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MMSD and MPS Celebrate Planting of Sustainable Production Forest at River Trail School

10/06/22 10:03:am

(Milwaukee, WI) Milwaukee Public Schools and the Fresh Coast Protection Partnership (FCPP), a community-based partnership between Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Corvias, announce the construction of a green infrastructure project at the River Trail School in Milwaukee.  A project ribbon cutting, planting, and celebration took place on Thursday, October 6 at 10:00 a.m.

two children planting a small tree

The River Trail School sustainable production forest project includes planting a forest of chestnut, Asian pear, and hazelnut tree species. A series of berms and swales were created to improve stormwater management and provide a water supply for the fruit and nut trees planted on the berms. The swales and berms create natural drainage for stormwater runoff to be captured, stored, and infiltrated, providing a source of water for the trees and shrubs to be planted along the berms. The stormwater runoff will support over 100 trees and shrubs and the entire system is designed to capture, treat, and temporarily store over 176,000 gallons of stormwater every time it rains.

This project is one of many being undertaken by the FCPP, which was approved and developed to implement and manage green infrastructure projects across the MMSD service area through an integrated delivery approach that provides innovation, efficiency, and inclusion. The partnership is helping MMSD ramp up green infrastructure implementation to meet the group’s 2035 Vision goal of capturing the first half-inch of rainfall across MMSD’s service area. MMSD and its partner Corvias are working on projects that include nearly 11.2 million gallons of stormwater capture capacity with green infrastructure in support of MMSDs overarching goals to reduce overflow volumes and localized flooding and to improve water quality.

MMSD has a long history of providing funding for green infrastructure to public and private partners. Increasing numbers of intense rain events and the incorporation of green infrastructure into MMSD’s permit have pushed MMSD to do more to be resilient in the face of climate change. The FCPP is expanding beyond the scope of previous green infrastructure programs to place, design, and construct green infrastructure to maximize benefits.

The River Trail School in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) district offers educational programs that focus on agricultural and farming techniques in addition to traditional education. The school serves 400 students from kindergarten through 8th grade on the far northwest side of Milwaukee.

The school’s educational program emphasizes a comprehensive literacy framework, the scientific process, the use of technology, and rigorous research-based math, writing instructional models, and a focus on agriculture. The school is recognized as a specialty school with a focus on agricultural sciences by MPS and the school board. This project advances the River Trail School vision of providing hands-on experience for students in the agriculture program, along with complementary green infrastructure strategies to retain stormwater on the site for the sustainable production of forest.

The River Trail School emphasizes the study and practice of agricultural sciences through the use of the scientific process using the Milwaukee Public Schools core curriculum. As an agricultural sciences specialty school, the school program includes the use of a pollinator garden, raised garden beds, an 80-foot-long hoop house, three hydroponics machines, a pumpkin patch, a compost program, and a self-sustaining permaculture food forest.

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