Greenseams: Milwaukee Flood Management
A Greenseams property. Photo by Nick Bristol
More than one million people live and work in the Milwaukee metro area. As the region grows, with more houses, pavement and concrete packed into its limits, major storms can overflow sewer systems, flooding homes with filthy water. We collaborate with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to run the Greenseams® Program, a pioneering flood management plan. Since 2001, we have acquired nearly 2,500 acres of flood-prone land within greater Milwaukee.
How Does Greenseams Work?
By acquiring lands outright and purchasing conservation easements, Greenseams permanently protects key properties in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, Oak Creek and Root River watersheds, where major suburban growth is expected to occur. Properties are chosen for their proximity to water, their water-absorbing soils, environmental corridor and natural area designations and their connection to public spaces.
So far, more than 500 acres of Greenseams sites that were previously in agriculture have been converted into wetland, prairie and forest habitats through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners in Wildlife, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the North American Conservation Wetlands Act. Once restored to their native environments, these properties not only absorb more rain and snow melt, which slows water flow into the City of Milwaukee, but also act as buffers, filtering out pollutants and increasing water quality.