Community Rivers Program Coming Together For Clean Water

Serving the milwaukee river communities of Grafton, Saukville, Newburg, Kewaskum, and Fredonia


Why Do we need CRP?

Pollution continues to be a serious concern in the Milwaukee River, with our friends at Milwaukee Riverkeeper recently giving the overall health of the river a “C-” on their 2021 report card, improving from the D+ grade in 2019.

The overall health grade of the Milwaukee River is increasing thanks to amazing efforts being made throughout the entire Basin to improve the health quality, but less attention has been paid to rural and suburban parts of the watershed where our Healthy River Communities are located.

We know making a river that is swimmable, fishable, and liveable for all requires the cooperation and effort of every community along its riverbanks, and we want to help do just that.

The Community Rivers Program takes a three-pronged approach to….


We protect the things we care about. From kayaking programs to community-wide festivals to watershed tours, we want to make sure everyone sees and feels the incredible value of caring for our Milwaukee River and being a Healthy River Community.


Partnering communities are provided one-on-one property consultations, property owner workshops, family friendly programming and more that makes the problems (and more importantly, their solutions!) easy to understand and act on.


Working hand in hand with residents, land owners, elected officials, scientists, and stakeholder groups, we’ll coordinate programs, discussions, trainings, and resources aimed at empowering communities and their residents to implement best practices for keeping their river healthy and clean. This is bottom-up change emanating from community members working together to design a plan that best fits their own town, village, or city.

Communities located in the Upper Milwaukee River Watershed are invited to join the Community Rivers Program and become a Healthy River Community!

Since 2017,

we’ve partnered with rural communities to create healthier ecosystems and communities.

5 Healthy River Communities

The Villages of Newburg, Saukville, Grafton, Kewaskum, and Fredonia

“I’ve never kayaked the Milwaukee River before and I was amazed with how beautiful it is. Getting in the river helped me appreciate the need to keep it clean and free of pollutants.”

– CRP Kayaking Participant


programs offered (all communities, all years, combined)


resident participants

“We are so grateful for the rain barrel we received, especially this year. It was very easy to install and it is hidden amongst our raspberry bushes!”

– CRP Rain Barrel Workshop Participant


rain barrels installed


stewardship projects completed in communities…everything from river clean-ups to water monitoring to prairie plantings!


hours of land management consultations provided community residents

Upcoming CRP Events

Free Programming For All 5 CRP COMMUNITIES

Residents from ALL 5 CRP communities are welcome to attend any CRP event!
(Fredonia, Grafton, Kewaskum, Newburg, and Saukville)

Kayaking The Milwaukee River 

Embark on a serene paddle down the Milwaukee River, suitable for all levels, with single-person kayaks provided for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

CRP Community Residents have priority registration access for these programs through May 31. On June 1, these programs will open to the public. So sign up now to reserve your spot!

Kayak in Fredonia on June 12

EVENT FULL Wednesday June 12 @ 5-8 pm at Waubedonia Park in Fredonia – Meet at Kayak Launch

Kayak in kewaskum on July 24

Wednesday July 24 @ 5-7 pm at River Hill Park in Kewaskum above the dam
Register Here

Kayak in Fredonia on August 14

Wednesday August 14 @ 5-8 pm at Waubedonia Park in Fredonia – Meet at Kayak Launch
Register Here

Milwaukee River Days

Immerse yourself in Milwaukee River Days with engaging activities such as critter-catching, water testing, and expert insights on conservation efforts, offering a valuable opportunity to connect with the river’s ecosystem.

CRP Community Residents have priority registration access for this program through May 31. On June 1, this program will open to the public. So sign up now to reserve your spot!

Saturday July 27 @ 10:00 am – 1:30 pm at Riveredge – Park and meet at Riveredge’s West Parking Lot
Register Here

Milwaukee River History Presentation and CRP Information Session

This engaging presentation delves into the geological, cultural, and environmental forces that have shaped the river over time. This program also serves as an informative introduction to the Community Rivers Program.

CRP Community Residents have priority registration access for this program through May 31. On June 1, this program will open to the public. So sign up now to reserve your spot!

Monday August 19 @ 5:30-7:30 pm at Riveredge – Park at the Riveredge main parking lot and meet in the barn.
Register Here

Wastewater Treatment Facility Tour

Discover the unsung heroes of water conservation in Fredonia! Take a fascinating tour of our local wastewater treatment plant and learn about the dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to keep our waters clean.

CRP Community Residents have priority registration access for this program through May 31. On June 1, this program will open to the public. So sign up now to reserve your spot!

Tuesday August 20 @ 10-11 am at the Fredonia Wastewater Treatment Facility
Register Here

River Adventure Series

Learn more about the science of water quality monitoring, identifying elusive microorganisms and understanding the delicate balance of river life. This experience promises to be both educational and exhilarating for all ages! Pre-registration required.

Monday June 3 @ 5-6:30 pm at Waubedonia Park in Fredonia
Contact Briana Bateman at [email protected] to register.

Grafton Family Fishing Fun

Spend the afternoon on the banks of the Milwaukee River with a pole in your hand and hopefully a few bites on your line! Learn how to tie a hook on your line, bait your hook, and safely cast your line into the water. With the assistance of a Community Rivers Program team member, we will try to catch and identify each fish before releasing them back into their home; The Milwaukee River.

Friday June 14 @ 5-7 pm at Veterans Memorial Park in Grafton
Register through Grafton Parks & Recreation


Natural things come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, odors, tastes and sounds. Learn about the diversity of nature through a unique variety of sensory experiences. No registration required.

Friday June 18 @ 2-3 pm at the USS Liberty Memorial Library in Grafton

River Investigations

Dive into the fascinating world of river ecosystems with Riveredge Nature Center’s River Investigation program! Experience an exciting hands-on experience where kids will have the opportunity to explore live macroinvertebrates from the Milwaukee River. During this interactive session, participants will learn to identify different macroinvertebrates and discover how they serve as indicators of water quality. Through engaging activities and guided exploration, children will gain a deeper understanding of the vital role these tiny creatures play in maintaining the health of our rivers and streams. No registration required.

Thursday June 20 @ 1-2 pm at the Kewaskum Public Library

Tuesday August 13 @ 2-3 pm at the USS Liberty Memorial Library in Grafton

Rain Garden Presentation

Explore the wonders of rain gardens with a free presentation by the Community Rivers Program at your local library. Delve into the world of sustainable landscapes, native plants, water conservation, and practical tips for creating your own rain garden. No registration required.

Friday June 21 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville

Intro to Foraging

Embark on a journey into ethical and sustainable foraging. Explore the principles of responsible harvesting, biodiversity preservation, and environmental stewardship. Discover the art of identifying wild edibles, their nutritional benefits, and the importance of sustainable foraging practices. No registration required.

Tuesday July 16 @ 5-6 pm at the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville

Once a Pond a Time

Delve into the world of ponds through engaging stories, songs, and activities inspired by pond creatures and habitats. Children will learn about frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and more while exploring the magic of pond life through interactive storytelling. No registration required.

Wednesday July 24 @ 10:30-11:30 am at the Kewaskum Public Library

Wisconsin’s Glacial Landscapes

Discover the mysteries of Wisconsin’s glacial landscapes at the library! Learn about the geological wonders shaped by ice ages, from kettles to moraines. Learn to identify these features and about their continued significance today. No registration required.

Tuesday July 30 @ 12-1 pm at the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville

Become a Member

Take advantage of all the benefits of a Riveredge membership year round!

Learn More