Burnham Canal Ecosystem Restoration - Wetland Base Implementation


The Burnham Canal Ecosystem Restoration project is conducted by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). MMSD will be implementing a wetland restoration plan designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in October 2017. The Burnham canal is located in the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. The Canal was dredged out of wetlands in the 1870s to provide access to the Menomonee River for industries located in the southern portion of the Menomonee River Valley. The Canal was a federally-authorized channel until the mid-1980s. The Canal serves as a discharge point for stormwater runoff from surrounding area including point source (pipes) and non-point source runoff. The Canal is surrounded by primarily industrial land use, and each of these land owners abutting the Canal have riparian rights to the Canal.


The Burnham Canal Ecosystem Restoration Project will restore 6.7 acres of wetland to the Menomonee River Valley in the City of Milwaukee. Overall, this project aims to replace lost wetland habitat in the AOC. The construction will be completed in two phases. First, granular fill will be placed in the canal to build up the wetland base from the bottom of the existing canal to elevation -7.0 City of Milwaukee Datum. No activity will take place for an estimated 2-5 years following the wetland base construction to allow the underlying sediments to compress and the fill to settle.


The outcome of this project is the construction of the base of 6.7 acres of wetland habitat in the Milwaukee Estuary AOC.

Study Design

The output of this project is the construction of the wetland bse in Burnham Canal, monitoring of the fill settling and preparation of design and bid documents for the Wetland Restoration Implementation project. The following is a list of outputs for the project. 1) Install a lowe-head, steel sheet pile (SSP) wall at the eastern extend of the project, just west of the I-43 bridge. Install a silt curtain in the Canal upstream and downstream of the SSP wall before its installation. 2) Place a high-strength geotextile on the sediment surface between the 11th Street bridge and the SSP wall, working from west to east. 3) Place wetland granular fill materials over the high-strength geotextiles, from the 11thStreet bridge to the SSP wall, to Elevation -7.0 feet, City of Milwaukee Datum (CMD). If necessary based on division of construction scope between MCC and MMSD, possibly also place additional betterment fill materials west of 11th Street.

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