Milwaukee’s Second Shoreline
The Milwaukee River Greenway is a six mile section of the Milwaukee River that has shaped much of Milwaukee’s development. Home to Native American settlements followed by European settlers, the river has supported diverse communities with sustenance, industrial power, and recreation. Unfortunately, by the 20th century, industrialization had taken its toll and the Milwaukee River, like so many urban rivers in North America, had become a trash river, unsuitable for most any kind of recreation or enjoyment.
The removal of the North Ave Dam in 1997 sparked a turnaround in the river’s fortunes as urban dwellers and wildlife returned to this resilient shoreline in the most densely populated municipality in the state. Water quality improved and fish diversity jumped six fold. The river became a destination for anglers from around the Midwest and a flyway and home for over 200 species of birds, numerous mammals, amphibians, reptiles and unique flora, including several threatened species.