River Hills

River Hills is a five-acre ephemeral wetland in the Village of River Hills. This conservation property is important for filtering toxins out of the water before it flows into the Milwaukee River, and providing habitat for amphibians.

Conservation property

Critical wetland area

Not open to public


Two neighbors purchased the property in 2017 for $105,000 and then donated it to RRF for conservation.

What does ephemeral mean? Lasting for a short time; in this instance, the water that pools in this site like a pond does not last year-round, only during wet seasons. Acquisition of this land was pivotal in conserving a designated threatened plant community. Wetlands help to filter many urban toxins out of water before joining with the Milwaukee River. Ephemeral ponds are critical habitat for breeding amphibians to lay their eggs and not be predated by fish species that cannot be sustained in ephemeral waterways. This land has the potential to become suitable habitat for threatened blue spotted salamanders.


Restoration began in fall of 2018. With the help of Cream City Conservation Corp (CCC) and AmeriCorps NCCC teams, 2 acres of mature buckthorn were removed. Our goal is to continue managing invasive species populations, then following control, seeding with native wet-mesic sedge meadow species. Maintaining the shade around the ephemeral pond by incorporating wet-loving native shrubs and trees will be key to maintaining the site’s critical ecological value.

The property is not open to the public, rather a conservation property. The following wildlife have been observed by neighbors, RRF staff and volunteers: Turkeys, coyotes, foxes, burrowing crayfish, turtles, woodcock, downy/hairy woodpeckers, wood ducks (breeding), bluejays, and eastern bluebirds, hawks.

Interested in seeing a full list of bird species? Visit ebird.org.

See the full list of bird species at River Hills on eBird

River Hills Funders

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Green Solutions Grant