kletzsch park dam

Kletzsch Dam Fish Passage

Project Update

Check out the new drone footage of the opened Kletzsch Dam Fish Passage! More fish can now reach spawning, nursery, and wetland habitats in the upper reaches of the river.

Please note, there is no public access at this time. We begin planting new trees, shrubs, and other vegetation this spring. We are asking everybody to stay off the site because the newly planted native vegetation seed and erosion control mat are very sensitive to disturbance by people walking on the planted area.


To submit any questions or comments about the project or to receive MMSD project update emails for the Milwaukee Estuary Area of concern, please visit the bottom of the page. 

Project Overview

Fish passage on the Milwaukee River at the Kletzsch Dam is critical for native fish, such as northern pike and lake sturgeon, to reach higher-quality spawning and nursery habitat in the upper reaches of the Milwaukee River. These native fish are weak jumpers and unable to move past the dam to complete their travels upstream to spawn. When man-made barriers like dams prohibit or delay fish movement in our waterways, fish passage facilities can be used to help fish move through or around the barrier to get where they need to go. 

The Kletzsch Dam Fish Passage project is intended to address required dam repairs and to provide fish passage for native species within the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). Kletzsch Dam is the largest remaining fish passage barrier on the Milwaukee River between Lake Michigan and Grafton. Restoring this fish passage will allow native fish in the Milwaukee Estuary to move from Lake Michigan to upstream areas encompassing 25 miles of river, 29 miles of tributary streams, and 2,400 acres of wetlands – reconnecting river habitats and allowing the fish to migrate throughout the region. This project is done in partnership with Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Milwaukee County Parks

This project is part of a larger initiative to restore the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). Learn more about the AOC by watching this John Gurda video or visiting the Waterway Restoration Partnership website.

Project Map

Project Benefits

  • Reconnect Fish & Wildlife Habitat
  • Improve Migration For Fish & Wildlife


Project Timeline

  • 2017-2021: Preliminary Alternatives Analysis and Public Feedback
  • 2021- 2022 Design
  • Construction schedule will depend on availability of funding and receipt of permits.

*Timeline subject to change.

Get Involved / Stay Informed

  • Sign up to receive Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC) MMSD project updates in your inbox.
  • Participate in upcoming events. MMSD will conduct stakeholder and public outreach activities throughout the project to obtain project input and feedback. 
  • Follow MMSD on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) for updates on MMSD projects. 

Comment / Question


Lake Michigan and the Hoan Bridge

Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern

Learn about the Milwaukee Estuary AOC and MMSD projects.

A Toxic Legacy:

Cleaning Up Milwaukee's Waterways

In this video, Milwaukee historian John Gurda shares the next steps in an ambitious plan to clean up the remaining historical pollution in the rivers and harbor of the Milwaukee Estuary AOC.

lincoln park oxbow

Lincoln Park Oxbow and Estabrook Falls 

Learn about MMSD's Lincoln Park Oxbow & Estabrook Falls Milwaukee River Habitat Enhancement project.