Fryer Baskets and Fish Habitats

Harbor District makes waterfronts more habitable for aquatic life



By: Taylor Baseheart, Communications Manager for The Water Council


Harbor District, a non-profit working to lead a revitalization of Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor, found a unique way of creating an environment that is more welcoming and habitable for aquatic species along the steel sheet piling, which dominates the shoreline of Milwaukee’s urban waterfronts.

Working closely with UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences and Bradley Technical High School, they designed and assembled a set of seven “Habitat Hotels” using fryer baskets and other materials. The Habitat Hotels fit perfectly along the sheet piling, and the baskets are filled with aquatic vegetation before being submerged under water.


With three testing sites located in Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor, they received interest from outside organizations and businesses to install more Habitat Hotels along waterfront property.

“As we moved forward with the Habitat Hotels project, we started getting questions – some from as far away as Texas! – about the ability to purchase or replicate the Habitat Hotels elsewhere,” said Lindsay Frost, water projects manager of the Harbor District. “From there, we started wondering if there might be a larger market for the product.”

The Harbor District was one of four pilot program winners that received funds from The Water Council and supporters, Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM), Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Wells Fargo. The funds will be used to conduct market research and analysis to determine the market fit for the Habitat Hotels. They are currently in need of assistance in putting together a business model for these Habitat Hotels.

For more information on Harbor District and the Habitat Hotels project, please visit


Pilot Program Partners



This post was tagged under: Harbor District Inc