Board Members


Executive Board

  • Jim Chambers
  • Marty DeFatte
  • Tyronne Johnson
  • Jane Nikolai
  • Monte Osterman
  • Lisa Piche
  • John Skalbeck
  • Melissa Warner
  • Marybeth Zulhke

Project Director

  • Ben Lehner  [Root Connections]












FUNDED in part by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmsopheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act. Grant#NA12NOS4190091

The Root River Council  started out in 2006 as a conversation among various community members concerned about the Root River.  These 'River Enthusiasts' researched the successes of  communities around the globe and strategized ways that the City of Racine and all of Southeastern WI could implement best management practices to revitalize the Root River.  The conversation grew into community workshops, and in 2008 a year’s worth of community input was compiled into the  Back to the Root: An Urban River Revitalization Plan.            (see the 2012 ROOTWORKS plan here)
The plan outlines recommendations for the City of Racine to return to its Root.  The focus area spans from the Racine Harbor to Quarry Lake Park (below Horlick Dam) in Racine. The plan has four main goals:
  • Create a sense of place
  • Stimulate economic growth
  • Improve Water quality
  • Allow public access and interaction

Since these goals were adopted, the Root River Council has partnered with area agencies to construct the 'Dawning' sculpture (1300 6th street), facilitated the completion of a 'river-district' property inventory, participated in the County-wide Root River Restoration Planning Group, facilitated the construction of a mosaic mural on the 6th street bridge, partnered to organize several public paddling events,  and assisted with riparian restoration projects. 

The approach Root River Council takes is to find individuals and organizations that do things well and propose they do those same things, well.... on the Root River.  Take me to the River!


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 Handdrawn map from Henry Durand ca. 1843 

(image courtesy of UW-Parkside archives via