GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Efforts to clean and restore waterways throughout Green Bay move ahead in hopes one day we can all swim in places like Bay Beach again. Members of the Clean Bay Backers hosted their annual Bringing Back the Bay Tour on Monday showing progress made this year.
A lot has changed along the shorelines of Green Bay since it was shut down to swimmers in the early 1900's.
“There's a lot of potential to restore Bay Beach and address some of those issues -- and clearing out some of the phragmites from some of the funding that we received from that made a huge difference, and we've been able to see the beach and see the potential to restore the beach,” said Angela Kowalzek-Adrians, natural resources planner with the Clean Bay Backers.
Bringing awareness to this issue, the Clean Bay Backers say progress has been made in removing harmful algae blooms in the bay, and the water quality continues to improve.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt was at the event and said it’s important to treat this project as a priority.
“When people see Green Bay, we have to make them think bay, water, natural resources, recreation, economic development, a love of the youth and the future," said Mayor Schmitt.
Clean Bay Backers members say cleaning the bay and other area waterways will not only enhance the quality of life but even the economic value of the city.
"If fully implemented, the restoration initiative would generate $80 billion to $100 billion in benefits for the Great Lakes states and coastal counties,” said Vicky Harris, founding member of the Clean Bay Backers.
The city is now close to securing a permit to finish designs for a boardwalk and eventually a sandy beach by the bay. Other city waterways are just as important as the city works with landowners to restore coastal wetlands and fight against invasive species.