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The Kinnickinnic River Watershed is 25 square miles and entirely within Milwaukee County. The Kinnickinnic River and its tributaries were once naturally flowing and tree-lined, with springs, fishing holes, and abundant with wildlife. However, over 10 miles of the stream are now lined with concrete or enclosed in culverts degrading water quality, wildlife habitat, and public safety.
Within the watershed, there are also over 660 residential or commercial structures that lie within the “100-year floodplain." There’s a 1% chance annually that this area will experience a significant flood—that’s a 26% chance over the span of a 30-year mortgage. The concrete-lined streams and increased flood risk have significantly impacted the quality of life for the communities within the Kinnickinnic River watershed.
Photo Credit: Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.
Decades-old solutions to address flooding in this area have proven to be ineffective and sometimes even dangerous. More than 660 homes and businesses are currently located within the 100-year floodplain and are at a high risk of flooding.
The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), along with several government and non-government agencies and organizations, are addressing the problem through The Kinnickinnic River Watershed Flood Management Plan. This multi-phase plan reduces the risk of flooding, improves water quality and benefits communities through a number of improvements.
The removal of the concrete lining and restoring the Kinnickinnic River to a natural stream in Pulaski Park is complete! The Pulaski Park project will reduce neighborhood flooding and improve public safety by slowing down the river in the park.
The agreement between Milwaukee County and MMSD for the Kinnickinnic River Flood Management Project in Jackson Park has been signed and is moving forward! The agreement is based on a preferred alternative, the Hybrid Site Plan, which has been developed through the public involvement process.
The Wilson Park Creek Reach 3 project is one part of a larger Kinnickinnic River Watershed Flood Management Plan, with the goal of reducing flood risk, improving public safety, improving riparian and aquatic habitat, and enhancing stream channel aesthetics.