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City of Kenosha and Root-Pike WIN To Improve 35 Acres Of The Shagbark Recreational Area

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Shagbark Recreational Area
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Dignitaries and volunteers gathered today for the kickoff of a private-public partnership that is meant to restore Native vegetation to reduce flooding and improve water quality, pollinator habitat, and outdoor education in the Bradford and Bullen area.

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The City of Kenosha is partnering with Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) to improve the stormwater retention area and surrounding natural spaces located on 39th Avenue West of Bradford High School and South of Bullen Middle School. The project is partially funded from grants from the Fund for Lake Michigan, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Microsoft. The existing dry pond will be improved to a high-quality prairie – one of the rarest land types in the Midwest. The 35-acre restoration presents a significant opportunity for the City of Kenosha to transform a low-performing mono-culture landscape to an ecologically vibrant Kenosha destination.

When complete, the restoration of the Shagbark Recreational Area will improve water quality downstream to Washington Park and the Kenosha harbor. The improved area will also provide outdoor classroom opportunities for Bradford and Bullen students, improve neighborhood aesthetics and experiences, and enhance natural functions for fish, amphibians, and endangered pollinators. The project marks the first major ecological restoration in the Pike Creek corridor, which primarily flows through some of the City’s underserved neighborhoods.

Dave Giordano, Root-Pike WIN’s Executive Director
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Dave Giordano, Root-Pike WIN’s Executive Director said, “We are grateful for the City of Kenosha’s support of this valuable prairie restoration project. Having an improved natural area, and a new place for Bradford and Bullen students to study native species while infiltrating more stormwater is a ‘win-win-win’. This project marks the beginning of our collective efforts to restore the Pike Creek watershed.”

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Pike Creek used to flow freely from the West through the Bradford High School property, into Washington Park, and ultimately to the Kenosha harbor. The “dry” retention pond, created decades ago, adjacent to the Pike Creek solves some downstream flooding problems and sediment issues, but still releases excessive phosphorus, nitrogen, and bacteria from grass clipping and geese populations into Pike Creek. These pollutants negatively affect water quality and habitats downstream. Returning the area to native prairie vegetation helps mitigate many of these watershed issues.

David Bogdala – Kenosha Mayor
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

“We are excited to partner with Root-Pike WIN and appreciate all the grant contributions that will improve water quality and reduce flooding while lowering City mowing costs”, said new City of Kenosha Mayor David Bogdala. “More importantly, these are improvements that will provide richer outdoor experiences for the Bullen and Bradford neighborhoods, and improve water quality in our parks downstream and the Kenosha harbor.”

The prairie restoration will plant the dry pond with a rich mix of native vegetation that absorbs more stormwater, creates more habitat for pollinators, and reduces costly turf grass mowing. According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Stormwater Management Calculator, planting the Dry Pond with native prairie species would reduce the parcel’s runoff by an estimated 33%. An average storm of 2.33″ of rainfall runoff would be decreased by about 21%.

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Rocco LaMacchia – Kenosha Alderman (5)
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

District 5 Alderman Rocco LaMacchia said, “Public-private partnerships like this one for the Shagbark Recreational Area make serving Kenosha so rewarding. The long-term benefits of this type of land restoration will be appreciated for generations to follow.”

Root-Pike WIN will facilitate the prairie restoration and four years of maintenance after the turf grass has been killed off and native prairie seeding has occurred. Restoration of the Shagbark Recreational Area will begin in late June and continue through the fall. Ongoing maintenance – including treatment of invasive species, will occur through 2028. Native prairies take about three years to fully establish, so the first few years, things may not appear fully grown or bloom with great intensity. However, once the area is fully restored, the rich biodiversity will create new experiences that have been lacking in this location since major sections of Pike Creek were put underground.

Shagbark Recreational Area
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit that restores, protects, and sustains the Root-Pike basin by building partnerships, finding funding, and managing projects to improve some of the most impaired Lake Michigan tributaries in Wisconsin. The vision of the organization is to create places where people want to be through projects and programs that improve water quality, increase habitat diversity and decrease flood events. These projects are defined as recommendations in the Root River, Pike River, Oak Creek, and Wind Point Nine Key Element Watershed Restoration Plans championed by Root-Pike WIN and approved by the DNR and EPA. Some of Root-Pike WIN’s major restoration projects include Cliffside Park, Klema Creek, Pike River South Branch, Pritchard Park, UW-Parkside XC-Course, and Lamparek Creek.

www.rootpikewin.org

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Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Mayor Bogdala and Dave Giordano, Root-Pike WIN’s Executive Director
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Kristi Heuser, Root-Pike WIN’s Pollinator Patch Program Manager, Demonstrating Plating
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Volunteers
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Young Volunteer
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)
Dave Giordano, Root-Pike WIN’s Executive Director Addresses The Volunteers
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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18 Responses

  1. This is good! A positive for all!

    I would like someday that someone would address the fact that every “heavy” rain we get, the treatment plant on 7th open the valves and releases the sewage into Lake Michigan. We are better than that aren’t we?

    I understand the cost involved but maybe we could spend less in other areas to fix the issue or problem someday? It’s bad on 3rd across from walkway by Anderson Art too. Looks like underground pipes in road are caving and sewer smell is very bad at times.

    1. The article literally has pictures captioned with volunteer underneath. Reading comprehension is low AF on this page.

        1. Awww papa boomer doesn’t know AF. 🤣
          First it’s the music’s too loud

          Then those dang kids are using language you don’t understand

          Next is the nursing home

  2. Nope. Anything the Govt is involved with is a big NO for me! It all “sounds” like it’s a good thing, but honestly, somewhere down the line, the truth about the project and all the money involved will eventually come out. We are so trusting to believe what “they” tell us is the truth. I’m currently watching as a project unfolds that Steve Mills has going on near some farm land. His people have literally gone ON to the farmer’s property that said No Trespassing, cut down trees and burned portions of the farmers land! The farmer didnt know who was doing it and got the run around by Pleasant Praire, the DNR, Army Corp of Engineers and Steve Mills. Finally, after all the headache and months of documented emails, phone calls, and meetings, the farm owner found out who was actually the head leader…
    STEVE MILLS! He’s a crook( along with PP officials)! Everyone is involved covering up all the information and passing the buck. When it comes to “wetland” projects and Gov’t funded grants or anything to do with land and water, they will make it.look like a good thing, but it’s all about money!

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    1. Wish u were around 75-100 years ago when local governments decided to run streams underground —- that had to cost a small fortune and makes the streams shitty

  3. That pond is the headwater of the small but important Pike Creek, and restoring the degraded wetlands is the only way to improve river quality downstream. Native plants have deeper root systems that collect and filter storm water making for less flooding events and healthier water quality. The natural habitat will also keep geese away and limit the amount of bird feces that makes its way into the watershed, reducing ecoli and other pollutants. Guess where the Pike Creek flows everyone? Thats right – thru Washington Bowl and into the harbor in Lake Michigan. Additionally, RootPikeWin is the most non-partisan, non-confrontational environmental group in SE Wisconsin. All they do is make our community a better place to live thru Federal grants and cooperation with local municipalities and local businesses. If clean water isnt your first choice for an issue to get behind, get off your butt and go secure your own grants and volunteer to fix whatever you care about instead of complaining to a computer screen.

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  4. This looks like a great project that will solve a 50 year problem with grant funding and City of Kenosha support. Kudos to all for setting up a positive results public/private partnership they ultimately benefits us all!

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