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It takes vision and foresight to sustainably manage water where it falls. A Green Luminary® is ultimately helping protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adopting practices that harvest rainfall for other uses or mimic nature by draining it into the ground to reduce water pollution. The Green Luminary® projects highlighted below are led by true champions who recognize not only the need to manage stormwater but also the need to innovate and grow. MMSD gives Green Luminary® awards to businesses, organizations, and communities that implement exceptional green infrastructure design projects in the MMSD service area that benefit our lakes and rivers, as well as our communities.
Learn more about Green Infrastructure, our funding opportunities, or consult with our Fresh Coast Guardian Resource Center to learn how you can get started. Together we can help protect our rivers and lakes, reduce the risk of basement backups and sewer overflows, and improve the Greater Milwaukee ecosystem.
Take a stroll through the City of Cudahy and you probably wouldn’t notice all the green infrastructure techniques used to capture and clean 150,000 gallons of water every time it rains. The flower beds are much more than pretty landscaping, and even some of the parking lots and alleys help manage water where it falls by utilizing porous pavement. All of the water from this city drains to Lake Michigan, so reducing pollution from rainfall and melting snow is a high priority.
The 2100 Apartments in Wauwatosa offer green living in the urban environment. Just blocks from a popular mall, the facilities manage water where it falls with a green roof, native landscaping and porous pavement.
Sid Grinker helps protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adopting practices that harvest rainfall. See how they use trees and porous pavement to capture thousands of gallons of water every time it rains.
Northwestern Mutual has a green roof that collects up to 512,000 gallons of rain each year and adds green space to downtown Milwaukee.
The Coakley Brothers operate in a heavily urbanized section of Milwaukee, so installing green infrastructure such as cisterns, bioswales, porous pavements and rain gardens help them manage water where it falls. This green infrastructure project can hold up to 212,000 gallons of water.
The Kaufmann house captures rainwater on their property through green infrastructure to help protect Lake Michigan. They have installed green roofs, rain barrels, porous pavements, bioswales and rain gardens on their residence to help reduce flooding and water pollution.
MSOE's Grohmann Museum has a green roof to help capture rainwater where it falls and reduce their heating and cooling costs. MSOE's new building will recycle heat created from their supercomputer to create aa self-melting sidewalk outside the building. Then, that water will be caught in an underground cistern that will irrigate the university's green space.
The Urban Ecology Center has three locations that uses green infrastructure to collect water and recycle water for other uses at their centers. They use rain gardens, rain barrels and green roofs to collect over 1 million gallons of water at one location.
Blue Skies Landscaping and Walnut Way are helping the environment by installing green infrastructure such as permeable pavements, green roofs, bioswales and rain gardens.
Alice's Garden is a farm in downtown Milwaukee that helps manage and use rainwater for their plants using a green infrastructure system. The system includes a bioswale, cistern and a solar pump.
Freshwater Plaza uses a system of a roof downspouts that feed rainwater into wetland plants and an underground cistern that can capture 75,000 gallons of water. The system creates a sustainable environment and a beautiful setting.
Hartung Park's pond is used as a green infrastructure tool to drain rainwater from the surrounding neighborhood around the park to reduce flooding and water pollution.
Milwaukee Public Museum rebuilt their roof and instead of a traditional roof, they implemented a sustainable solution: a green roof. The green roof provides a green space in the middle of downtown, offers heat reduction and collects over 90,000 gallons of water each year.
Ascension Columbia St Mary's hospital in Milwaukee utilizes two green roofs for stormwater management which helps with patient morale, as well as helping manage water pollution.
Cream City Farms uses rainwater that is collected from bioswales and a cistern to sustainably water and grow their crops on their urban farm.
The vacant lot at the Fondy Food Market has been transformed into a stormwater park which contains a bioswale, rain garden, crushed granite which can hold up to 77,000 gallons of water. The rainwater from the streets around the market gets diverted to the stormwater park to reduce flooding in the neighborhood.
Green Solutions is a program in Greenfield that implemented rain gardens and rain barrels in one section of town, near Alverno College, to help capture rain. Since it's one of the most densely populated watersheds in Wisconsin, helping capture rainwater can help prevent flooding.
Northpoint Lighthouse uses restorative stormwater conveyance systems to divert rainwater and lead it towards rain gardens, as well as using porous pavement to collect water.
MillerCoors green roof and rain gardens promote a sustainable environment by helping protect Lake Michigan and our watersheds from flooding and water pollution.
Alverno College is located in the most heavily urbanized watershed in Wisconsin and to reach their sustainability goals they have implemented a bioswale, rain gardens, and a green roof.
Friends of Monarch Trail use green infrastructure such as rain gardens, bioswales, and wetlands to help with the return of monarch butterflies and collect rainwater.
City of West Allis turned storm water management education into a fun experience for residents with rain gardens and rain barrels.
Victory Garden is a community-based organization that uses green infrastructure to help feed neighborhood families and educate children. They use a cistern to collect and water their community farm, and soil amendments such as compost and wood chips to improve soil quality and absorb more water.
The Boerner Botanical Gardens harvest rainwater by collecting water from the roof and porous pavement in a huge cistern underneath a rain garden, which is used for irrigation on site.
The City of St. Francis educates and helps residents build rain gardens and rain barrels to capture rain as it falls and protect our rivers and Lake Michigan from water pollution.
The Mequon Nature Preserve uses rain barrels, rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, permeable pavement, cisterns and wetlands to collect over 250,000 gallons of rainwater which they then recycle and use onsite.
To combat floods in Brown Deer on Bradley Road, the village replaced four lanes of concrete with a half mile of bioswales to manage the rainwater and prevent runoff pollution.
Fund for Lake Michigan has invested $12 million on 150 projects that help protect Lake Michigan with green infrastructure. These projects help manage stormwater and prevent water pollution and runoff.
Westlawn is a housing development in Milwaukee that uses green infrastructure such as bioswales in order to limit the impact of flooding in the neighborhood from rainwater.
Century City is a community-based organization that helps children in the neighborhood learn how they can help manage water. Children are able to decorate rain barrels and build rain gardens.
All People's Church uses rain barrels, cisterns and bioswales to collect water to use in their gardens to help the community.
The Village of Shorewood uses soil amendments such as Milorganite and compost to take care of their natural lawn to help grow healthy grass which acts as a sponge to absorb water.
The Milwaukee Public Zoo uses a variety of ways to manage rainwater such as the forest and ponds surrounding the Zoo, along with rain gardens and green roofs.
Rainwater is collected into a cistern to use at the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukees, along with a green roof and porous pavements along the sidewalk. The water collected is used to water plants in the Domes.
Summerfest uses rain gardens, bioswales, a green roof and porous pavement to collect and limit the stormwater and pollution that goes into Lake Michigan.
Maryland Avenue Montessori School renovated and turned a parking lot into a huge rain garden in addition to building a pond, bioswale and catch basin to collect rainwater. They use the green infrastructure as an education source for the students, as well as beautifying their play area.
Managing 16.5 million gallons of rain water a year with green infrastructure, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee is making great strides reducing water pollution in a heavily urbanized area. From utilizing rain gardens, cisterns, and green roofs, UW-Milwaukee is on the forefront of green infrastructure.
Poblocki Paving replaced their parking lot with porous pavement that fills up tanks and supplies them with water for their business. They save money while also helping the local Milwaukee environment.
Mandel Group develops buildings that have green roofs that help with water pollution, as well as making a green space for residents to enjoy in the middle of downtown Milwaukee.
The City of Milwaukee focuses on building green alleys which consist of porous pavements that capture 15,000 gallons of water per each alley, reducing flooding and water runoff.