Parks & Open Spaces


Parks & Open Spaces

While the SEWRPC region is the most heavily urbanized portion of the State, it remains blessed with an abundance of high quality natural resource amenities, including Lake Michigan, numerous inland lakes and streams, attractive woodlands and wetlands, good wildlife habitat, rugged terrain, and scenic landscapes. Preserving and protecting these resource amenities and finding ways to accommodate outdoor recreational activities that frequently depend upon the natural resource base are important public policy objectives. The SEWRPC region has a long and proud history of park and open space planning beginning with the work of Charles B. Whitnall nearly 100 years ago. The fruits of Whitnall’s labor remain evident today in the much beloved and honored Milwaukee County Park System. Building on that base, as well as the work of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and its predecessor agencies, SEWRPC has sponsored a number of cooperative planning efforts aimed at preserving and protecting open spaces in the region while providing for many forms of outdoor recreational activities. This work complements and supports SEWRPC planning for the protection and preservation of environmental corridors and prime agricultural lands.

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Regional Park and Open Space Plan

The regional park and open space plan was adopted by SEWRPC in 1977 and has been amended many times since. The plan is kept up-to-date on a county-by-county basis as SEWRPC works with each county to refine and detail the regional plan.


Regional Natural Areas Plan

The SEWRPC natural areas plan seeks to identify and protect what remains of the landscape of the region as it existed pre-European settlement. The plan also seeks to identify and protect other areas found to be vital to the maintenance of endangered, threatened, and rare plant and animal species. Both plan objectives foster biodiversity in the Region. The natural areas plan was adopted in 1997 and is amended from time to time as new information becomes available.


Advanced Identification of Wetland Disposal Areas (ADID)

SEWRPC works cooperatively with the U.S. Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in identifying and mapping wetlands in the region that are unlikely to be found suitable for the disposal of spoil and dredged materials. This mapping program is authorized under Federal law and is intended to help landowners and developers avoid the expenditure of time and resources in seeking approvals for wetland disposal sites where such approval is very unlikely to be forthcoming.


Natural Resources Field Work

SEWRPC maintains a staff capability to help Federal, State and local units of government, as well as private sector interests, in evaluating and assessing the environmental significance and quality of specific sites throughout the region. These evaluations involve field inspection work and preparation of a site report.


Sustain, Reconnect, and Grow Environmental Corridors (SRGE)

Working cooperatively with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, SEWRPC supports an initiative that seeks to increase the awareness of the importance of preserving environmental corridors, and to take advantage of opportunities to enhance and expand those corridors


Coastal Management Activities

SEWRPC provides assistance to the Wisconsin Department of Administration in the conduct of Wisconsin Coastal Management Program activities in the region. This work involves the designation of special coastal areas, as well as assisting local governments in the coastal counties of the region in seeking available funding for projects to preserve, protect and properly use the Lake Michigan coastal area.


Plant Identification Guides

Information to assist in identifying plants in the field, including wetland vegetation, is available here.




Contact Us


Kevin Muhs, AICP, P.E.
Executive Director


Joel E. Dietl, AICP
Chief Land Use Planner


Thomas M. Slawski, Ph.D.
Chief Biologist


Nakeisha N. Payne
Public Involvement & Outreach Manager






Technical Advisory Committe for the Protection and Management of Natural Areas in Southeastern Wisconsin

Technical and Citizen Advisory Committee on Coastal Management in Southeastern Wisconsin

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Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission


W239 N1812 Rockwood Drive
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607


Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Phone: (262) 547-6721
Fax: (262) 547-1103

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