GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Bay of Green Bay is the world’s largest freshwater estuary and an effort is underway to declare it a national reserve. The designation would create opportunities, like a state-of-the-art Visitor & Research Center, to help study this important body of water.

Alongside the Bay of Green Bay community leaders talk about a project gaining steam. About an effort led by UW-Green Bay to have federal authorities designate this body of water a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), just one of three within the Great Lakes.

“I think we have made a lot of progress over the last couple decades and the fact that we have this opportunity to locate a NERR here is an indication of some success,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.

And how best to participate, when and if that federal designation is officially made.

“This will add to our overall mix of reasons why people would want to come to the greater Green Bay area for tourism,” said Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.

The designation would come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If given it would mean an influx in research dollars to help understand this unique Green Bay ecosystem, as well as construction of a state-of-the-art Visitor & Research Center.

“We’re advocating for this to be located right here in the greater Green Bay area,” said Streckenbach.

Local municipalities in Brown County are joining together to identify possible sites for that proposed Visitor & Research Center, which they say if built, will attract people and researchers from around the world.

“The largest freshwater estuary in all the world. It’s kind of an amazing thing to claim,” Genrich said.

“They’ll be people from throughout the country, maybe the world coming here to look at what is happening on the Fox River and the Bay,” said Brown County Conservationist Mike Mushinski.

“There is a tourism component that as municipalities, as a county, we are very interested in that piece,” Streckenbach said.

The group will pass on possible locations to UW-Green Bay to consider.

Visit this link for more information on the National Estuarine Research Reserve