Located in the
Lyman F. Anderson
5201 Fen Oak Drive
Madison, WI 53718-8827
Map to Fen Oak
Fertilizers normally contain a mix of
nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Rainwater runoff from lawns treated with fertilizers flows
to storm drainage systems and into the lakes where the phosphorus
from many sources causes excessive algae growth, and decreases
water clarity, often turning lakes green. Decaying algae
also depletes oxygen in the water, so that fish can no longer
In order to improve lake water quality
by reducing phosphorus runoff, on April 15, 2004, the Dane
County Board adopted Ch. 80 of the Dane County Code of Ordinances,
Regulations for Lawn Fertilizer Application and Sale
(pdf)." The County Executive subsequently signed the ordinance
The ordinance went into effect in January
2005 in every town, village and city in Dane County. Beginning
May 1, 2004, signs containing the ordinance requirements
and the effects of phosphorus on Dane County waters must
be prominently displayed where lawn fertilizers are sold.
to download a copy of a sign developed by the Dane County
Lakes and Watershed Commission for retailers to post.
Industry challenges to Dane County's ordinance have been rejected by
federal courts. Follow this link
to read the June 13, 2005 decision of the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Wisconsin. Follow
this link to read the December 23, 2005 decision of the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
In July 2003, County Executive Falk asked
the Lakes and Watershed Commission to develop, introduce
and work with the County Board to pass an ordinance limiting
phosphorus in lawn fertilizers in order to improve lake
The Lakes & Watershed Commission sought
and reviewed extensive public input during ordinance development.
A total of 245 comments were received: from the December
11, 2003 public hearing and from online, written, email
and phone contacts. The Commission made a number of adjustments
to the ordinance based on public input. The Commission voted
to delay the effective date until January 2005 to accommodate
retailers' concerns about inventory already ordered. On
January 20, 2004 the Commission voted unanimously to recommend
passage of the ordinance they developed and revised, and
the ordinance was introduced to the Dane County Board on
January 22, 2004. The County Board passed this ordinance
on April 15, 2004.
Expert input used in ordinance development,
and statements released by the Lakes and Watershed Commission
are found below.
The Yahara Waterways Water Trail Guide is a great resource for exploring our area waters.