Stormwater Information and Resources
What is Green Infrastructure?
- Protect rivers and lakes from water pollution.
- Keep it from becoming someone else’s headache downstream.
- Reduce the risk of basement backups, flooding, and sewer overflow.
Harbor District, Inc. is exploring the possibility of having a “trash wheel” on the Kinnickinnic River to help collect trash and debris before it floats to the Inner Harbor and to Lake Michigan.
The trash wheel, a stationary trash-collecting device, includes a water wheel which runs a conveyor belt. A pair of booms direct trash floating down the river to the conveyor belt, and then trash is collected in a dumpster for removal.
The trash wheel technology was pioneered in Baltimore in 2014 by inventor John Kellett. There, “Mr. Trash Wheel” and “Professor Trash Wheel” have collected over 1.3 million pounds of trash in the past 3 years out of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Mr. Trash Wheel is very active on Twitter and is helping to spread the word about the health of Baltimore’s waterways. We think Milwaukee would be a great place for Mr. Trash Wheel’s cousin to get to work cleaning our urban rivers, too.
To learn more about our inspiration, Mr. Trash Wheel, please visit http://baltimorewaterfront.com/healthy-harbor/water-wheel/.
The Harbor District Habitat Hotels are underwater habitats retrofitted for steel sheet piling. They provide multiple vertical layers of habitat, including underwater plants, hiding places for fish, and food for fish, and mimic the habitat that might be found along more naturalized river shorelines.
The downtown portions of the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic, and Milwaukee Rivers are dominated by steel sheet piling shorelines, making it extremely difficult for plants to grow along the bank. Steel sheet piling provides almost no habitat benefits, but it is used widely in urban areas because it serves other important purposes: protecting buildings and properties from flooding and storms, providing deep channels needed for shipping and boating, and allowing large freighter ships to easily dock. Further, the inner harbor is also dredged to maintain depths of 25+ feet to support shipping and industry in the area. As such, the inner harbor area of Milwaukee is known as an aquatic desert, lacking habitat and opportunities for fish to find food and cover. The Habitat Hotels provide needed “pit stops” for fish as they travel through the inner harbor between Lake Michigan and Milwaukee’s three rivers.