This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II
Length 0.45 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 10/17/2019 11:34 am

River Description

Quick Facts:
Location: Greendale (Milwaukee), WI.
Character: Cement ditch, with seven 'hydraulic jumps' (pour-overs, from 12" - 40").
Shuttle Length/Drive-Time: 0.9 miles/3 minutes.

This 'fantasy run' cement ditch drains the Southridge Mall (and immediately surrounding area). At S.76th Street (where it comes out from underground) drainage area is under 1 square mile. Obviously, it will take considerable rain to make any significant flow here, and flow will drop off almost immediately after it stops raining.

Access at the upper end is problematic. Martin Luther High School sits river-left, but their lot is gated and patrolled. Richlonn's Tire Center sits river-right, and would be a better bet for parking, but to keep things proper you'd have to talk to someone there before parking a car in their back lot. (Boaters should never assume it is ok to park without first asking and securing permission, even from businesses and private/church-school property.) The take-out area may also be contested, as a Milwaukee County ordinance (by every possible interpretation I can make) prohibits launch, landing, or 'touching upon the shore' with 'any float, boat, or watercraft' at any spot not designated by the county as a landing spot unless you have written permission from the parks director.

So ... why put it on here? Well, (1) In case some paddler becomes otherwise aware of it and thinks they've discovered an 'unknown' hitherto unrun bit of whitewater (I.E., a 'first descent'), and (2) because it is obvious (from debris lines on shore and in the trees) that it does occasionally get enough water to be runnable, and (3) because In less than a half-mile (after which it flows into the Root River), it has seven hydraulic jumps (cement ledges), with one at just 1', one at ~40", and the rest at ~3'. (NOTE: Heights listed are actual height of cement ledge when dry. With boatable flows, actual height of drop is likely to differ significantly.)

Rapid Descriptions


Class - N/A Mile - 0.45
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
NOTE: When rains are sufficient to make this little ditch runnable, it is highly likely that the Root River (which this ditch runs into just downstream of our listed take-out) will be running high (or be on the rise). Its waters will likely back up into the lower end of this ditch, making passage under the parkway road impossible. That actually is for the better, since that means you are not likely to have strong flows trying to sweep you into the culvert under the road, and should have a relatively easier time taking out, either at a bit of a clearing where a 'fairway' on the "Disk Golf" (frisbee golf) course crosses the ditch, or virtually right at the parkway road bridge/culvert.


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

As mentioned in the main description, this is an extremely small watershed (~1 square mile), draining very little more than the Southridge complex (buildings and parking area). Thus, it will take fairly heavy rain to raise it to "runnable" flows. Since the 'watershed' is virtually all impermeable surfaces, flow will rise quickly with heavy rains, and will drop dramatically fast as soon as rains back off. Which is to say that the "window of opportunity" on this is likely to be WHILE it is raining, and possibly only about a half-hour after.

Directions Description

As mentioned in the main description, parking at the put-in may be problematic, as it will likely involve needing to talk to someone at Richlonn's Tire & Service Center.

Since the run is less than a half-mile in length, another option would normally be to park at the take-out and walk the shuttle, carrying or dragging your boat. Unfortunately, both shores are heavily wooded (densely filled with buckthorn), making for tough going.

On river-right (the north bank) the only stretches which are clear are where residential properties abut the ditch (so you'd be trespassing through a back yard). On river-left (the south bank), the immediate riverbank is dense the whole way up. If one carried to the northeast (walking away from river-left at the take-out), after just a short bit of bushwhacking, you'd come out onto athletic fields (ball diamonds, tennis courts, running track), and parking area for Martin Luther High School. You and your boat will be highly visible walking into these often patrolled areas.

Thus, with the state-wide "keep your feet wet" rule, the only legal way of carrying upstream would be to walk upstream within the cement ditch. Obviously, this might be a bit difficult in places, especially if there are decent boatable flows, but it will have the advantage that by the time you reach the put-in, you'll have seen the status of each of the "hydraulic jumps" (cement ledges) that you'll be running, AND (likely at least as importantly) you'll be aware of any overhanging branches or other potential problems for passage which may obstruct the run.

No Accident Reports






Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208375 10/17/19 Rob minor edit
1208370 10/17/19 Rob initial add
1213803 10/17/19 Rob updated description
1213804 10/17/19 Rob directions to the river
1213806 10/17/19 Rob updated description
1213807 10/17/19 Rob directions to the river
1213805 10/17/19 Rob directions to the river
1208369 10/17/19 Rob n/a
1213587 10/17/19 Rob updated description
1208383 10/17/19 Rob Swap put-in / take-out locations (take-out is upstream of put-in)