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Project to restore Cat Islands in Green Bay underway


GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Work to restore the Cat Islands in Green Bay has finally started.

This week the Army Corps of Engineers started work on the islands near the mouth of the Fox River, just off Lineville Road.

Crews will work non-stop for the next few years in the bay to restore habitat and keep the Port of Green Bay working.

"It's both an economic project and one that brings environmental benefits so it's really a win-win," Brown County Port and Solid Waste Department Director Dean Haen told FOX 11.

Years of erosion took its toll on the two-and-a-half mile island chain, but both local and federal officials hope to reverse that with this project.

It'll consist of a man-made embankment, and eventually, reconstructed islands.

The four mile stretch of rock barrier is expected to be completed within a couple of years.

Once that's done, the Army Corps of engineers will take clean dredged material from the bay and build three islands.

That's expected to take up to 20 years.

Originally the price tag was $34 million, but with lower costs for materials, it's now down to $20 million. Two-thirds of the money will come from the federal government. 

The rest, about 35 percent, through grants and other local revenue, but Haen says no local tax money will be used.

The Army Corps of Engineers says most of the federal money for will come through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is the federal government's largest Great Lakes cleanup project in 20 years.