Land cover in this watershed is mostly urban (78%), with grasslands (16%) and forests (4%) creating open spaces. Remaining wetlands comprise only 0.3 percent of the land area. Portions of the cities of Milwaukee, Cudahy, West Milwaukee, West Allis and South Milwaukee, as well as the entire City of St. Francis are the major municipal areas represented within the Kinnickinnic River Watershed.
Most of the streams within this watershed have been extensively modified through straightening, enclosure or concrete lining. This watershed drains the General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA) lands, which has a history of discharging airplane deicing fluid (glycol), associated metals and other contaminants through snowmelt and rainwater to a tributary to the Kinnickinnic River (Wilson Park Creek). The GMIA has implemented management measures over the last few years to reduce the amount of glycol reaching the storm sewers and the tributary by draining over 2000 acres of airport lands. A monitoring effort with the U.S. Geological Survey is currently underway to document the changes in water quality in Wilson Park Creek as a result of glycol management practices in place at the airport.