Protecting Our Natural Resources
From lagoons and marshes to forests and prairies, the natural areas under Milwaukee County Parks stewardship are vital to the environmental health of the region.
The Natural Areas team at Milwaukee County Parks manage over 9,000 acres of land, including nine beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan.
With the help help of volunteers and citizen scientists, the natural areas team help monitor wildlife populations, develop habitat restoration plans and protect the wild spaces that enhance the ecological health of Milwaukee County.
Reducing Invasive Species
Managing invasive species that threaten our native plant and wildlife populations is an ongoing effort. To help combat invasive plants, the Natural Areas team helps organize weed-outs with volunteers and Friends Groups to help remove invasive species such as common buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, and garlic mustard.
Protecting Endangered Species
Monitoring wildlife populations is a reliable way to measure the ecological health of our natural areas, as well as determine the success of our restoration efforts. Data collected by Natural Areas staff and Citizen Scientists is crucial in helping to make sure that common species remain common, and that rare, threatened, and endangered species are protected and properly managed for within the Park System. Wildlife monitoring programs include:
- Secretive Marsh Bird Surveys
- Songbird Nest Box Monitoring
- American Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring
- Turtle Monitoring
- Wildlife Camera Trapping
- Milwaukee County Urban Wildlife Inventory
- Milwaukee County Coyote Watch
Improving Water Quality
Milwaukee County Parks include 32 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline as well as rivers, lagoons, emphemeral ponds, creeks and lakes. Our Natural Areas team works to improve water quality in these waterways through projects such as shoreline stabilization and monitoring.
The Natural Areas team helps monitor and maintain the Forked Aster Nature Trails throughout the County. The designated hiking trails within the Park System provide over 50 miles of soft trails for park users to enjoy while protecting the natural resources that add to the quality of our citizens’ lives.