Water Quality

Our personal connections with water are formed through our experiences, such as swimming, boating, fishing, shoreline walking and sitting by the edge of the water, soaking our feet.  When people are connected to water in these ways, they come to care for them and often become better stewards. 


Improving water quality in Milwaukee's rivers and Lake Michigan, therefore, is connected to naturalizing our city's waterways and better enabling community members to appreciate and value them.  Natural rivers and lake shores are also the most efficient way to ensure the best water quality and provide buffers from future environmental and weather risk, more so than man-made alterations.



  • All three rivers and Lake Michigan are clean, fishable and swimmable.

  • All three rivers and their greenways are naturalized.

  • Increase the number of swimmable days in the rivers and Lake Michigan by 80%.



A collaborative tree planting campaign to expand, replace and more equitably distribute the urban tree canopy in Milwaukee.


This campaign grew out of the need to restore trees lost to emerald ash borer, but the effects of a healthy, thriving tree canopy will have far-reaching benefits, including improved air and water quality as well as a higher quality of life for all residents. 


 The combination of a decimated tree canopy over the last two decades due to disease paired with inequitable distribution of those trees has left our most marginalized and under-served neighborhoods with the least amount of trees. As a result, these communities have seen some of the worst flooding and urban heat islands in the city. Still, the lack of canopy affects all residents. With the increased rain events like we're seeing this year, the need for healthy thriving trees is more important than ever. 

By collaborating with community partners from varying sectors (government, local business, non-profit), we hope to find the best way possible to address our city's tree planting needs so every part of the city shares in the decision-making, stewardship, and benefits of a flourishing urban tree canopy.

For more information on our Water Quality initiative, please contact our Water City Program Coordinator, Joe Fitzgerald, at jfitzgerald(at)milwaukeewatercommons.org or (414)763-6199.

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Milwaukee Water Commons

2027 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.

Milwaukee, WI 53205



@2019 Milwaukee Water Commons