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

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:

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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 2019 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.

 
Lecture Series
Our 2021 Winter Lecture Series is back! Come join us virtually from the comfort of your house while you learn about various topics regarding water quality and land management! 
PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED! A Zoom link will be emailed out to all registered participants.
 
Attracting Wildlife to Your Own Backyard
Thursday, January 28th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 
Join Mary Holleback, from Riveredge Nature Center, as you discover who makes the thrills, shrieks, flutters, and hoots outside your window. Learn how to identify the birds and animals that frequent your yard with this avian observation activity. See how easy it is to attract our feathered and furry friends to your patio or yard so that you'll never have to leave the comfort of your easy chair.
 
Registration can be found here: Sign-up Form
 
 
 
Making the Grade: Milwaukee River Basin Report Card
Wednesday, February 24th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 
Interested in learning more about the current health of the Milwaukee River Watershed? Join Cheryl Nenn, of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, as she presents the results of the 2019 Milwaukee River Basin Report Card.
 
Registration can be found here: Sign-up Form
 
 
 
The Milwaukee River Basin and it's Invasive Plant Species
Friday, March 26th from 6:00 - 7 :00 PM
 
Join a Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Plants Consortium (SEWISC) volunteer to learn how to identify common invasive plants within the Milwaukee River Basin and how to utilize management techniques to control them!
 
Registration can be found here: Sign-up Form
 
 
 
Milwaukee River Sturgeon Rehabilitation Program
Tuesday, March 30th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 
Lake Sturgeon were once prevalent in the Milwaukee River system, however, habitat loss due to dam construction and overfishing have resulted in Lake Sturgeon being extirpated from the Milwaukee River. A combination of habitat improvements and a stocking program have made it possible for the re-introduction of Lake Sturgeon into this system. Join Aaron Schiller, a Fisheries Biologist with the DNR, as you hear the complete history of the stocking program, an update on the stocked fish, and the presentation will be finished with a brief overview of the future work to help recover the sturgeon population in the Milwaukee River. 
 
Registration can be found here: Sign-up Form
 
 
 
Native Plants, Shoreline Restoration, Clean Waters: How to create beautiful landscapes and conserve our watersheds
Thursday, April 15th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 
We’ll explore how our shorelines act as a critical component in healthy watersheds, and the impact we can have through careful planning and plant selection. Athena Salzer and Amy Jo Dusicsk of Two Ferns Native Nursery in Madison, WI have over 20 years of experience in ecological restoration and native landscaping. We’ll guide you through how to enhance your shoreline from site planning to install with design tips and plant suggestions along the way.
 
Registration can be found here: Sign-up Form
 
 

Village of Grafton

Winter Senses Hike - Lime Kiln Park, Grafton

Sunday, February 21st, 1:00 - 2:30 PM

Join a Riveredge Educator on a wintery afternoon hike at Lime Kiln Park! This is a family friendly hike where we will look for patterns in the snow, listen to the winter "creak sounds", search for animal tracks, and even play a game or two! Children must be accompanied by an adult and pre-registration is required. Depending on the weather and snow cover, this hike may include strapping on snowshoes or venturing out on your own feet, but either way we will practice our hiking and nature identification skills while on the trails!

Cost: FREE, but open to Grafton Residents only through the Community Rivers Program.

Registration is available through the Grafton Parks and Rec Department by clicking here.

 

Village of Fredonia

Winter Senses Hike - Waubedonia Park

Saturday, March 27th, 10:00 - 11:30 AM

Join a Riveredge Educator on a wintry morning hike at Waubedonia Park! This is a family friendly hike where we will look for patterns in the snow, listen to the winter "creak sounds", search for animal tracks, and even play a game or two! Depending on the weather and snow cover, this hike may include strapping on snowshoes or venturing out on your own feet, but either way we will practice our hiking and nature identification skills while on the trails!

Cost: FREE, but open to Fredonia Residents only through the Community Rivers Program.

Space is limited to 15 participants. Children must be accompanied by an adult and pre-registration is required. Masks are encouraged to be worn.

Registration can be found here: Google Sign-up

 

Village of Kewaskum

Winter Senses Hike - River Hill Park

Saturday, March 6th, 10:00 - 11:30 AM

Join a Riveredge Educator on a wintry morning hike at River Hill Park! This is a family friendly hike where we will look for patterns in the snow, listen to the winter "creak sounds", search for animal tracks, and even play a game or two! Depending on the weather and snow cover, this hike may include strapping on snowshoes or venturing out on your own feet, but either way we will practice our hiking and nature identification skills while on the trails!

Cost: FREE, but open to Kewaskum Residents only through the Community Rivers Program.

Space is limited to 15 participants. Children must be accompanied by an adult and pre-registration is required. Masks are encouraged to be worn.

Registration can be found here: Google Sign-up

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...