North Avenue Fish Passage

North Avenue Fish Passage

Fish and other aquatic species need to be able to swim upriver to access food sources, reproduce, and establish healthy, stable populations. When man-made barriers like dams or steep, fast chutes prohibit or delay fish movement in our waterways, fish passage can be designed to help fish move through or around the barrier to get where they need to go.


In 1997, the North Avenue Dam was removed. Following the dam’s removal, a concrete mat was placed on top of the streambed to cover contaminated sediment left by the dam. The concrete matting created a roughly 1,000-foot narrow and smooth chute below North Avenue. This section of river is often fast and difficult for native fish, such as northern pike and lake sturgeon, to pass through at critical spawning times. 

MMSD is currently working on an alternative solution that will improve the ability for native fish species to migrate upstream to suitable spawning and nursery habitat. 

Partner Lead: Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Status: Planning

Outcome: Restored Ecosystems

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