Community

Rivers

Program

river

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 take positive actions towards improving the health and quality of the Milwaukee River for generations to come.

The Need

NEW FOCUS

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.

THE MISSION

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

THE VISION

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:

kayak

Inspire

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 watershed tours, we want to make sure everyone sees and feels the incredible value of being a healthy Milwaukee River community.

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Inform

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.

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Engage

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.

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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, and in the summer of 2020, the Villages of Fredonia and Kewaskum joined the Community Rivers family!

We won't be stopping there, however! The Community Rivers Program will continue to 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 2020 Impact Report.

Upcoming Events

Ready to join the excitement? We are beginning to plan 2021 events for our Healthy Rivers Communities and here is a sneak peek of some of the upcoming programs. The best part? All activities are FREE to CRP residents. Keep checking for updates on events as the seasons change.

Want to stay updated on all the fun? Sign up here for the Community Rivers email list and we'll share upcoming events!

You can also check our Facebook page for more information on upcoming events!

CRP residents are invited to the upcoming programs...

 

All CRP Villages

*Events for all residents are open to those residing in the villages of Grafton, Saukville, Newburg, Kewaskum, and Fredonia.

 

Watershed Bus Tour

Saturday, September 18th from 9:00 - 3:00 PM, Departing from Riveredge Nature Center

Jump on a bus with the Community Rivers Program to see the Milwaukee River Watershed from a new perspective! This exclusive tour experience involves barnstorming sections of the river to visit the Fredonia Wastewater Treatment Facility, the Paulus Dairy Farm, and Bratt Woods Preserve highlighting local actions for the betterment of the Milwaukee River! Lunch will be provided and bus travel space is limited to 13 individuals. We hope you can join us!

Registration form can be found here

 

Village of Newburg

 

Crayfish Catching Craziness

Tuesday, August 3rd from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, Waubedonia Park

Come learn about the crayfish that live in the Milwaukee River! Not only will you see crayfish up close but you'll learn to safely catch and release them! Please wear closed-toed shoes and be prepared to get in the river. Children must be accompanied by an adult. This event is for Newburg & Fredonia residents.

 

Village of Saukville

 

Crayfish Catching Craziness

Thursday, August 12th from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, Tendick Nature Park

Come learn about the crayfish that live in the Milwaukee River! Not only will you see crayfish up close but you'll learn to safely catch and release them! Please wear closed-toed shoes and be prepared to get in the river. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

 

Storm Drain Stenciling

Tuesday, September 28th from 4:30 - 6:30 PM

As the seasons change, have you ever wondered what happens to the leaves after they fall? Join the Community Rivers Program for a storm drain cleanup and stenciling to prevent this ‘leaf litter’ from leaching excess phosphorus and nitrogen into our waterways. Along the way, you will learn more about how this process impacts aquatic critters and plants. Sign up as a family, a group, or an individual; we provide the supplies and you provide the manpower! Children must be over the age of 6 and be accompanied by an adult.

 

Registration form can be found here

 

Village of Grafton

 

Family Fishing Fun

Thursday, July 29th from 1:00 - 3:00 PM, Veterans Memorial Park, Grafton

Spend the afternoon on the banks of the Milwaukee River at Veterans Memorial Park! With a pole in your hand and hopefully a few bites on your line! Learn how to tie a hook on your line, bait your hook, and safely cast your line into the water. With the assistance of our CRP team, we will try to catch and identify each fish before releasing them back into their home the Milwaukee River. Baits and poles will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. Pre-registration is recommended but not required. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Please register through the Grafton Parks and Recreation Summer Activity Guide!

 

Crayfish Catching Craziness

Tuesday, August 10th from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, Lime Kiln Park

Come learn about the crayfish that live in the Milwaukee River! Not only will you see crayfish up close but you'll learn to safely catch and release them! Please wear closed-toed shoes and be prepared to get in the river. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

 

Storm Drain Stenciling

Tuesday, October 5th from 4:30 - 6:30 PM

Meeting outside Grafton Arts Mill

As the seasons change, have you ever wondered what happens to the leaves after they fall? Join the Community Rivers Program for a storm drain cleanup and stenciling to prevent this ‘leaf litter’ from leaching excess phosphorus and nitrogen into our waterways. Along the way, you will learn more about how this process impacts aquatic critters and plants. Sign up as a family, a group, or an individual; we provide the supplies and you provide the manpower! Children must be over the age of 6 and be accompanied by an adult.
Registration Form can be found here OR through the Grafton Parks & Rec Activity Booklet

 

Village of Fredonia

 

Crayfish Catching Craziness

Tuesday August 3rd from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, Waubedonia Park

Come learn about the crayfish that live in the Milwaukee River! Not only will you see crayfish up close but you'll learn to safely catch and release them! Please wear closed-toed shoes and be prepared to get in the river. Children must be accompanied by an adult. This event is for Newburg & Fredonia residents.

 

Village of Kewaskum

 

 

Crayfish Catching Craziness

Thursday, August 5th from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, Lower River Hill Park

Come learn about the crayfish that live in the Milwaukee River! Not only will you see crayfish up close but you'll learn to safely catch and release them! Please wear closed-toed shoes and be prepared to get in the river. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

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 want to 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 all five CRP participating communities- Newburg, Grafton, Saukville, Fredonia, and Kewaskum.

If you are interested please contact: Matt Smith | Land Manager | msmith@riveredge.us | (262) 375-2715 ext 147

Let's connect!

If you have any questions regarding the Community Rivers Program, would like more information, or want to get involved, please let us know! You can use this contact form to get in touch or you can reach out to Patricia Gerber, Riveredge's Community Rivers Coordinator, at (262)375-2715. We look forward to connecting with you!

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The Community Rivers Program is an initiative of...