The Southeast Fox River Partnership was formed in 1998 as part of a statewide Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources initiative that established 23 watershed based geographic management units Wisconsin major river basin. Members were selected to represent a wide mix of interests including federal, state, county and local agencies, nonprofit organizations and private sector business. The partnership was designed as forum where citizens, environmentalists, conservation groups, businesses and local governments could share resources, provide input to the WDNR and work toward common goals.
The Southeast Fox River Basin is located primarily in Kenosha, Racine, Walworth and Waukesha Counties in Southeastern Wisconsin. Some of the cities included are Brookfield, Pewaukee, Waukesha, Mukwonago, East Troy and Burlington. The basin is home to approximately 0.5 million people. The Basin contains nearly 700 miles of streams, draining over 1,000 square miles of land. Wetlands encompass nearly 78,000 acres, or 11 percent of the basin land area.
The Natural Heritage Inventory has documented 23 endangered, 26 threatened and 70 special concern plant and animal species, and 30 rare aquatic and terrestrial communities within the basin.
Recreational opportunities, such as hiking, fishing, biking, cross-country skiing, and more are abundant in the watershed. Some locations of note include the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Bong Recreation Area and Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area. In addition, several county and local parks provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities.
To date, priority Issues Identified by the Southeast Fox River Partnership have included:
Public education about local natural resource issues
Land use planning and zoning with inclusion of open space
Protection of groundwater quality and quantity
Loss of wetlands
Loss of wildlife habitat