Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Fox River (Wisconsin)
The Fox River is a river in Wisconsin in the United States. It flows from central Wisconsin through Lake Winnebago into the Bay of Green Bay. Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet portaged from this river to the Wisconsin River and then to the Mississippi river during the French colonization of the Americas.
The Fox River features a total length of 322km, but can sometimes be considered only 64km long when measured from its outlet at Lake Winnebago (where it begins to flow North). It is one of few major rivers in the Northern Hemisphere that flows north. Its drainage area is about 16,650 km sq., with a discharge rate of 117 cubic meters/second into the Bay of Green Bay. There are currently 12 dams and 17 locks on the river. The river drops about 50 meters in the 64km section of the river out of Lake Winnebago. Prior to dam construction, the river had many sizable rapids.
The river has a small tributary called the East River which enters into the Fox River a few kilometers south of the mouth of the bay. The East River is equally as polluted (it is also very short).
The Fox River has the highest concentration of pulp and paper mills in the world, and has become a superfund site as a result of the paper industries' dumping of pollution (including paper sludge)contributing to a build up of mercury and PCBs. These dangerous chemicals make the river a health hazard to swim and fish in. The local government, in cooperation with the paper industries, is working to fix the problem.
Currently the river is dredged regularily to attempt to remove some of the PCBs and other toxic chemicals. The contaminated silt is then brought out to an island offshore of Bay Beach Amusement Park, where it is put into a landfill. The pollution is so bad, the once thriving seashore amusement park no longer permits swimming - despite numerous films about the vibrance of the Bay area tourism in the 1970s.
In reality it is only the lower Fox River which is very polluted, the upper Fox River (before Lake Winnebago) is on par with most other major streams in the United States. Currently the river is much cleaner than it was in the past few decades.
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