Great Lakes cities swallow streams


Did you know that 8% of Milwaukee is considered a "river-less" urban stream desert due to a legacy of burying our streams under the city?! There are some big challenges as well as opportunities to "daylighting" these streams to better address water quantity and water quality. Some quotes from our Riverkeeper!

By Kevin Duffy

The Great Lakes may boast a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water, but the region is also home to the largest collection of urban stream deserts.

These riverless areas favor concrete connections over urban parkways. They submerge surface streams, sometimes swallowing entire river systems.

“Urban rivers have value, and when cities start to systematically remove them, they remove viable ecosystem services, like flood control,” said Jacob Napieralski, an associate professor of geology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Detroit alone has lost 86 percent of its surface streams since 1905, according to a study Napieralski recently submitted to the Journal of Maps. That’s roughly 180 miles of stream. Other Michigan cities, including Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, have seen similar declines, with up to 60 percent stream loss.

Read the full article on the Great Lakes Echo at the link below:

Our mission is to protect, improve and advocate for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat, and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds. We envision a future in which people from all walks of life can enjoy the healthy waterways of the Milwaukee River Basin. Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition ensuring clean water and strong communities. We are working to achieve swimmable, fishable rivers for future generations throughout the Milwaukee Rive Basin.