occur where rivers and Great Lakes water mix in shallow wetlands located near the mouth of a river. These water resources are important components of surrounding communities. They support abundant fish and wildlife, offer recreational opportunities, contribute to water quality, and provide economic benefits.

Wisconsin’s Freshwater Estuary Initiative is an effort to increase awareness and promote stewardship of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes freshwater estuaries. The initiative involves the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and a diverse network of partners. Several exciting projects are included in this collaborative effort. Examples include the establishment of a National Estuarine Research Reserve on Lake Superior, an assessment Wisconsin’s Great Lakes freshwater estuary needs, and conservation of Green Bay’s coastal wetlands. The links at the left will take you to more information on these projects.


Wisconsin's Great Lakes freshwater estuaries are an integral part of the state's natural ecosystem. They are an important economic and recreational resource, provide a home for plants and animals, and act as a water treatment system for the Great Lakes. Select a link below to learn more:



Banner photos: Fish Creek freshwater estuary, boaters - Patrick Robinson; Sand River freshwater estuary aerial view - Eric Epstein; kayakers - Cathy Techtmann.
Page photos: boats - Patrick Robinson; great egret, water plants - Jeff Strobel.




UWEX Environmental Resources Center I UWEX Water Resources Program I Great Lakes Regional Water Program
Partner Programs: USDA CSREES I Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources I Wisconsin Coastal Management Program

This page was updated on October 22, 2008.