Dane County Office of Lakes & Watersheds
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Waters Champion - 2004

Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Shary Bisgard Presented Awards as part of Yahara Lakes Week; Ceremony was held at Memorial Union on Friday, June 18, 2004.

The awards recognized individuals 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.

Dr. Richard Lathrop

Dr. Lathrop is a research limnologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and holds an honorary appointment with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology.

Dr. Lathrop has been studying the Madison lakes for 28 years and has authored many scientific publications about long-term changes in the aquatic life and water quality of the lakes, especially Lake Mendota. He currently is the Madison lakes field site manager for the UW's North-Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research project and is the lead scientist on other lake research projects for the DNR including the Devil's Lake Restoration Project and two large EPA-funded research projects being conducted in the Lake Mendota watershed.

He also served on the expert group convened by County Executive Kathleen Falk regarding the MG&E cogeneration plant water mitigation, was a member of the steering committee for the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed project, and has provided outstanding assistance to the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission with several publications and initiatives.

Friends of Starkweather Creek

The Friends of Starkweather Creek is a citizen’s group dedicated to the protection and restoration of Starkweather Creek. Through education and outreach the group seeks to raise public awareness and appreciation of the creek as well as encourage sound watershed planning and management practices.

The Starkweather is a largely urban stream with two main branches. Its watershed includes much of the eastern and northern areas of the City of Madison, as well as some Town of Burke and Town of Madison lands.

In October 2002, the Friends developed “Recommended Standards for Development in the Starkweather Creek Watershed” and have commented on several proposed developments in the watershed, using the standards document. The group is also working with Madison’s engineering and parks divisions and the East Isthmus Neighborhoods Planning Council on a multiyear plan to improve water quality and connect the creek's corridors and surrounding neighborhoods with walking paths, bike trails and natural areas.

Deer Creek Sport and Conservation Club (DCSCC)

Formed in 1985, the Deer Creek Sport and Conservation Club (DCSCC) is a non-profit organization with a mission of community service that promotes hunting, fishing, wildlife preservation and conservation. There are about 400 members.

Among its other efforts, The Deer Creek Sport and Conservation Club has been very active in streambank protection and restoration in southwest Dane County.

The group has partnered with the Dane County Land Conservation Department, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited, Dane County Conservation League and many other groups on Targeted Resource Management Projects. These grant-funded streambank restoration and habitat enhancement projects restored over 12 miles of cold-water stream habitat. The projects also provide public access along the West Branch of the Sugar River, Frye’s Feeder and Deer Creek. DCSCC has been a major contributor of volunteer labor for constructing in-stream habitat structures. In addition, DCSCC holds public access easements along several stretches of streams.

Capitol Water Trails (CWT)

Steve Falter founded Capitol Water Trails (CWT) in 1998. It is an all-volunteer non-profit corporation dedicated to educating citizens in water stewardship; clearing waterways for recreational navigation and drainage; and improving waterways for fisheries and native habitat. CWT also trains volunteers and educates the public while soliciting grants and donations for the improvement of Dane County's waterways.

One of its most visible activities is researching, clearing and mapping water “trails” that boaters can follow. Within five years, the group will help open approximately 83 miles of waterways. Five trails are under development now including the Maunesha River Trail near Marshall; the Wingra Creek Passage in Madison; Token Creek Trail; the Upper Yahara River Trail and the Sugar River Trail.

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