At a Glance

The rehabilitation of a highly urbanized and manipulated stream incorporates the added benefit of critical flood storage. The restoration provides steelhead and northern pike with access to upstream waters, and creates riparian and wetland habitat for the State threatened Butler’s garter snake.

Project Description

Biohabitats has partnered with Short Elliot & Hendrickson (SEH) to provide ecological restoration services for the Underwood Creek Rehabilitation and Flood Management Project. To rehabilitate the channel and floodplain within a highly developed, urban watershed outside of Milwaukee, Underwood Creek has been altered considerably since the mid-1960s. The creek’s channel has been widened, realigned, and-along a significant portion of its eight mile length until its confluence with the Menomonee River-lined with concrete. These alterations have limited fish migration and viability contributed to downstream flooding conditions along portions of the Menomonee River, as well as, limiting fish migration and viability.

To make life safer for the public and friendlier for fish and aquatic life, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District are removing nearly one mile of concrete from the creek channel and rehabilitating the creek to restore a more natural meandering system with pools and riffles and wetland and riparian habitat. The project also includes the design and installation of an extensive floodwater storage facility adjacent to Underwood Creek.

Biohabitats and SEH will prepare a feasibility study for approximately 4,400 linear feet of Underwood Creek, starting at its confluence of the Menomonee River. The study will address key concerns such as embankment stability, sediment transport, existing fish migration barriers, riparian restoration, and flood management.



Great Lakes

Physiographic Province

Upper Great Lakes Plain



Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration, Urban Ecology


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District


Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, United States