trees and grassy wetland Hoy Property

Reforestation and Wetland Restoration

Program Overview

Our communities are the building blocks for everything we do in southeastern Wisconsin. Our rural and urban spaces are connected by the people, the environment, and the economies driving our world forward. Climate change, social equity, funding for critical infrastructure, and jobs are all connected pieces of an increasingly challenging puzzle. One of the solutions, however, can be less challenging and is nature-based.

Nature-based solutions such as large-scale reforestation and wetland restoration have the potential to capture enormous amounts of carbon while also providing additional benefits. These nature-based solutions at the local, regional, state, national, and international scale are being examined to address complex environmental and social risks in cost-effective ways.

The Reforestation & Wetland Restoration Program uses large-scale Natural Flood Management (NFM) strategies that work to mimic the natural water cycle.   

trees and water logo

This program uses a combination of planting six million trees and 4,000 acres of restoring or enhancing wetlands in the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds to reestablish balance within the water cycle that has been lost with current land use, which will continue to be disturbed by climate change.

Project Map

Reforestation & Wetland Restoration Program:

  • Supports developing tree planting and wetland plans;
  • Provides access to trees; and
  • Implements projects (tree planting & wetland restoration).

This program supports local, regional, national, and international objectives including MMSD’s 2035 Vision, Resilience Plan, and Comprehensive Environmental Management Policy.

Program Goals

Develop and implement a 10-year Reforestation and Wetland Restoration Plan to:

  • Plant 6 million trees
  • Restore 4,000 acres of wetlands
  • Capture 350 million gallons of stormwater with trees
  • Store up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater in every acre of wetland

Program Benefits

  • Reduce downstream flood potential
  • Improve water and air quality
  • Increase carbon sink potential
  • Restore habitat
  • Create more resilient, sustainable watersheds

Program Locations

The program team is looking for larger-scale sites on public and private property that are at least an acre in size to restore. 

Interested in getting your property on the list for a potential project? View the Reforestation and Wetland Restoration Program submission form to learn more about the requirements and get your property on list of potential projects.

Program Timeline*

  • 2022 - 2023 Program Development
  • 2024 - 2032 Phased Reforestation & Wetland Restoration

*Timeline is subject to change.

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This project made possible through a grant from the USDA Forest Service. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than English.