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Milwaukee River

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The Milwaukee River Watershed drains a diverse region extending from Kettle Moraine State Forest in its northern headwaters to its mouth at Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. The watershed encompasses approximately 850 square miles including portions of Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties. The Watershed includes six subwatersheds: Milwaukee River North, Milwaukee River East-West, Milwaukee River South, Menomonee River, Kinniccinic River and Cedar Creek. A total Watershed population of approximately 1.3 million people reside in 13 cities and 24 villages.

Early efforts to alleviate flooding, resulted in many portions of the stream network being channelized, paved or diverted underground. These modifications resulted in a marked decline in biological diversity.

To reverse these effects, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is currently restoring the meandering flow of the river system and returning natural flood storage capacity within the watershed, including removal of eight dams in the last twelve years. The Lincoln Creek Environmental Restoration and Flood Control Project is one such example were approximately 2,000 homes and businesses were removed from the 100 year (one percent flood reoccurrence) floodplain by restoring the natural flow regime of this tributary.

--Adapted from information provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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Last Updated: January 20, 2006