“Green infrastructure makes sense for the Milwaukee region,” says Kevin Shafer



Note to Reader:

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has created a systematic plan to implement widespread green infrastructure. As a regional agency, the District is uniquely positioned to lead green infrastructure planning for the Milwaukee region and has funding to undertake the work. Technical analyses for the region’s impervious surfaces, costs/benefits, and recommendations have all been completed.

In July 2013, the District’s Commission approved a Regional Green Infrastructure Plan. To celebrate the moment, the Milwaukee -Wisconsin Journal Sentinel published an article by Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Extracts are posted below.



Reducing the Impact of Stormwater

“As one of the true believers and maybe the biggest proponent of green infrastructure in this region, let me be the first to tell you, it will not solve all of this area’s water pollution problems,” wrote Kevin Shafer.

“But widespread green infrastructure will be a huge step forward toward our goals of zero basement backups and sewer overflows, fewer beach closings, reduced energy costs, reduced carbon emissions and safer drinking water.”


Green Infrastructure Makes Sense

“One of the reasons green infrastructure makes so much sense for the Milwaukee region is because we have already made a significant investment in grey infrastructure, namely the Deep Tunnel,” added Kevin Shafer.

“The Deep Tunnel has proven to be a successful first step toward achieving our goal of clean water, but, just like green infrastructure, it’s only part of the solution.”

“Green infrastructure mimics Mother Nature by storing and infiltrating stormwater on the land where the rain falls, making it a resource rather than a nuisance.”


Capture the First Half-Inch

“MMSD’s Regional Green Infrastructure Plan calls for us to capture the first half-inch of rainfall on our region, keeping it out of the pipes and the Deep Tunnel.”

“One of the most important findings of the Regional Green Infrastructure Plan is that we can do a lot to reduce stormwater runoff by improving the infiltration of rainwater on our lawns.


Implementing the Green Infrastructure Plan

“Implementing the Regional Green Infrastructure Plan will be a monumental undertaking over the coming decades, but the beauty of green infrastructure is that it complements what already exists, builds from the success of our existing infrastructure, naturalizes and beautifies our urban fabric, and can be built in our front and backyards alike,” concluded Kevin Shaffer.


To Learn  More:

To read the complete article by Kevin Shafer, click on Green Infrastructure Plan Will Help the Region

To download a copy of the Regional Green Infrastructure Plan, click here (PDF / 34MB).


Downtown Milwaukee (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)