Coming Together For Clean Water

We all benefit from having clean and healthy rivers. That's why we're coming together as a community to plan, design, and build projects that will keep our stretch of the Milwaukee River beautiful and livable for generations to come.

The Need


Pollution continues to be a serious concern in the Milwaukee River, with our friends at Milwaukee Riverkeeper recently giving the overall health of the river a "D+" on their 2018 report card, dropping from the C- grade in 2017. While the overall health grade of the river has declined, amazing efforts are still being made in Milwaukee's urban areas to improve the health of the river, but less attention has been paid to rural and suburban parts of the watershed. We know making a river that is swimmable, fishable, and liveable for all requires the cooperation and effort of all communities along its banks, and we want to help do just that.


Connecting rural and suburban communities with their watershed to inspire appreciation, educate, and enable positive land management changes.


Healthier ecosystems and communities within the Upper Milwaukee River Watershed.

How It Works

In each Healthy River Community, we're taking a three-pronged approach to transforming a community's relationship with the Milwaukee River. Ultimately, we hope to develop a model that is replicable across the region, creating long term sustainability in the health of the Milwaukee River watershed. In each participating community, we'll work to:



We protect the things we care about. That's why one of the first steps of the project is reaching out to residents and helping them to develop a passion for and connection with the Milwaukee River watershed right in their own backyards! From kayaking programs to community wide festivals to door to wastershed tours to tours of homes, we want to make sure everyone sees and feels the incredible value of being a Milwaukee River community.



We know most people want to make a difference, and that often the only thing holding them back is the knowledge of what they can do. That's why we'll be offering one-on-one property consultations, property owner workshops, family friendly programming and more that makes the problems (and more importantly, their solutions!) easy to understand and act on.



Working hand in hand with residents, land owners, elected officials, scientists, and stakeholder groups, we'll coordinate programs, discussions, trainings, and resources aimed at empowering communities and their residents to implement best practices for keeping their river healthy and clean. This isn't top-down regulation, but instead bottom-up change emanating from community members working together to design a plan that best fits their own town, village, or city.


Where we're headed.


In 2017, we launched the Community Rivers Program with our neighbors in the Village of Newburg, the first Healthy River Community in the state. In 2018, we were pleased to have the Villages of Saukville and Grafton join Newburg. Now in the summer of 2020, we’re so excited to have the Village of Fredonia join the Community Rivers family!

We won't be stopping there, however! Each year, the Community Rivers Program will work hand-in-hand with new towns, villages, or cities to become a Healthy River Community and to inspire new connections with and care for their stretch of the Milwaukee River.


Click HERE to view our 2018 Impact Report.

Upcoming Events

Ready to join the excitement? Here’s a sneak peak of some of the fun we have planned for our 2020 Healthy Rivers Communities starting this spring. The best part? … The best part? All activities are FREE to residents. We'll have more details and events as the summer approaches. Want to stay updated on all the fun? Sign up here for the Community Rivers email list and we'll share upcoming events!

CRP residents are invited to the upcoming programs

Living on the Riverbank - Property Owner Rights | Wednesday, March 11 6:00pm -7:30pm

Making the Grade - Milwaukee River's 2019 Report Card | Wednesday, April 8 6:00pm - 7:30pm

How to Catch the Rain: Family Rain Barrel Workshop | Thursday, April 23 6:00pm - 7:30pm 

Become a Water Quality Monitor | Saturday, May 2 9:00am - 3:00pm

* CRP residents are those individuals who reside within the villages of Newburg, Saukville, Grafton, and Fredonia. 

Community River Conversations

Residents are invited to an open community conversation about the Milwaukee River and the Community Rivers Program, hosted by Riveredge. This discussion is designed to allow for natural sharing of thoughts, concerns, and ideas from citizens, homeowners, and landowners. We’ll identify issues and connections to the Milwaukee River and our watershed as a whole and develop strategies for reaching future aspirations. Your thoughts and perspective are valued! Light refreshments will be provided. Join the conversation for the good of your community! No registration required. 

Village of Grafton Tuesday, May 19 | 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Village of Saukville Wednesday, May 20 | 6:00pm -7:30pm

Village of Newburg Thursday, May 21 | 6:00pm -7:30pm

Do you belong to a service club or school group?

If you have a school or club group looking for a fun activity to do, and help the Milwaukee River, we will work with you to schedule storm drain stenciling, river cleanups, or other service projects that will help keep your community a Healthy River Community.

FREE Yard or Land Assessment

The Community Rivers Program is offering FREE 1 hour land consultations of any size residential property in any CRP participating communities. If you are interested please contact: Matt Smith | Land Manager | | (262) 375-2715 ext 147

Let's work together

If you have any questions on the Community Rivers Program would like more information, or just want to get involved, please don't hesitate to reach out to Patricia Gerber, Riveredge's Community Rivers Coordinator, at (262)375-2715 or through this contact form! We look forward to connecting with you!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid phone number.
Please enter a message.

The Community Rivers Program is an initiative of...