Restoring the Great Lakes: River Revitalization Foundation’s Wheelhouse Property

This post is the second in a series that details the innovative Wisconsin conservation projects that are having a positive impact on Great Lakes water quality and that will be featured on our August 10th Great Lakes Restoration Tour.  (The first post can be read here.) The tour is open to the public.  For full event details and to register please visit our website

In late 2009, after eight years of negotiation, the River Revitalization Foundation (RRF), Milwaukee’s urban rivers land trust, purchased the 2.8 acre Wheelhouse property – a developed site along the Milwaukee River on the east side of the city that included the abandoned, former Wheelhouse restaurant.  Since then, the restaurant has been torn down and RRF has been working hard to restore the once blighted urban riverfront to preserved green space and increase shoreline stabilization and floodplain protection.  The restoration of this site will ultimately contribute to a decrease in urban runoff into the Milwaukee River, only a mile from where it flows into Lake Michigan.

In addition to the benefits of shoreline restoration, the site’s 642 feet of River frontage links to the Milwaukee River Greenway and offers public open space and recreational opportunities.  The site is connected to the Beerline Trail (also a project of RRF), a segment of Milwaukee County Parks’ Oak Leaf Trail System located on an abandoned railroad line formerly known as the “Beerline,” and provides bike commuters with access to downtown.  The site also provides public access to the River for low-impact recreational activities like fishing and canoeing with the recent construction of the Kiwanis Boat Landing.

RRF received a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stewardship grant award in the amount of $700,000 for the acquisition. An additional $400,000 easement purchase through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Greenseams program is a partial match to the DNR grant.

Please make plans to join us for the Great Lakes Restoration Tour on August 10th and visit this, and other significant Milwaukee-area sites, that are enhancing Great Lakes restoration efforts.