A significant reduction in phosphorus and decreased algae in the Sheboygan River have resulted in a proposal by the Wisconsin Department of Resources to remove one of the beneficial use impairments for the river.
DNR is seeking public comments through September 17 on the proposal to remove the “Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae” beneficial use impairment from the Sheboygan River Great Lakes Area of Concern.
“Removing this impairment designation is the next step forward in the ongoing improvement plan for the river and signifies an important achievement in restoring the waterway,” said Camille Bruhn, Sheboygan River AOC coordinator for DNR.
In 1987, a 14-mile stretch of the Sheboygan River from the Sheboygan Falls Dam to the harbor of Lake Michigan was designated as an Area of Concern under the EPA process to systematically improve the waters of the Great Lakes region. The Sheboygan River has suffered from severe pollution as a result of agricultural, urban and industrial activity in the area.
In another positive sign of the river’s turnaround, in August EPA approved DNR’s request to remove another impairment that limited dredging. While major improvements to water quality have occurred in the Sheboygan River AOC, additional phosphorus reductions need to occur in the watershed to meet all of the water quality goals.
Other programs will continue to focus on these water quality improvement efforts.