Regional Planning News


   Land use 






         Parks & Open Spaces 



    A publication of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission                      Volume 1, Issue 2, October 2014 
Menomonee River Floodplain Mapping
Washington County Transit Plan
About Us
Environmental Corridors
Multi-year Flood Mapping
Kenosha County Flood Mitigation
Pewaukee River Watershed Plan

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Menomonee River
Floodplain Revised
SEWRPC is continuing its work with local communities and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) to revise mapping of 8.4 miles of the Menomonee River floodplain from North Avenue in the City of Wauwatosa to the Milwaukee Harbor estuary. In 2012, the Commission staff created a single hydraulic model for that reach of the River that incorporated numerous flood mitigation projects representing over a decade of progress in flood mitigation.
The model will greatly assist the Cities of Wauwatosa and Milwaukee in administering floodplain zoning and MMSD in completing additional flood mitigation projects. Efforts are also under way to extend the model along the river to its headwater in the Village of Germantown. 
Washington County
Develops Transit Plan 


The Commission is nearing completion of a short-range Transit Development Plan for Washington County. The plan will include recommendations for transit service and capital improvements for the County transit system for the years 2015-2019.


An Advisory Committee made up of representatives in Washington County is overseeing development of the plan. During 2013, the first year of work on the plan, SEWRPC and the Advisory Committee concentrated on inventorying existing transit services, developing the objectives and standards for system operation, evaluating the existing system services, and developing an initial set of alternative plans. The alternatives were reviewed by the public earlier this year.


The Commission staff and Advisory Committee have finalized their recommendations for transit in the County over the next five years. More information can be found at


To submit comments and/or sign up for information about the planning process, visit


The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission is the official advisory areawide planning agency for land use and infrastructure for Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha Counties. More information can be found here.
Please contact us at  


395 Attend Fall VISION 2050 Workshops
The third series of Visioning Workshops was 
launched in Waukesha County on September 8.

VISION 2050, the land use and transportation visioning and planning effort for our Region, continued with a third series of seven public Visioning Workshops in September. At the public workshops, a total of 395 participants from the seven counties in our Region were guided through the exploration of five different sketch-level land use and transportation scenarios. 

The scenarios represent five alternative paths to the year 2050 for the Region's land development pattern and transportation system. Over 1,300 residents have attended all three series of public and community partner workshops in the Region since fall 2013; people are also participating online and through surveys.


Among the total participants are over 600 people who attended VISION 2050 public workshops with these community partners: the Milwaukee Urban League, Urban League of Racine and Kenosha, Hmong American Friendship Association, IndependenceFirst, Ethnically Diverse Business Coalition, Southside Organizing Committee, Urban Economic Development Association, and Common Ground.


Feedback from all of the workshops, advisory and individual meetings, online forms and correspondence, and surveys will be considered in the development and evaluation of more detailed alternative land use and transportation plans, and, ultimately, the development of a final regional land use and transportation plan. The scenarios and additional information can be found at Follow us on Twitter at @Vision2050SEWis.


Environmental Corridor Inventory Updated

The map above can be found online


The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) has been a pioneer nationally in identifying and advocating for the protection of environmental corridors. SEWRPC mapping of these corridors allows for informed planning and policy decisions to be made regarding natural resources. Under this program, SEWRPC identifies primary environmental corridors, secondary environmental corridors, and isolated natural resource areas in the seven-county Southeastern Wisconsin Region. Together, these corridors and isolated natural resource areas encompass the best remaining elements of the Region's natural resources.


Commission environmental corridor inventories and maps have been available since 1966, with ever-greater refinement achieved over the years. In 2013 the Commission completed updating the environmental corridor inventory to 2010.


The 2010 inventory indicates that environmental corridors and isolated natural resource areas increased by 6.7 percent from 2000 to 2010--from 600 to 640 square miles. As a result, lands within environmental corridors comprised 24 percent of the Region in 2010, compared to 22 percent in 2000.


The key elements in environmental corridors and isolated natural resource areas are lakes, streams, and associated shorelands and floodlands; wetlands; woodlands; wildlife habitat areas; areas of rugged terrain and high-relief topography; wet, poorly drained, and organic soils; and remnant prairies. Also mapped are natural resource-related features such as park sites, sites of historic and archaeological value, areas possessing scenic vistas or viewpoints, and areas of scientific value.


The SEWRPC regional land use plan recommends that primary environmental corridor areas be preserved in essentially natural open use. The regional plan further recommends that county and local governments consider in their local planning the preservation of secondary environmental corridors and isolated natural resource areas in natural open use. More information can be found at


Multi-year Flood Mapping Projects Continue
  Woods Creek 1-percent-annual-probability (100- 
  year) floodplain. Miller Park is visible at upper right.

SEWRPC is currently engaged in two multi-year projects related to floodplain mapping in the Region. The mapping will provide an improved basis for Federal flood insurance purposes and for local floodplain zoning.


The Phase 1 comprehensive floodplain mapping program is nearing completion for floodplain areas within the Milwaukee River, Menomonee River, Kinnickinnic River, and Oak Creek watersheds. The purpose of the project is to accurately delineate digital geo-referenced floodplain boundaries for all large-scale maps prepared under the Milwaukee County Automated Mapping and Land Information System (MCAMLIS).


The effort included both updated hydrologic modeling to develop flows and hydraulic analyses to produce the new floodplain delineation. The 10-, 2-, 1-, and 0.2-percent-annual-probability floodplains were developed for the watersheds of interest within Milwaukee County. Phase 2 of the program is currently under way to perform the same analyses for floodplain areas within the Root River watershed. More information can be found at


Kenosha County Offers Fox River
Flood Mitigation Program

Severe flooding along the Fox River in the Town of Wheatland. Photo by Tina Chitwood, May 2004.

Kenosha County, with administrative assistance from the Kenosha County Housing Authority and staff support from SEWRPC, offers a program intended to reduce flood damage and the potential for injury to affected persons by acquiring and demolishing residential structures and relocating displaced residents from the 1-percent-annual-probability (100-year) floodplain of the Fox River in Kenosha County. The program area is located along the Fox River from STH 50 on the north to CTH F on the south within the Towns of Salem and Wheatland and the Village of Silver Lake.


The purpose of the program is to reduce the threat to the health and safety of area residents and rescue workers resulting from the frequent and severe flooding of the Fox River. Secondary goals of the program are to remove blighted and hazardous dwellings from the flood hazard area and to reduce repetitive claims on homeowner flood insurance policies.


The program began in 1993 with grants from the State of Wisconsin and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The County is acquiring properties on a voluntary basis and only works with individuals who are interested in selling. To date, it has secured $11 million that has been used to purchase and demolish 103 homes. There are approximately 72 homes remaining in the program area. People interested in more information are encouraged to call the Housing Authority at the Kenosha County Center at (262) 857-1843.


Pewaukee River Watershed Plan Completed
Pewaukee River Partnership members working to improve recreational access on the Pewaukee River at the Riverside Drive carry-in boat launch. Photo by Charlie Shong.

The recently completed watershed protection plan for the Pewaukee River provides a framework to enable communities in the area to continue to work together to protect and improve the land and water resources of the Pewaukee River watershed and to access and enjoy these resources. 

The plan forms a complement to the management actions
that have been implemented for the land and water resources throughout the watershed, and represents a commitment by the Pewaukee River Partnership, municipalities, and citizens to sound environmental planning. This plan helped to identify emerging threats and issues of concern as well as opportunities and alternatives to implement actions to address those issues.


The plan was financed in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources River Planning Grant Program and Waukesha County. The Pewaukee River Watershed Advisory Group-including representatives from Waukesha County and municipal governments within the watershed, Pewaukee River Partnership, the Lake Pewaukee Sanitary District, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and others representing a broad range of interests within the watershed-oversaw the planning process. More information can be found at pewaukeeplan.