Forest Exploration Center
The FEC manages the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-owned 68-acre woodland site in Milwaukee County, with the mission to help visitors explore and experience Wisconsin forests and forestry. Six acres of the site currently in use by WisDOT as a pavement batch plant will be converted to an access road and ecologically-designed green infrastructure (GI) beginning in Fall 2018. Proposed GI includes 13,500 square feet of bioretention, 1,500 square yards of wetland, and 300 linear feet of regenerative stormwater conveyance (RSC) (step-pool media-based treatment and conveyance) to protect riverine and forest habitat and improve water quality prior to entering the Menomonee River and the Milwaukee. The proposed GI goes above and beyond local and regional stormwater management ordinances such that the design contributes to the restoration of habitat for local species of concern (i.e. wood thrush, long-eared owl, southeastern flying squirrel, Blanding’s turtle, and Butler’s gartersnake), while also capturing 509,216 gallons of stormwater runoff, 3,283 lbs of TSS, and 8.66 lbs of phosphorus, annually. The site will be equipped with real-time monitoring and display for the purposes of public education and outreach, as well as collecting performance data. Project partners include WDNR, Fund for Lake Michigan, WisDOT, City of Wauwatosa, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Parks, and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Construction is anticipated to begin in Summer 2019.