Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Decision Support Tool

Green InfrastructureWetlands, green roofs, rain gardens and permeable pavement are among the approaches that can help communities deal cost-effectively with increased precipitation and storm water runoff.  In partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and with support from the Surdna Foundation we are creating a prototype system dynamics simulation of investment in green infrastructure that will allow for the same sort of “what-if” scenario testing that has been so effective in our other models of this page, the transition to clean energy and resilience to drought in East Africa. The Green Infrastructure Decision Support Tool will help Milwaukee decision-makers and citizens test scenarios and see the solutions that best deliver storm water management, financial savings, good jobs, beautiful neighborhoods and resilience to extreme weather.

The tool focuses on one watershed within the District – the Kinnickinnic River Watershed – which is located mostly within the city of Milwaukee and which is one of the most densely populated and highly paved neighborhoods of the city. Some of the features of the tool include:

  • User ability to create scenarios
    • Amount of investment in green infrastructure over time
    • Mix of green infrastructure invested in
    • Expectations about the effectiveness of green infrastructure types
    • Amount of investment in grey infrastructure over time
    • Future precipitation scenarios
  • Outputs
    • Measures of system performance including annual number of overflow events and basement flooding
    • Capital and operations costs
    • Co-benefits, including jobs, property values, beach closures, water quality, and energy savings

Recently, Beth Sawin talked with the Surdna Foundation about the development of this new tool. Read the full interview.

For more background on the tool, download a flyer or slides from a recent EPA presentation.