Dane County Office of Lakes & Watersheds
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Waters Champion - 2002

The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission honored outstanding contributions to protecting Dane County waters with the 2002 Dane County Waters Champion Awards.

The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission’s Water Champions Award is an annual recognition of outstanding contributions to the protection and improvement of our County’s lakes and streams at a ceremony of Yahara Lakes Week.. The awards recognized individuals, businesses and organizations whose commitment to Dane County’s water resources and whose work on their behalf has made a positive difference in protecting and improving water quality as well as the scenic, economic, recreational and environmental value of those lakes and streams.

Individual: Ken Potter

Ken Potter is a professor of civil engineering and environmental engineering at UW-Madison. Dr. Potter has been enormously generous in sharing his professional expertise with conservation groups, county government, public schools, and local communities. He has served on numerous task forces, commissions and committees including the Middleton Water Resources Commission; the Middleton Conservancy Lands Commission; the Pheasant Branch Task Force; the Yahara Lakes Advisory Group; and the Shorewood Hills/Madison Stormwater Task Force. He has helped organize and led numerous workshops including UW Water Resources Management Workshops on the Sugar River, Bad River, Lake Belle View, Nine Springs E-Way, Token Creek, Lake Wingra and Rowan Creek. He has lectured widely on topics such as Yahara Lakes flooding and groundwater issues in Wisconsin. Dr. Potter also provided expert advice to Dane County staff during the development of the countywide stormwater ordinance.

Business: Real estate developers Don and Joanne Tierney

Real estate developers Don and Joanne Tierney have been developing sites in Dane County for eight years. At their newest development, Savannah Village in Waunakee, the Tierneys saved the pristine oak savannah from which the development takes its name and took a holistic approach to protect environmental corridors, drainage areas and wetlands. They worked around sensitive natural areas to create a walkable neighborhood with trails, a covered bridge and an arboretum.

In their Southbridge development, built in the spring of 2001, the Tierneys worked with County conservation staff to incorporate and evaluate stormwater management and erosion control techniques. Their work in building tiled fields – flat areas of former cropland with cylindrical tiles installed about four feet underground for drainage – proved extremely effective in promoting infiltration and cooling of stormwater.

The Tierneys developed sites for the 2002 Parade of Homes that feature rain gardens, which reduce runoff, flooding and pollution, and are cooperating with the County to promote educational outreach on the benefits of rain gardens.

Group: The Friends of Lake Wingra

The Friends of Lake Wingra, formed in 1998, is one of the County’s most active, well-organized and effective Friends groups. The group’s mission, to promote a healthy Lake Wingra through an active watershed community, came about in response to the designation of Lake Wingra as an "Integrated Ecosystem Management" (IEM) Project by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Friends of Lake Wingra works through partnerships to conduct outreach efforts, clean-up projects and educational programs.

The Friends conduct numerous activities each year, including water monitoring efforts, clean-up programs and workshops. Through a regular newsletter the group keeps a variety of interested stakeholders involved and promotes wider involvement in both on-going activities and long-term planning efforts.

In 2002, Friends of Lake Wingra continues to focus on building organizational capacity while engaging the watershed community in a planning process that focuses on three key areas: stormwater management, control of invasive plants and animals, and citizen stewardship.

Fledgling Group: The Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA)

The Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA) was formed in 2000 and currently has about 75 members. It is governed by a board of nine directors which includes a mix of farmers, landowners and urban residents. The group’s mission is to “serve as a forum for the preservation and enhancement of watershed resources through an impartial partnership among diverse community interests.”

The USRWA is unique among conservation groups in that it began proactively, without a crisis to serve as the impetus for its inception. Rather, the group grew from the interest of concerned individuals for the natural resources of the unique Sugar River watershed, which covers about 170 square miles and extends from southwest Madison, west to Mount Horeb, south to Belleville and north to Verona.

In its first year of existence the group has been remarkably effective, resourceful and successful. The USRWA has worked closely with the County to secure, maximize and match Targeted Resource Management Grants for installing streambank protection practices along the Sugar River.

In addition, the USRWA has conducted a number of outreach programs and clean-up projects including an educational drinking water program in conjunction with UWEX for private well owners; public forums for landowners providing information on federal, state and local funds available for conservation practices; planning and conducting activities for Earth Day, National Trails Day, National Rivers Cleanup Week, and Yahara Lakes Week; coordinating with Capitol Water Trails to clear debris from the river to make it passable for paddlers; and developing several “you-are-here” educational signs for placement in the watershed.

The group has received nearly $25,000 in grants for planning initiatives and future work and recently hired a part-time coordinator.



Yahara Waterways Trail Guide The Yahara Waterways Water Trail Guide is a great resource for exploring our area waters.