flooding near jackson park and 43rd street



The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is partnering with the City of Milwaukee and others to make improvements along the Kinnickinnic River and connecting streams, including the 43rd Street Ditch. The purpose of the project is to reduce flood risk on the 43rd Street Ditch and reduce roadway flooding at two major intersections: W. Lincoln Avenue and S. 43rd Street. Currently, a large portion of the 43rd Street Ditch is either enclosed in culverts or concrete-lined. A drainage culvert is a pipe that allows water to freely flow under roads, trails, and railways to help manage stormwater. The 43rd Ditch flows into the Kinnickinnic River in Jackson Park through large culverts under the Union Pacific Railroad. This project will increase the flow capacity of culverts at 43rd Street and Lincoln Avenue, remove 600ft of the concrete-lined channel and create an area to store floodwaters during heavy rains.

The 43rd Street Ditch project is part of the larger Kinnickinnic River Watershed Flood Management Plan. The goals of this larger plan include:

  • Reduced flood risk to over 700 residential & commercial structures:
  • Improved public safety,
  • Improved riparian and aquatic habitats,
  • Enhanced stream aesthetics, and
  • Robust community collaboration. 


aerial map of jackson park and 43rd street ditch


One of the major components of the 43rd Street Ditch project is the construction of a detention basin at the site of the former We Energies Service Yard.  Detention basins are areas specifically designed to store floodwater. MMSD acquired the property from We Energies in 2019 and removed the building in 2021. After digging the detention basin, MMSD will plant native vegetation (grasses and flowers) on the sides and bottom of the basin to improve the aesthetics and wildlife habitat at this former industrial property.  Most of the time, the basins will remain dry.  But during heavy rain, water will flow into the detention basin from the 43rd Street Ditch, where it will be held, thereby reducing the flood flows on the Kinnickinnic River.  When the floodwater levels recede on the Kinnickinnic River, the detention basin will slowly empty into the Kinnickinnic River in Jackson Park. This project is being done in coordination with the Kinnickinnic River & Jackson Park project.

Kinnickinnic River & Jackson Park Project


  • A natural river system that can better handle floodwaters
  • Less concrete, more vegetation
  • Improved wildlife habitats
  • Reduced flood risk to over 700 residential & commercial structures
  • Improved public safety


  • Project Design & Permitting:  Spring 2023 – Fall 2026
  • Advertise & Award Construction Contract: Spring/Summer 2027
  • Project Construction:  2027-2030

*Timeline subject to change. Due to schedule complexities this is a conservative timeline. MMSD will continue to move this project forward as quickly as possible.