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MMSD Green Luminary® Award | Village of Bayside

12/12/19 01:30:pm

In Bayside, Wisconsin, a series of underground shallow ditches (that are like swimming pools) filled with rocks, sand, and engineered soils can capture and store 100,000 gallons of water. They’re like big sponges that help reduce the risk of flooding on a street that happens to be the lowest point in the village where water can’t get out without pumps. This truly unique approach to managing water where it falls can take place anywhere and in a very cost-effective manner compared to engineered solutions.

The Village of Bayside has taken a proactive approach with using green infrastructure to reduce localized flooding and drainage issues by adding storage and moving stormwater away from residents’ homes. The Village has installed several stormwater quantity and quality devices (shallow ditches filled with stone, soil, and grass). Installation of green infrastructure will help provide improved stormwater runoff flow control, along with improving water quality to local rivers and Lake Michigan, and educational opportunities to the community.


Stormwater within the project area is conveyed primarily by shallow ditches that are significantly lower than the surrounding terrain to help move stormwater away from residents' homes. Due to elevation constraints, there is no feasible outlet point. The over-excavation of the ditches/bioswales, backfilled with a clear stone wrapped in fabric, provides needed water storage, filters stormwater, improves water quality, and promotes infiltration.

Water quality in the Village of Bayside is critical due to the close proximity to Lake Michigan. The project now drastically improves water quality by filtering roadway runoff and removing pollutants such as particulates, phosphorus, oils, etc. to reduce the amount of runoff and help protect our local waterways.

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What is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure is an approach to wet weather management that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. On a smaller scale, green infrastructure practices include strategies such as rain gardens, rain barrels, porous pavements, green roofs, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes, and rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation. At the largest scale, the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features (such as forests, floodplains and wetlands) are critical components of green stormwater infrastructure. By protecting these ecologically sensitive areas, communities can improve water quality while providing wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Ways to Protect Lake Michigan: 

Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center

Fresh Coast Guardians

Are you a homeowner, organization or business looking for help on installing green infrastructure? Contact the Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center to get started today.

Green Luminary® Recipients

A Green Luminary® helps protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adopting practices that harvest rainfall for other uses, or mimic nature, by helping it soak into the ground to reduce water pollution. View previous Green Luminary® ​​​​​award winners from the MMSD service area.

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Looking for something to do as a team? Something that will bring you closer together, make a huge difference in your community, and only needs to be done twice per year? Consider adopting a section of the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Save the date for the 2020 Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 18th, 2020