Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa is scheduled to have 4,400 linear feet of concrete removed in an attempt to further the restoration of the natural habitat surrounding the creek. The proposed project will focus on providing fish passage and aquatic habitat, restoring wetlands, and the establishment of native plant communities.
Starting at the confluence where the creek flows into the Menomonee River, workers are slated to begin their work in the next month. The project is being executed through an inter-agency agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with funding provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The USACE Detroit District awarded the $10.95 million contract to Michels Corporation of Montgomery, Illinois, which will execute the plan. Currently Michels is arranging subcontracts and ensuring DNR and EPA standards are being met. They plan to use a system of pipes to re-route the creek water as a way to access the concrete.
“This has been the culmination of a great partnership between USACE, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and the EPA,” said Paul Powell, USACE Project Manager. “This project is the culmination of years of study and design in a narrow and hydraulically challenging concrete-lined channel.”
Over the past decade or so MMSD has assisted in removing concrete from the riverbeds in the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Concrete was originally placed in area rivers in an attempt to abate flooding of local residents' basements.
“MMSD has a long-standing relationship with USACE, participating in numerous feasibility studies and now a second ecosystem restoration construction project," MMSD Executive Director Kevin Shafer said. "The Underwood Creek is an important restoration project that will increase the habitat values while maintaining flood flows along the creek. MMSD looks forward to partnering with the Corps on future projects to restore habitats and ecosystems in a similar manner.”