Kinnickinnic River Watershed

Sixteenth Street partners with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), Milwaukee Riverkeeper and other key community, environmental and municipal agencies to restore the Kinnickinnic (KK) River Watershed. The watershed is the smallest, most urbanized and most densely populated within the Milwaukee River Basin. It drains 25 square miles of urban landscape in the heart of Metropolitan Milwaukee and falls within the borders of six local municipalities (Milwaukee, West Milwaukee, West Allis, Greenfield, Cudahy and St. Francis).

KK River Watershed

Sixteenth Street's Department of Environmental Health facilitates a 40-member watershed advisory committee to identify and integrate restoration opportunities (i.e. habitat restoration, watershed quality improvements, green infrastructure) into a comprehensive watershed-wide plan (The Kinnickinnic River Watershed Updated Implementation Plan) that meets high environmental performance standards and is supported by the broader community. Once the restoration plan is fully implemented, it will reduce the risk of flooding, increase water quality, and provide additional community benefits such as improved park spaces.

The Department is also working to restore habitat along the KK River Trail, ensuring that the investment in the river goes beyond the water’s edge. From installing new bird and bat houses to removing invasive species to planting native trees and shrubs, this work will help clean water before it reaches the river and enhance habitat for Milwaukee’s native and migrating bird, butterfly, bat, insect and mammal populations!

Kinnickinnic River Watershed Green Infrastructure Plan

Kinnickinnic River Corridor Neighborhood Plan

Kinnickinnic River Watershed Flood Management Plan

8 Things You Can Do to Keep the Kinnickinnic River Healthy

  1. Don't Litter! Keep trash out of the river and teach your friends and family to do the same. On very windy days, make sure your garbage can's lid is secure. Pick up trash you see when walking or biking - especially plastic, Styrofoam and plastic bags, which never fully break down!
  2. Pick Up Your Pet's Waste. Pet waste carries bacteria like E. coli, which can cause harmful germs to grow and affect human and animal health. Plus, it's just good neighborly practice!
  3. Fix Your Car's Leaks. Car fluids like oil and antifreeze pollute our waters when it rains. If you know you can't fix that leak soon, put down a bucket or mat that will soak up those harmful pollutants coming from your vehicle. Dispose of the waste properly (likely at the city dump)!
  4. Don't Feed the Geese! Goose droppings contain a lot of phosphorous and nitrogen, which can cause harmful algae to grow and create a stinky, dangerous mess.
  5. Leave the Leaves. Leaves release phosphorous, too, which can lower oxygen levels in water. Mow over leaves and let them sit on your lawn - they'll break down faster and provide valuable nutrients to your grass!
  6. Shovel Early and Shovel Often to prevent ice formation altogether, reducing the need for salt application.
  7. Use Salt Sparingly! Use only a coffee mug-full to cover 20 feet of driveway or 10 sidewalk squares. To avoid salt and other harmful chemicals, you can use sawdust or sand (also sparingly!) instead. Watch this video to understand why this benefits our rivers and lakes.
  8. Reuse salt. Sweep up excess salt and save money, too! What you don't sweep up will just end up in the river, increasing chloride to dangerous levels and causing fish to die.

The KK River Neighbors in Action (KKRNIA) is a grassroots community group that brings neighbors together to tackle and advocate for projects that will improve the quality of life and transform the built and natural environment within the Kinnickinnic River neighborhood.

Meetings: Second Wednesday of every month at 6:00 PM in the Pulaski Park Pavilion
2677 S. 16th Street

Pulaski Park is changing - follow the progress here!

Greenfield Building
Lower Level
1337 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Director of Environmental Health
Jamie Ferschinger



Subscribe to our newsletter!

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

This health center receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Service (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals.

© 2019 Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers

Milwaukee: 414-672-1353 | Waukesha: 262-408-2530