Milwaukee Riverkeeper, acting as part of the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition, has been working to create the Milwaukee River Greenway between North Avenue and Silver Spring Drive. The Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition seeks to create a special zoning district that will protect the Milwaukee River Corridor, keeping the wild character of the area intact.


Milwaukee Riverkeeper and our partners, the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition, are excited that the Milwaukee Common Council passed the Milwaukee River Greenway Overlay District legislation this summer, which will protect over 8 miles of river, and over 847 acres of floodplain and riverfront habitat from the former North Avenue Dam to Silver Spring Road in Milwaukee. This legislation creates a special zoning overlay district, which will protect the primary environmental corridor or sensitive lands along the river from future development and vegetation removal activities.
The regulations also establish a setback from the top of the river bluffs, establish height guidelines for buildings to protect scenic beauty, protect the vegetated areas along the river, and create enhanced stormwater guidelines for development projects within the overlay zone. We are still working on finalizing the forestry regulations and permitting process, but expect all legislation to be in place by the end of the summer. We are also excited to announce the completion of the Milwaukee River Greenway Master Plan.

The Master Plan sets in place a structure for action to advance improvements to the river corridor within the same general boundaries of the Overlay Zone, although also including portions of Shorewood and Glendale. The Master Plan focuses on protecting the value of this area as a recreational resource and ecological gem, but also sets forth actions for improving the corridor including: river access and trail improvements, remediation of contamination, habitat restoration and the creation of critical habitat protection areas, and setting forth a governance structure that will help prioritize, fundraise, and implement future work.

The Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition (formerly known as the Milwaukee River Work Group) will lead the implementation of the Milwaukee River Greenway Master Plan.

Current coalition members include: the Urban Ecology Center, the River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium, Milwaukee County, and the Village of Shorewood. Supporting organizations could include other agencies, non-profits, and businesses that support the goals of the plan.

Mission: To implement a community based master plan for the Milwaukee River that provides recommendations for preservation, revitalization, management, and improved public access and recreation.

The Goals of Our Coalition:

1. Permanently protect existing natural areas along the Milwaukee River Primary Environmental Corridor.
2. Protect the “viewshed” of the Greenway Corridor so that persons enjoying the river or engaging in activities will have a natural experience.
3. Establish building setbacks and design guidelines for new multi-lot construction within a buffer zone.
4. Establish enhanced guidelines to control erosion and runoff entering the river.
5. Preserve and enhance native vegetation, fisheries and wildlife habitat along the river corridor.
6. Encourage land uses and activities that maintain a natural greenway corridor without altering present uses.
7. Create a Milwaukee River Central Park Trust Fund to finance land and water stewardship into the future

For More Information about the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition please visit their website here.

To view documents from the master plan, click on the PDF’s below.

To find out more about the Milwaukee Central Park (aka Greenway), visit the Milwaukee River Work Group online.