Terry Witkowski
Press Release

City storm water efforts making an impact

News event Wednesday to tout newly constructed bioswales

By - Oct 20th, 2015 11:12 am

A concerted effort by the City of Milwaukee to reduce storm water runoff using bioswales is helping to transform some of the city’s busiest intersections, and Alderman Terry L. Witkowski will discuss the positive impact the ‘green’ structures are having during a news event tomorrow (Wednesday, October 21).

The event will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday at 100 W. Grange Ave., and Alderman Witkowski will be joined by City Engineer Jeff Polenske and Bryan Simon, chair of the Green Corridor. Media coverage is invited.

Alderman Witkowski said his 13th Aldermanic District – which includes the Green Corridor – features more bioswales than any other city area or aldermanic district. He said highway and bridge work winding down along S. Howell Ave. and W. Layton Ave. includes the construction of additional bioswales (five along Howell and five along Layton), and it is important for the public to know how they work and why they are needed.

“Bioswales provide flood control and reduce storm water runoff, but they also provide a natural means of water purification,” Alderman Witkowski said.

Alderman Witkowski noted that:

  • Bioswales capture dirty water from roads and parking lots, infiltrating runoff into the ground and cleaning it naturally.
  • Bioswales are planted with vegetation that helps clean polluted water from toxins like pesticides, silt, and nutrients.
  • Bioswale plants help to beautify urban landscapes.
  • Bioswales are particularly effective in flood control.
  • Bioswales’ function of organic material interception results in them becoming carbon sinks, thus contributing to the reduction of atmospheric carbon.
  • Bioswales intercept the flow of pollutants to fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Bioswales can provide habitat for some wildlife species, especially birds.
  • Bioswales “are vegetated with plants that can withstand both heavy watering and drought”

In 2008, the 13th District stretch of S. 6th St. from W. Howard to W. College was officially designated as the city’s first “Green Corridor.” The designation recognizes the coordinated efforts and concentrated energy taking place on this stretch of street to showcase a range of green technology and innovation. The activities focused on S. 6th St. demonstrate successful collaboration, sustainable development and community involvement.

The corridor features a community-organized and community-operated garden and farmers market, a forum for neighborhood sustainability in the Energy Exchange, multiple green infrastructure projects to reduce storm water runoff, use of solar energy to help power the community garden and farmers market, enhanced landscaping and beautification, active and engaged neighborhood and business associations and a commitment from stakeholders – public and private – to advance ‘green’ works. The street also serves as a highly visible transportation corridor that connects the airport and Amtrak station to downtown Milwaukee and the Port of Milwaukee.

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