Treasures of Oz

Celebrating the Natural Gems of Ozaukee County

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Reforestation and Wetland Restoration Program

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) launched its biggest initiative yet. Restoring 4,000 acres of wetlands and planting 6,000,000 trees in SE Wisconsin. All in the next ten years! The Mequon Nature Preserve is the first project area they are focusing on. On October 4th, Mequon Nature kicked off this project by hosting the ceremonial first tree planting. It was a big turnout!

6,000,000 trees planted sign

Program Overview

Our communities are the building blocks for everything we do in southeastern Wisconsin. Our rural and urban spaces are connected by the people, the environment, and the economies driving our world forward. Climate change, social equity, funding for critical infrastructure, and jobs are all connected pieces of an increasingly challenging puzzle. One of the solutions, however, can be less challenging and is nature-based.

Nature-based solutions such as large-scale reforestation and wetland restoration have the potential to capture enormous amounts of carbon while also providing additional benefits. These nature-based solutions at the local, regional, state, national, and international scales are being examined to address complex environmental and social risks cost-effectively.

The Reforestation & Wetland Restoration Program uses large-scale Natural Flood Management (NFM) strategies that work to mimic the natural water cycle. This program uses a combination of planting six million trees and 4,000 acres of restoring or enhancing wetlands in the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds to reestablish balance within the water cycle that has been lost with current land use, which will continue to be disturbed by climate change.

Program Goals
Develop and implement a 10-year Reforestation and Wetland Restoration Plan to:

Plant 6 million trees
Restore 4,000 acres of wetlands
Capture 350 million gallons of stormwater with trees
Store up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater in every acre of wetland

Program Benefits
Reduce downstream flood potential
Improve water and air quality
Increase carbon sink potential
Restore habitat
Create more resilient, sustainable watersheds