In 2001, The Conservation Fund and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) launched a pioneering flood management program, GreenseamsSM. Greenseams purchases land and conservation easements from willing landowners 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.
Our AccomplishmentsSince the program’s inception, we have protected 100 properties preserving 3,142 acres of flood-prone land within greater Milwaukee. This area includes 28 communities and 1.1 million people.
The latest project, the program’s 100th, was completed in partnership with Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT), which purchased a 155-acre property in the City of Mequon for $1.2 million. Greenseams provided $200,000 toward a conservation easement on more than 85 acres, protecting important hydric soils, wetlands, surface drainage and wooded natural areas. OWLT also received a $600,000 grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, Wisconsin’s land conservation account. The remaining funds came from several sources, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, private donors and the Milwaukee Audubon Society.
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 is also helping restore many of the Greenseams properties to their native wetland, prairie and forest habitats. By the end of 2013, 100,000 trees had been planted on 500 acres that were previously agricultural lands. Once fully restored, these properties will absorb more rain and snow melt, which slows water flow into the City of Milwaukee, and will also act as buffers, filtering out pollutants and increasing water quality.