Nineteen central Dane County municipalities awarded $100,000 for stormwater information and education activities
October 11, 2002
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced that 19 municipalities have been awarded a $100,000 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant to inform and educate the public about urban stormwater pollution and prevention issues. Dane County submitted the grant application on behalf of the cooperating municipalities.
Falk said, “This is another wonderful example of how municipalities in our county work together to save money and gain efficiencies. Stormwater runoff from urban and rural areas is the single biggest pollutant of our lakes and streams. Controlling it has been a priority of mine. Rather than going our own ways, we’re teaming up to involve the public in keeping our lakes, rivers and streams clean.”
Communities that will benefit from the grant, are the Cities of Fitchburg, Madison, Monona, Middleton, Sun Prairie, and Verona; the Villages of DeForest, Maple Bluff, McFarland, Shorewood Hills, and Waunakee; the Towns of Burke, Blooming Grove, Madison, Middleton, Westport, and Windsor; Dane County, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These communities are cooperating on their application for a DNR stormwater permit.
The two-year grant will fund a survey to determine the public’s knowledge of urban stormwater pollution issues, and information and education activities which will include a media campaign, a utility bill insert, brochure, and a school outreach campaign.
The cooperating communities are currently completing an Information and Education Plan for the five-year stormwater permit period, beginning in 2003; and have agreed to jointly fund implementation of that plan. They have also agreed to jointly fund a half-time LTE Stormwater Education Coordinator who will be responsible for implementing the plan. This Coordinator will be located in and supervised by the Dane County Land Conservation Department.
Jim Bertolacini, Stormwater Management Specialist for DNR’s South Central Region said, “We continue to be impressed by the level of cooperation demonstrated by these municipalities. Their efforts are serving as a model for other regions in the state and country that need to address the sources of stormwater pollution and give citizens the knowledge and skills they need to improve the quality of our lakes and streams.” Bertolacini is overseeing DNR’s issuance of the stormwater discharge permit to the group of 19 municipalities.
Stormwater, the single largest pollutant of Dane County’s lakes, rivers and streams, is untreated runoff from rainfall and snowmelt. Rain water or melting snow that washes off parking lots and other hard surfaces picks up a smorgasbord of pollutants –oil, grease, chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, pet waste, sediment – and carries it directly to lakes, streams and wetlands, leading to algae blooms and damage to sensitive aquatic ecosystems. The runoff can also cause bank and channel erosion.
Because runoff is often warmer than lakes and streams, it can raise their temperatures and degrade fish habitat, including cold fish hatcheries like the county’s trout streams.
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Sue Jones (267-0118),Sharyn Wisniewski (267-8823), or Jim Bertolacini, DNR, (275-3201)