and/or acquire the equivalent of the injured natural resources.

Studies undertaken by the Trustees and other parties have documented the presence of elevated concentrations of PCBs in surface water and sediment, as well as in the tissues of plankton, forage fish, predatory fish, and birds in the Lower Fox River/Green Bay ecosystem (link to assessment library).

To protect human health, Wisconsin and/or Michigan have issued fish consumption advisories for the Lower Fox River and Green Bay. The State of Wisconsin has continued to warn against consuming fat or skin from mallard ducks in the same area because of the risk of PCB exposure.

In 2003, the Trustees published a Joint Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Lower Fox River/Green Bay area.   In 2016 the Trustees published an Update to the Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment that guides the implementation of restoration projects that compensate for PCB-related injuries to natural resources.