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Heavy Rains = Dangerous Rivers

04/13/23 09:38:am

Why is there concrete lining our rivers?

In the past, the approach used to address flooding issues was to move water through the river systems as fast as possible. To accomplish this, areas of the rivers were “channelized” by lining them with concrete in the early 1960s.

cartoon man drowning in water

During heavy storms, the concrete lining creates fast-moving flow conditions that have claimed drowning victims throughout the years.  

How are we making the concrete lining areas safer?

In the short term, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), in partnership with the Milwaukee Fire Department, and Milwaukee Police Department, is putting up temporary fencing and signage along some of the concrete-lined areas of our waterways.

Long term, MMSD, along with other partners, is addressing the problem by removing the concrete lining, but this costs hundreds of millions of dollars and will take many years.

Be Safe Around the Concrete Lined Rivers.

  • Stay Away. The concrete lined rivers are dangerous. Water can be fast moving and the area slippery. Stay out of the concrete lined river.
  • Do not climb the fence. The fence is there to keep you safe by not allowing you to get too close.

Call 911 if someone is in danger. We need your help in keeping our community safe.

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MMSD Partners For a Cleaner Environment
concrete lined channel

6th to 16th Street Project

Learn about the improvements along the Kinnickinnic River between S. 6th Street and S. 16th Street. (Photo Credit: Eddee Daniel)


naturalized channel

Pulaski Park Project

Learn about the completed flood management project in Pulaski Park.


Kinnickinnick River progress MMSD

Kinnickinnic River 

Learn more about the various solutions MMSD is working on to reduce flooding of the Kinnickinnic River.