Green Infrastructure Pilot Project Sets the Bar for Development within Milwaukee Watershed

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) hired ECT in 2018 to assist with a wide variety of green infrastructure projects, including a redesign of their 5.5-acre headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The headquarters’ conventional landscape featured turf grass and shade trees. In an effort to make their campus more sustainable, ECT studied the costs and benefits of converting this conventional landscape into a diverse, native prairie. After confirming the multiple benefits of such a transition, ECT prepared planting plans for the restoration. The re-planting was completed in 2021.

The MMSD’s campus headquarters included a created wetland that provides detention for a portion of the site. ECT evaluated the health of the vegetation in the basin and determined that it could be improved by removing invasive weeds and replanting with native plants. It was also determined that the basin could be expanded and modified to intercept additional runoff from impervious surfaces. The relatively low-cost expansion of the basin will improve its performance by 150 percent.

The improvements at the MMSD’s headquarters serve as an important demonstration of successful green infrastructure applications.

ECT previously partnered with the MMSD to create a plant selection tool for green infrastructure designs tailored to Wisconsin’s climate. Accessible from MMSD’s website, this interactive guide enables users to select the style of planting they desire, either naturalized or ornamental, and then select options from a series of conditions that narrow down a master plant list. Demonstration rain gardens were added to the Headquarters site to showcase the application of plants from the selection tool.

Client / Owner
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Project Timeline
2018 – Ongoing
  • Transformed 5.5 acres of conventional landscape into native prairie
  • Expanded modified basin improving runoff retention by 150%

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