On Friday, November 11, 2005 new, revised boundaries for the 100-year flood plain map for Lincoln Creek in the City of Milwaukee were accepted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), meaning that more than 1,500 homes and businesses on the city's northwest side will no longer be required to carry flood insurance.
Ald. Davis, whose 2nd Aldermanic District includes segments of Lincoln Creek and the 100-year floodplain, said the new floodplain map boundaries bring relief to Milwaukeeans who for years have been hit hard by occasional flooding and the high cost of flood insurance. "People living in the floodplain having been getting nailed for years with insurance payments ranging from $400 to $1,400 per year, and that's a major expense for anyone, let alone residents on fixed incomes and working class people," said Ald. Davis, who sponsored legislation pushing for the floodplain map boundaries to be changed.
The revised 100-year floodplain map boundaries are the result of the Lincoln Creek Environmental Restoration and Flood Control Project, a massive multi-year effort by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to protect 1,600 homes and businesses located within the floodplain from the 100-year storm. The project's major components are two huge storm water detention basins, including the 32-acre Green Tree Detention Basin located north and west of N. 51 St. and W. Green Tree Rd., which can hold 52 million gallons of water during a rainstorm.
Construction on the project started in 1999 and was completed in 2002. The innovative project brought improved bypass culverts and bridges, as well as deepening and widening of some creek segments. It also included revamping of the banks along major portions of the creek, as well as measures to improve water quality, restore and stabilize eroding banks, and to provide suitable habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife.
The effort to revise the floodplain map boundaries included technical re-mapping work by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, coordination of flood study information and documents by the city's Department of Public Works, coordination of the zoning and public participation aspects by the Department of City Development and overall review by the state Department of Natural Resources and FEMA.
Flooding along the creek had been problematic at times since the 1960s, and massive 100-year rainstorms in 1997 and 1998 caused serious flooding along portions of the floodplain, bringing significant damage to mostly single-family homes and a small number of businesses.
Lincoln Creek drains a 21-square-mile watershed on the north side of the City
of Milwaukee and portions of the City of Glendale and Village of Brown Deer.