Glendale Kletzsch Park fish passage completed after nearly 10 years

A fish passage built along the Milwaukee River in Glendale's Kletzsch Park, which opened last year, is now completed.

The project took nearly a decade to finish. 

"This is a really exciting day. This is the culmination of a lot of people's work," said Jennifer Bolger Breceda, Milwaukee Riverkeeper executive director.

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"I am honored to be here to celebrate the completion of Kletzsch Park's fish passage project," Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said.

Fish like bass, trout and even lake sturgeon move upstream each spring to spawn. But the dam at Kletzch Park, while scenic, was forcing fish to exert more energy getting up stream than getting busy. 


Glendale Kletzsch Park fish passage open to native species

A fish passage built along the Milwaukee River in Glendale's Kletzsch Park is now open to help native fish, especially those trying to breed, move upstream.

"This allows for our native fish to go up to a whole new area of like 25 miles of smaller streams, wetlands where they can have food and can reproduce safely," Bolger Breceda said. 

The dam happened to be the largest remaining fish barrier on the Milwaukee River between Lake Michigan and Grafton. Bolger Breceda said the passage benefits the community – not just fish.

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"This is a once-in-a-lifetime generational opportunity we cannot pass up. This is creating cleaner and healthier waterways for the next generation," she said. "It's really truly wonderful. It's such a great thing to be able to see."

Bolger Breceda said the passage will also help clean gunk off the bottom of the river that, over time, has caused contamination.

The fish passage is on property owned by Milwaukee County Parks, MMSD and Glendale. Fishing is not allowed in the fishway or in any of the outlets.