Rotary Centennial Arboretum
The prime gateway to the Greenway and the region's first Arboretum, has been envisioned by Milwaukee's downtown Rotary Club on donated industrial lands. Rotary Club, in partnership with the River Revitalization Foundation, the Milwaukee Urban Rivers Foundation, and the Urban Ecology Center broke ground and planted the first tree in 2011. The Arboretum will feature 1000 trees native to southeastern Wisconsin, accessible trails, and outdoor learning areas for children. The Arboretum plans to be open in 2013.
Opening Greenway trails in 2013
The branding and signage campaign is underway with a goal of opening part of the 13 mile trail system simultaneously with the Rotary Centennial Arboretum in September of 2013. At MRGC workshops, volunteers learn sustainable trail building principals and then take to the field to build and improve trails. Trail acquisition, building, and improvements will continue to close gaps, avoid sensitive wildlife habitat, and improve sustainability.
Cambridge Woods Nature Preserve
The most biodiverse area in the Greenway will be formally designated as a nature preserve with improved trails, signs, invasive removal and native plantings, closure of volunteer trails, and improved access routes to the river.
The River Revitalization Foundation, has begun work on another former industrial site to develop the southern gateway, featuring native plants, a children's play area, and has recently opened a canoe and kayak launch.
At the northern end in Lincoln Park, the DNR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Milwaukee County, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sanitary District are continuing removal of mud containing PCBs in the Lincoln Park lagoon and channel. The project is expected to be complete in 2012 and is an important step to improving recreation and fish health in the river.
The Greenway is home to a wide diversity of wildlife within this dense urban setting. Remarkably more than 50 species listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern reside or migrate through the Greenway.
The Coalition has retained the services of Great Lakes Ecological Services to carry out a habitat plan for the Greenway. This plan was an identified need in the Greenway Master Plan. This will help guide future restoration projects. The Coalition objectives:
- Conduct an inventory of existing plant and animal communities.
- Identify species that will be the focus of management because of their unique role in the ecosystem.
- Develop goals for vegetation and wildlife habitats.
- Creation and implementation of a framework for long term monitoring and adaptive management of plant and animal communities.
- Increase ecological literacy of the public through educational components.