88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Today's stream is sponsored by Maxie's

Nonprofit beautifying Milwaukee's riverbanks

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  • The Milwaukee River is lined with miles of green space and trails, some maintained by the RRF.
  • Due to recent heavy rains, sediment naturally lingers in the river. But RRF Executive Director Kimberly A. Gleffe says the water quality has markedly improved over the last 20 years despite its murky appearance.
  • Youth from the City of Milwaukee's Earn and Learn program build a greenhouse along the riverbank.

No disrespect to the Riverwalk in Downtown Milwaukee, but if you have walked along it, you have only seen a tiny portion of the Milwaukee River. 

Winding through Milwaukee's neighborhoods, the river is flanked with miles and miles of public green space and trails.

And one nonprofit organization is working to make sure it stays protected for years to come.

The River Revitalization Foundation has been caring for Milwaukee's three rivers for the last 20 years, and since its inception, it has naturalized dozens of acres along the riverbanks.

Over the last two decades, RRF has worked to increase public access to the river, to preserve the green space surrounding it, and to protect the habitat of wildlife inhabiting the river valley.  

It has spearheaded projects like building trails for public use, removing invasive species, and excavating unsightly concrete, according to Land Manager Tanya Bueter.

And for the last eight years, the nonprofit has partnered with the City of Milwaukee’s Earn and Learn program, giving young workers a chance to simultaneously gain employment experience and an appreciation for the river valley as important natural resource.

With a staff of only six employees, the RRF relies heavily on volunteer workers, Bueter said.  People can get involved in a variety of capacities, from helping to build trails, to digging up buckthorn and garlic mustard, to office work and data entry.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit RRF's official website.