Cat Island Project

Restores Native Fish Populations

A former barrier island chain off the coast of Green Bay is being rebuilt to protect wetlands and habitat, allowing native fish like bluegill and largemouth bass to return.


The Cat Island chain off of Green Bay used to protect the coast from punishing waves and storm events. Starting in the late 1960s, high lake levels and storms started to erode the island chain. By the 1970s, the three islands that comprised Cat Island were submerged. Work has begun to restore these islands, which once protected 1,400 acres of wetlands along the coast. Restoring this island chain will help restore this wetland habitat. A wave barrier, ranging between four and eight feet in height, has been built on the old outline of the Cat Island chain to calm the waters nearshore. Now, thanks to calmer and clearer waters, bluegill, largemouth bass, and pumpkinseed fish will all have an easier time returning to their natural habitat. After the 6.8 mile long wave barrier has been fully constructed, sandy sediment dredged from the harbor will be used to fill in the island area. The Cat Island chain will also provide a productive use for 30-50 years of dredged sediment.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Sediment build up
  • Shoreline habitat destruction
  • Loss of barrier island habitat

Results and Accomplishments

The restoration of natural nearshore habitat has allowed bluegill, largemouth bass, and pumpkinseed fish to return. On the island chain, nesting water birds, shorebirds, and other invertebrates will benefit from the newly constructed land. By protecting the nearshore waters, the island chain will also provide fish nursery habitat.


Aerial shot of the newly outlined cat island

The wave barrier connected to the outline of Cat Island, June 2013. The fully constructed shell for the island chain will protect the wetland habitat on shore. Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.