Menomonee River (Wisconsin)

River Basin Characteristics

Menomonee River at river mile 14.4

The Menomonee River is a tributary to the Milwaukee River and discharges to a Federal navigation channel at Milwaukee Harbor near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Menomonee River watershed encompasses approximately 140 square miles, including portions of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties. As primarily urban areas, the lower and central portions of the watershed include mainly residential, commercial, and industrial developments. Some agricultural land can be found near the upper reach of the Menomonee River; however, this area is being developed at a rapid pace.

Bank stability in the Menomonee River watershed

As with other areas of rapid urban development, increases in impervious area contribute to a flashier system with higher peak velocities and shear stresses. Bank erosion and erosion from construction sites also contribute heavily to waterway pollution within the Menomonee River watershed.

Modeling Approach

The primary objective of the Tributary Modeling project for the Menomonee River was to find an effective solution to help stem urban runoff, stormwater, and sedimentation to the Milwaukee River. An existing Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) model, developed for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sanitary District (MMSD), was provided to USACE. HEC-6 was used to predict sediment transport, while Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) 3.0 water quality model provided further analysis.

Modeling was completed in April of 2002. Subsequently, a workshop was conducted in Milwaukee in May 2002 to train users from the MMSD and Milwaukee Port Authority.

Use and Applications

Menonomee River at river mile 21.9

The Menomonee River Model examined the effects of urban development on sediment delivery and transport. Data provided to the MMSD included an assessment of the benefits of peak flood mitigation projects, model sediment delivery, and model soil conservation measures on agricultural areas. This model will be used by local agencies to manage urban growth and assess river restoration projects.

Project Partners

For More Information:


James P. Selegean, P.E., Ph.D.
Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Detroit District
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
Office: (313) 226-6791
Fax: (313) 226-2398