Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan

Algae blooms at the mouth of the Pike River in Kenosha

Algae blooms at the mouth of the Pike River in Kenosha


The Pike River Watershed is located in portions of Racine and Kenosha counties, and consists of three sub-basins; the North Branch, South Branch and the Main Pike River. The North Branch originates near County Highway C in the Village of Mount Pleasant. The South Branch is a drainage way that originates near Highway 50 in Kenosha County. From there, it flows north alongside the Union Pacific Railroad, picking up contributions from agriculture drainage tiles, Airport Branch, Somers Branch and other unnamed tributaries. The North Pike and South Branch meets at Petrifying Springs Park, forming the Main Branch of the Pike River. From Petrifying Springs, the Pike River flows east, then south through the City of Kenosha before emptying into Lake Michigan. The major tributary to the Pike River is Sorenson Creek. The one named lake found in this watershed is Petrified Springs Park Pond, which covers approximately three acres. Land cover is primarily rural, with agriculture dominant (52%). Urban land uses account for 19 percent of the land area, while grasslands (14%) and forests (8%) represent the other major rural uses. Wetlands cover less than two percent of the land area. The municipalities include the City of Kenosha, the Village of Sturtevant, and the Towns of Somers and Mount Pleasant.



  • Phosphorus and nitrogen from farming practices and storm water runoff
  • eColi and other pathogens from agriculture and storm water runoff
  • Suspended solids from storm water runoff and stream bank erosion
  • Loss and fragmentation of open space/natural habitat
  • Reduced water infiltration & increased water use
  • Invasive/non-native plant species
  • Chlorides (salinity) from road salt
  • Low dissolved oxygen



The planning effort took place over two years and included the entire river, its tributaries and the direct drainage area (purple area of map). The first year (Phase I) focused on engaging the participation of citizens from all walks of life, educating them on the state of the Pike River watershed and gathering their input. In the second year, an advisory group of interested citizens and public officials met with a professional planning firm to advise and direct the development of a comprehensive river restoration plan, including a detailed action plan that identifies priority projects, costs and potential funding sources. 

The participation and input of over 150 people who attended planning meetings and completed an online opinion survey of the Pike River watershed contributed greatly to the plan’s focus and development. An advisory group guided the development of the written plan. Participants in the planning process established goals and objectives for the watershed that addressed the issues and opportunities raised by respondents to the online survey, at the Pike River Summit held in May 2012 and at public meetings. The completed plan was presented to the public on September 26, 2013, at a public meeting held at the Kenosha Public Museum. The approved plan is available for download on this page.



The Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan has been adopted by seven municipalities and the University of Wisconsin–Parkside. These municipalities and entities all have some part of their juristiction that includes the Pike River watershed. Adopters of the plan include:

  1. Kenosha County
  2. Racine County
  3. City of Racine
  4. Village of Mount Pleasant
  5. Village of Sturtevant
  6. Village of Pleasant Prairie
  7. Village of Somers
  8. University of Wisconsin–Parkside



In 2016, Root-Pike WIN has begun implementing the Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan. Implementation includes the planning, design and construction of both municipal and private landowner projects. Root-Pike WIN’s role is to serve as educator and facilitator of the plan’s recommendations.

For more information about the Pike River planning and implementation, contact Dave Giordano, Executive Director, at dave@rootpikewin.org .