September 28, 2017
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

Urban water quality grants to help Madison area lakes


The Dane County Board is poised to approve nearly $1 million in grants for six different projects designed to reduce urban water pollution within the Yahara chain of lakes.


The projects, which include building two new storm water retention ponds along Starkweather Creek on Madison’s east side, are before the Board at tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting.


“There has been a lot of focus on reducing contaminated runoff from our farms but these grants will address the urban side of it,” said Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan.


The projects are all aimed at capturing trash, sediment and phosphorus-laden debris such as yard or pet waste that would otherwise wash directly into area lakes and streams during heavy rains or snow melt.


Two of the grants are within the county’s “Top Ten Priority Outfall” sites, meaning they can have the most impact for reducing phosphorus loading in the watershed. Phosphorus, which is found in animal waste, tree leaves and lawn fertilizer, contributes to weed growth and toxic algae blooms.


The city of Madison will receive $337,500 to complete the Jacobson-Furey Pond Project. Construction will include adding two retention ponds near Starkweather Creek, which flows into Lake Monona. The project will clean up a historically contaminated site while also providing a walking path and educational signs for the neighborhood.


The other priority project is in the town of Middleton in the Prairie Home Estates neighborhood. The county is providing $189,074 to construct a detention pond and infiltration basin to reduce phosphorus and sediment reaching Lake Mendota. The site will be visible to the public, creating an opportunity to provide information on water quality issues.


Corrigan -- who led the effort to establish the county’s “Healthy Farms Health Lakes Task Force” that began meeting this summer -- said it will take a coordinated effort on all fronts to address water quality challenges. Since launching the urban water grant program in 2005, Dane County has helped fund 59 projects totaling nearly $13 million.


“We’re not going to find a silver bullet solution to improving our lakes,” said Corrigan. “Many steps, both large and small – rural and urban - will add up over time.”


Additional urban water quality projects up for awards tonight are all within the city of Madison and include improvements to the Rimrock Greenway: a screen structure for outflows at Wingra Park; retrofit improvements at the Nautilus Pond and an iron enhanced biofilter at the Sauk Creek Greenway.


Other items before the board tonight include:

  • A pair of resolutions regarding national issues of concern to the local community. One item condemns the activities of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the U.S. The other supports Dane County joining the American Civil Liberties Union “Freedom Cities Campaign” in support of Muslims and immigrants in this country.

  • A resolution honoring the late UW-Madison professor Phil Lewis for his contributions to the quality of life in Dane County including development of the E-Way system.

  • A series of contracts for construction at the Rodefeld Landfill to convert methane gas from decomposing trash into liquid fuel that can be shipped via pipeline.

The County Board meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the City-County Building at 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. in downtown Madison.