CONTACT: Stephanie Wilson Miller
Dane County Executive Parisi announced a major step forward in lakes clean-up efforts today. Dane County will fund the majority of construction costs for the reconstruction of East Towne Pond that will stop the flow of 80,000 pounds of sediment and 195 pounds of algae producing phosphorous from entering our lakes. Additionally, Dane County is increasing staff to help link farmers to conservation projects.
“There is no one solution to cleaning up our lakes,” Said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Our lakes are irreplaceable and cleaning them up will help our children enjoy our lakes for generations to come.”
Dane County will increase staff on the ground in the watershed to link farmers with funds to implement conservation projects and partnerships. An $80,000 grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts will make this additional work possible. A resolution to accept the grant money will be introduced tonight at the County Board meeting.
Dane County awarded the money for the East Towne Pond reconstruction to the city of Madison under the “Urban Water Quality Grant Program” which is a program that assists with projects aimed at cleaning up urban runoff pollution in area waters. The project cost $820,000 with the county paying $615,000 for the effort and the City of Madison making up the difference. The project will convert the detention basin into a wet pond.
The grants are available to help local communities construct storm water management facilities. The basins capture trash and phosphorus-laden debris such as yard or pet waste from urban areas that would otherwise wash directly into area lakes and streams during heavy rains or snow melt. $1.3 million is available through the grant program this year.
Since starting the grant program in 2005, Dane County has helped fund over 60 projects countywide, stopping the flow of over 800,000 pounds of garbage and pollutants, including over 3000 pounds of phosphorus every year. Phosphorus is the main culprit to algae growth in our lakes. Every pound of phosphorus removed from the county’s watershed prevents 500 pounds of algae from growing.
For the sixth consecutive year, municipalities that propose projects in one of the county’s top ten target areas that discharge large amounts of phosphorus and sediment into the lakes will be eligible to receive a 75% county cost share grant. Other municipalities with eligible projects outside the targeted areas could receive a 50% cost share up to $100,000.