On Friday an Ad Hoc committee met in Sturgeon Bay to strategize their attempt at getting a UW-Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve brought to the area. The committee is in the early stages of forming a bid, as much of their proposal will be based on the criteria listed by UWGB, which the Co-Chair of the NERR Advisory board Mark Holey estimated will be sent out in a few weeks. The city will eventually bid against Green Bay and Marinette.
There is no location planned yet, but Holey did name a few that come to mind.
Co-Chair of the Advisory board Caitlin Oleson emphasized that it’s early in the process of selecting a location for the proposed reserve, but they do have a few locations in mind that may work depending on UWGB’s location criteria. Concerns were noted about Green Bay having an advantage due to proximity to the university. Laurel Hauser, a member of the advisory board, brought up the idea of pushing for a merger such as making Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay sister cities for a research reserve. She noted that it could be seen as an attractive option to utilize the Fox River and Lake Michigan. The idea did have positive feedback, but as of now the plan is still for Sturgeon Bay to bid to be the primary site, but that stands as an idea that could be tossed around in the future depending on which direction the site selection committee goes.
It was said that the pursuit of the reserve has led to residents submitting letters of support and a couple of organizations have offered resolutions stating their support. Mayor David Ward estimated that the initial funding for the reserve would have to be $400,000, which he believes will be from primarily private donors. Afterward, UWGB would have an annual budget for the reserve. The committee discussed outreach strategies to gain awareness from county residents and started to talk about different funding possibilities like grant-writing and fundraising. In a previous Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting, Ward has made this fall a projection for a host-site decision.