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Dane County Board approves Lake Belle View restoration funds

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Supervisor Patrick Downing (527-2472) Supervisor Duane Gau (320-1100) Supervisor Mike Willett (845-8503)


Issued By: County Board Supervisors
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Dane County Board approves Lake Belle View restoration funds

Unique restoration project revives prized Belleville recreation area

The Dane County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to support one of Dane County’s most unique environmental restoration projects – the rebuilding of Lake Belle View in Belleville and parts of the Sugar River that feed into the 92-acre lake.

The supervisors approved $150,000 for the $4 million project that will separate the lake from the river, which has deposited so much sediment in the lake that it now averages only two feet deep.

“This is a remarkable project that is not only good for recreation, but also for the wildlife habitat,’’ said Sup. Patrick Downing, Blanchardville, who serves on the Upper Sugar River Watershed Commission and whose county supervisory district borders Belleville.

“This is a unique design. I have an engineering background and nothing like this has been done before,’’ said Sup. Duane Gau, Sun Prairie, a co-sponsor with Downing of the proposal to help fund the project. “The lake was really silted in. This will make the area a lot more scenic,’’ said Sup. Mike Willett, Verona, whose district includes Belleville. 

The project includes building a 3,200-foot earthen berm to separate the river from the lake, restoring 11 acres of wetlands along the Sugar River, and dredging 150,000 cubic yards of sediment to make the lake six feet deeper, and restoring fish population.

Gau and Downing noted the project received such wide support because it benefits all of Dane County. The Sugar River is a popular trout stream and Belle View Lake, with its unique island park in the middle, was at one time a popular lake for swimming and canoeing. The area also includes more than 100 acres of wetland wildlife habitat.

“This project has been in the works for years,’’ Gau said. “There were a lot of folks on this board before Pat and I who showed a lot of leadership on this and they’re the ones who truly deserve the credit.’’

The restoration project was launched August 6 and will take a year to complete. More than half of the $4 million will come from Belleville residents and private donations.

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