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Adopt-A-River Program launches for Earth Day 2017

Community partners, businesses, and school groups have commited to cleaning up the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers.

This Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, with the support of MMSD, will launch an Adopt-A-River Program. The program allows individuals, companies, organizations, and community groups to adopt sections of waterways throughout the Milwaukee River Basin by committing to cleaning up those sections for a minimum of two times per year.

“MMSD is excited that the Adopt-A-River Program gives citizens the opportunity to care for our rivers in ways that can transform their understanding and commitment to protecting local waterways and Lake Michigan,” stated John Hermes, MMSD Commission Chair.

MMSD is sponsoring the program for the first year of implementation. Adopters will be able to choose from locations along the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers, their tributaries, the Estuary, and near shore Lake Michigan. Saturday, April 22, 2017, also marks the 22nd year Milwaukee Riverkeeper will host its Annual Spring River Cleanup.

“Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s Adopt-A-River Program is an extension of our cleanup which is already one of the largest and most successful river clean ups in the state with more than 3,700 people flocking to more than 55 different locations all in one day. Our Cleanup is a fun and meaningful way for our community to interact with our waterways,” said Jennifer Bolger Breceda, Executive Director for Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “We know that when people take care of and connect to our rivers, they want to do more to protect and restore those rivers and ensure their children and future generations can swim, fish and recreate on those rivers. Our Adopt-a-River Program creates an opportunity for people to make lasting connections to our rivers throughout the year.”

While the Adopt-A-River Program requires adopters to clean up a designated section of a river at least two times per year, many groups and organizations will also be planting trees or removing harmful non-native vegetation. Many community partner Adopters, such as Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT), already act as stewards of the land and our local waterways as part of their mission.

“I believe that with our involvement other partners in Ozaukee and Washington County will join the effort and adopt their section of the river. We’re glad to continue our record of keeping our stretches of the river clean,” said Tom Stomp, Executive Director, OWLT.

The Adopt-A-River Program also offers a way for groups to create and build teamwork, give back to their community and explore the watershed in which they work and play. Kahler Slater, a Milwaukee-based design firm, is one of the first businesses to enroll in the program.

“We jumped at the opportunity to participate in the new Adopt-A-River program because we know that protecting and connecting people to our rivers will build a healthier and stronger community. It’s a great way for our staff to collaborate outside the office, have fun, and serve our community—all at the same time,” stated CEO Jim Rasche.

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Carl Swanson

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