About RRF

We preserve green space along Milwaukee's Rivers

Our mission

The mission of the River Revitalization Foundation is to establish a parkway for public access, walkways, recreation and education, bordering the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers; to use the rivers to revitalize surrounding neighborhoods; and to improve water quality.

From the past to the future, we are committed to the return of this vital natural resource for all as Milwaukee’s urban rivers land trust.

Our vision

Our long-term vision is to transform the urban landscape using the river as a focal point. As a land trust, the River Revitalization Foundation will impact our quality of life through neighborhood restoration, economic vitality, conservation of natural areas, and creation of public access to these natural areas and open spaces.

Our goals

The River Revitalization Foundation advocates environmental conservation, public access and sensitive recreation in metro Milwaukee’s river watersheds. To address critical land use issues and further the greenway concept, our primary focus includes ensuring:

People walk along a path, surrounded by lush grass and full trees

Public Access

A turtle peeks its head over the edge of a log

Preservation of the River Valley

Volunteers work in a grassy prairie at Turtle Park

Preservation of green space in a dense urban area

A view on the river showing the North Avenue Dam pedestrian bridge in the distance

Riparian buffers against encroaching development

Black and white alderpeople tie ribbon on North Avenue Dam pedestrian bridge with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Links with neighborhoods on both sides of the river

A bumblebee suck nectar from a flower

Conservation of critical habitat and wildlife areas

By convening partners with shared vision, values and mission, we can influence planning decisions made along this corridor.

Our History

The River Revitalization Foundation was founded in 1994 by two of the larger service clubs in Wisconsin: Kiwanis Club of Milwaukee and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Established by the Milwaukee River Revitalization Council, appointed by Gov. Thompson in the 1980s to advise the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources about improving the environmental quality of the Milwaukee River Basin, the Foundation implements recommendations found in the Riverway Plan (1991), our guiding document. The plan’s main objectives are to create a greenway, build trails, increase public access, restore habitat, and educate the public.

Over our 25-year history, we have protected 821 acres, including establishing the Milwaukee River Greenway, created 5 miles of riverfront trail connections, planted 1,000s of native trees and plants, restored over 45 acres of habitat, engaged 100s of students and volunteers, invested over $5 million in the river valley. By preserving open space in urban areas , we have relief, through access to these spaces, from the intensity and pace of a dense urban environment. The community benefits from healthy soil, clean air, clean water, enhancing our quality of life, right here in the city.

See How we've Grown

River Revitalization Foundation's grounds in 2014
A photo of the progress made on redeveloping River Revitalization Foundation's grounds in 2015
A photo of the River Revitalization Foundation's building and green roof in 2019