Listing Guideline

When fish and wildlife management programs have identified degraded fish or wildlife populations due to a cause within the watershed. In addition, this use will be considered impaired when relevant, field-validated, fish or wildlife bioassays with appropriate quality assurance/quality controls confirm significant toxicity from water column or sediment contaminants.

Delisting Guideline

When environmental conditions support healthy, self-sustaining communities of desired fish and wildlife at predetermined levels of abundance that would be expected from the amount and quality of suitable physical, chemical and biological habitat present. An effort must be made to ensure that fish and wildlife objectives for Areas of Concern are consistent with Great Lakes ecosystem objectives and Great Lakes Fishery Commission fish community goals. Further, in the absence of community structure data, this use will be considered restored when fish and wildlife bioassays confirm no significant toxicity from water column or sediment contaminants.

Delisting Targets

Fish - This BUI will be considered to be eligible for removal when the following have occurred:

  • All contaminated sediment hotspots within the AOC have been identified, and implementation actions to remediate contaminated sites have been completed.
  • A local fish and wildlife management and rehabilitation plan has been compiled for the estuary that:
    • Defines the causes of all population impairments within the AOC.
    • Establishes site specific local population targets for native indicator fish and wildlife species within the AOC.
    • Identifies all fish and wildlife population rehabilitation programs/activities within the AOC and establishes a mechanism to assure coordination among all these programs/activities, including identification of lead and coordinative agencies.
    • Establishes a time table, funding mechanism, and lead agency or organization responsibility for all fish and wildlife population activities needed within the AOC.
    • The actions/projects necessary to accomplish the recommendations of the fish and wildlife management and restoration plan are implemented.
  • Populations for native indicator fish species are statistically similar to populations in reference sites with similar habitat but little to no contamination. 

Wildlife - Assess wildlife populations and the possible extent of any impairment within the AOC before setting specific wildlife population targets

Sources of Pollution or Problem

.  Contaminated sediments; spills of chemicals within the watershed; atmospheric deposition
.  Sediment, nutrients, and bacteria as a result of nonpoint, or diffuse, sources of pollution; urban stormwater runoff; sewer overflows; noncontact cooling water
.  Dams, drop structures, concrete-lined channels, and poorly-sized culverts and stream crossings; shoreline alteration, such as sheet piling, that doesn’t provide high-quality habitat
.  Discharges of water with elevated temperatures

Remediation Actions

Fish and wildlife population assessments developed by the fish and wildlife technical team are underway

Moving Forward

The assessment projects will continue into 2017. Management actions will then be identified in consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Technical Team in 2017 and 2018 and a fish and wildlife management and rehabilitation plan will be completed.  The following actions need to be completed in order to determine contamination related management actions.

  • Assess areas on the Milwaukee River from Estabrook Park dam downstream to the estuary
  • Assess the potential impacts to sediments from other manufactured gas plants within the AOC.
  • Review and act upon sediment assessment data from other areas of the AOC. This includes, but is not limited to, Kinnickinnic River/Turning Basin, Menomonee River from confluence with Little Menomonee to the harbor and existing Milwaukee River data.

The following management actions are necessary to move towards removing this impairment. This list is not complete but is expected to be complete by 2018. The actions that have been implemented are italicized.

1) Sources of contamination within the AOC need to be remediated.

  • Complete the assessment and cleanup of PCBs at the Cedar Creek Superfund Alternative Site.
  • Complete the management of sediments containing PAHs and metals from the Burnham Canal Superfund Alternative Site.
  • Complete the assessment of contaminated sediment and evaluate and implement clean up related to the Solvay Coke Superfund Alternatives Site.
  • Blatz Pavilion, Lincoln Park Phase 1 and Phase 2 Contaminated Sediment Remediation
  • Kinnickinnic River Legacy Act Cleanup

2) Actions to address physical habitat as identified by the fish and wildlife plan will be determined based upon the data and recommendations of the fish and wildlife population assessments.


We are aware of the difficulties with establishing population-related objectives for this BUI since attracting desired species can be more complicated than just providing them with suitable habitat. Just because habitat is created does not necessarily mean that the desired species can colonize those areas and persist as viable populations. The assessments will determine what species can still be viably sustained within the AOC, given the constraints imposed by the limited amount of habitat extent and diversity that can be restored in an urban environment.

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