Managing rain where it falls to revitalize Milwaukee communities

Clean Wisconsin has been partnering with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) since 2014 on a number of initiatives to scale-up green infrastructure in the Milwaukee region through education, outreach, policy and on-the-ground installation of green infrastructure practices including rain barrels and rain gardens.

rain garden. Noun. A depressed area in the landscape that collects rain water from a roof, driveway or street and allows it to soak into the ground. Planted with grasses and flowering perennials, rain gardens can be a cost effective and beautiful way to reduce runoff from your property. Rain gardens can also help filter out pollutants in runoff and provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds and other wildlife.

Source: EPA

Our partners include:

  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Fresh Coast Intern Team

  • 30th Street Industrial Corridor Corporation

  • Northwest Side Community Development Corporation

  • Sherman Park Community Association

  • Washington Park Partners

  • Century City Triangle Neighborhood Association

  • Friends of Lincoln Park

  • Marek Landscaping, LLC

What are the benefits of rain capture technology?


Rain gardens and rain barrels help to reduce stormwater pollution, conserve water, improve water and air quality, and add pollinator habitat.

For the 30th Street Corridor, which has experienced significant flooding in the past, rain barrels and rain gardens help to manage stormwater where it falls to avoid pollution washing into our local waterways and overburdening the combined sewer system during heavy storms. They are an important complement to larger flood risk mitigation efforts, like stormwater detention basins, that keep rain water out of the streets and out of people’s basements.


Rain gardens and rain barrels provide community engagement and beautify the landscape.

Rain capture installations are ways for community members to come together for the common good, since everyone benefits from rain gardens and rain barrels. The season-long blooms from native plants in rain gardens bring beauty to residents’ yards, along with a host of butterflies, bees and birds that seek out these plants. These installations are a common thread in the community that enables interaction among neighbors and provides beauty to the neighborhood.


Rain gardens and rain barrels help property values and provide job training opportunities.

Rain capture technologies, including rain gardens and rain barrels, can help to keep water out of people’s basements and from backing up in the streets. This provides value to people’s homes and to property values in the area, which is critical to the 30th Street Corridor, which has historically experienced substantial flooding. Rain capture technologies also needs trained professionals who know how to install and maintain them. This opens the door to new training opportunities for people in the 30th Street Corridor, which has seen high unemployment for many years.

Since 2014, we’ve helped to install

Rain Barrels

Rain Gardens


Neighborhoods in Milwaukee

These sites help to capture over

gallons of stormwater per storm