Serving Northeast Wisconsin since 1972
An Economic Development District serving Northeast Wisconsin for over 40 years.

(920) 448-2820

425 S Adams St, Ste. 201
Green Bay, WI 54301

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Cindy J. Wojtczak
Executive Director

Jeffrey C. Agee-Aguayo
Transportation Planner

Amy Carrozzino-Lyon
Phragmites Project Coordinator

Angela Kowalzek-Adrians
Natural Resources Planner

Richard J. Malone
Office Accounts Coordinator

Brandon G. Robinson
Community Assistance Planner

Joshua W. Schedler
GIS Coordinator
2016 Technical Assistance Program: Projects Selected for Free Assistance!
The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission has completed its 2016 review and selection of technical assistance projects. Fifteen applications were received from member communities for projects ranging from comprehensive plan updates to zoning ordinance updates to capital improvement projects. 

The highest ranked project came from the Village of Lena to assist with the development of a Capital Improvement Plan. There were three projects tied for second place, so all three will receive partial assistance on their proposed projects, including public participation assistance for the City of Manitowoc's Downtown Master Plan, compiling demographic data to assist Florence County with a Housing Supply and Demand Analysis, and providing information on grant opportunities and grant writing assistance to the Village of Suring.

The Commission will discuss with the remaining applicants how they may be able to help them with their projects.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact   Cindy Wojtczak.
Is there potential to harvest invasive Phragmites for biomass utilization?
Restoring Great Lakes coastal wetlands through invasive plant harvesting and biomass utilization (from the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative website), provides information about how a collaborative team of researchers and restoration practitioners are working throughout the Great Lakes to pioneer a new approach to restore wetlands impacted by invasive cattails, Phragmites, and reed canarygrass by harvesting invasive plants and utilizing their abundant biomass.

Among other project to explore biomass utilization, the team partnered with the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh (UWO) to harvest invasive cattails from a heavily invaded University-owned marsh on Lake Butte des Morts. The biomass harvested from this wetland was utilized in UWOs Urban Anaerobic Dry Biogas System. Renewable energy produced in this digester provides electricity and heat to UWO buildings,  as well as a premium compost called  Titan Gold

After learning of this work, we contacted our UWO partner, Dr. Greg Kleinheinz, to discuss the potential to harvest invasive Phragmites to produce renewable energy within our region. We have found that it is feasible that a commercial-scale dry fermentation anaerobic biogas system could be located within our region.  And where there are areas heavily invaded with Phragmites , it may serve as a good input into the system to produce renewable energy.  However, Phragmites is just one potential input. Such a system could take many varying types of organic matter.  Additionally, there are funding opportunities to support such efforts. 

We are beginning to explore this effort by starting with some lab tests to determine the energy potential of Phragmites, since it could serve as an abundant input to the system for quite some time and could support efforts to remove Phragmites from the Green Bay basin, thereby removing a phosphorus input to the bay. Samples were collected last week from Brown County and delivered to UWO to conduct the necessary testing. Future E-Newsletter articles will keep you updated on the findings of those tests.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Angela Kowalzek-Adrians.
Mitigating Flood Risk on Brown County's East River
June 1990 was a wet one in Brown County with a total of 14.2 inches of rainfall recorded at the Austin Straubel Airport. But it was the 4.9 inches falling on June 22 that forced the abandonment of an estimated 200 homes as the East River overtopped its banks, causing about $11 million in damage. While there had been similar heavy storms in 1954, 1969, and 1975, no subsequent rainfall has been as severe.

Yet, since 1990, property development in the 1,447-square-mile East River watershed has continued apace, both on the floodplain and along the slopes feeding runoff into the river. This trend, combined with the clearing of forested land and tiling of agricultural fields high in the watershed, is raising the question of what flood damage will occur during the next extreme rainfall.

In 2011, the consulting firm Resources for the Future published the results of a flood risk assessment for the East River watershed. The report, The Role of Land Use in Adaptation to Increased Precipitation and Flooding: A Case Study in Wisconsin's Lower Fox River Basin, predicts that flooding in the area could cause damages between $33 million (30% annual risk off occurring) and $124 million (annual risk of 0.2%).

Meanwhile, water quality studies of the Lower Fox River and Green Bay have identified the East River corridor as a contributor to poor water quality due to agricultural runoff and soil erosion. The 2015 Outagamie County report Nonpoint Source Implementation Plan for the Upper East River Watershed describes a number of agricultural and runoff best management practices meant to reduce these downstream water quality impacts.

Are erosion, agricultural runoff, extreme rainfall, and flood damage risk somehow related to one another? Is there anything that can be done that will co-benefit downstream communities' flood preparedness and water quality in Green Bay? An East River Watershed study group is beginning an in-depth look at these questions. Formed with representatives of Brown County, UW-Green Bay, NEW Water, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, Baird Creek Preservation Foundation, Oneida Nation, The Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin DNR, Wisconsin Sea Grant, Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission (RPC), and others, this group aims to identify approaches and resources that can both reduce flood risk and improve water quality.

Click here for the full article including some example approaches.

Liebl, D. (2016). Mitigating Flood Risk in the East River. Retrieved 9 March 2016, from Wisconsin Academy Waters of Wisconsin Blog
Sheboygan MPO
Various roadway condition attributes have been m apped   in the Sheboygan metropolitan planning area including: (1) PASER ratings of gravel and sealcoat surfaces for local streets and roads; (2) PASER ratings of paved surfaces for local streets and roads; (3) pavement condition index (PCI) ratings for state trunk highway segments; and (4) sufficiency ratings of bridges (including the condition of culverts). 

Commission staff has been meeting with partners to explore a feasibility study of employment transportation in and near the metropolitan planning area. There are more jobs available than employees in some industries in Sheboygan County, and it is thought that transportation may be a barrier to getting many good potential employees to jobs. Two barriers exist: (1) temporal barriers (difficulty in getting home from second shift jobs and getting to third shift jobs because transit service ends around 9:00 p.m.; and (2) spatial barriers (many of the employers that need employees do not have transit service in the area where the employment takes place). 

Commission staff prepared minor amendments to the 2016 - 2019 TIP in late February.  These amendments involve changes to the street and highway component of the 2016 - 2019 TIP, and were approved at the Commission's March meeting. 

Please contact Jeff Agee-Aguayo for additional information.
Upcoming Events/Meetings
April 13, 2016, 9 AM
DATCP-hosted Webinar

By April 15, 2016

April 29, 2016, 10AM
Executive Committee Meeting
Green Bay, WI

June 10, 2016, 10 AM
Full Commission Meeting
Jack Day Environmental Education Center
Green Bay, WI

June 20 - 24, 2016
Manitowish Waters, WI

*This environmental award program of the Lake Michigan Stakeholders recognizes and honors significant achievements in water resources protection, environmental education and outreach, land use protection, and habitat restoration under four categories: individuals, businesses, community organizations and policymakers. Nominations are open to any group, program, organization, business, or individual working on restoration, improvement or enhancement of Lake Michigan or any of the watersheds that flow into the lake. Awards will be presented at the annual Lake Michigan Day event on August 12. 

Available Grant Opportunities 
The following is a list of upcoming grant opportunities and their due dates. Please contact the Commission if you have a project idea, or need assistance with preparing or administering a grant, or if you are interested in partnering with the Commission on a project.
BayCare Clinic Foundation Grants
Ben & Jerry's Foundation Grants Cedar Tree Foundation Grants
Charles Stuart Mott Foundation Environmental Grants Cornell Douglas Foundation Grants
CN Stronger Communities Fund Costco Wholesale Grants
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation EcoTech Grants - The Captain Planet Foundation
Environmental Research & Education Foundation Grants Gannett Foundation Grants
Georgia-Pacific Foundation Grants ING Foundation Grants
International Paper Grants Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant
Kinder Morgan Foundation Grants Kodak American Greenways Grants
Laura Jane Musser Fund Lawrence Foundation Grants
Lego Children's Fund Grants MeadWestvaco Foundation Grants
Meetings Mean Business! Grant Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas Grants
MLB Baseball Tomorrow Fund Patagonia Environmental Grants
RGK Foundation Education Fund Rockefeller Family Fund
US Soccer Foundation Grant
Waste Management Charitable Giving