Milwaukee, Wisconsin Framework for Green Infrastructure Plan, Ordinance

The City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has approved the Framework for a Green Infrastructure Plan with goals of supporting climate change adaptation and resilience. According to the Framework and Ordinance which updates Milwaukee's stormwater management regulations, large developments will be required to capture the first 1/2 inch of rainfall using green infrastructure. The plan also increases funding for green infrastructure projects in Milwaukee’s streets, schoolyards, and parking lots. The City expects to publish the final Green Infrastructure Plan based on this Framework by February 2019.

This resource was featured in the October 4, 2018, ASAP Newsletter.

"Once again, Milwaukee shows us all how it’s done! Mayor Barrett recently announced the city’s green infrastructure initiative, which will add green roofs, bioswales, and replace sections of pavement with soil and other earth friendly cover that will make it easier to contend with increased rainfall. With the promise of more green space across this innovative coastal Great Lakes city, it’s likely to become quite the destination of choice!"

An Ordinance (CCFN #180803) revision for stormwater management regulations was also approved, and in effect as of October 2018. The ordinance requires that all large developments and redevelopments of one acre or more to use green infrastructure to capture the first 1/2” of rainfall on the site. Existing law required those projects to develop a stormwater management plan, and the new law requires a green infrastructure plan to be submitted and approved as part of the stormwater management plan. This must include information on the detention volume provided by the proposed green infrastructure through project-specific modeling, a calculating tool identified by the department, or a schedule of green infrastructure detention volume estimates according to type made available by the department.

Also, climate adaptation and the co-benefits of green infrastructure were added to the “Purpose” section of Milwaukee’s stormwater management code as to:

Promote the co-benefits of visible green infrastructure, including reduction of urban heat island effects, benefits to human health, city beautification and protection of coastal areas,” and

“Help the city adapt to climate change and become more resilient to climate threats.”

Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office recently completed a Green Infrastructure Baseline Inventory which serves as the foundation for the City's forthcoming Green Infrastructure Policy Plan. The inventory found that Milwaukee already has green infrastructure with 14 million gallons of stormwater capture capacity, while impervious surfaces are found at 45.5% of city area and 163.4 miles of shorelines.


Publication Date: September 12, 2018

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