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Dane County Showcases Stream Monitoring to EPA Official

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/15/2003

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane County’s water quality monitoring efforts, which call on volunteers to sample water regularly in a number of county streams, will be highlighted today (Oct. 15) when Jo Lynn Traub, director of the Water Division of Region 5 of the EPA in Chicago pays a visit to Dane County and the county’s Land Conservation Department.

The highlight of the visit will be a 2:30-3:45 p.m. Citizen Monitoring Demonstration, by the Middleton High School Ecology Club. Middleton High School Teacher Deb Weitzel has been actively incorporating stream-monitoring activities into her science curriculum the last few years. She also advises the Ecology Club which has won numerous awards and competed in the Canon National Envirothon.

EPA Water Director Traub will join members of the Ecology Club as they do their monthly stream sampling on Pheasant Branch Creek. Club members include Annika Strombom, Desire Rentmeester, Jennifer Reece, Kate Carson, Meghan Halder, Kietra Olson, Amanda Mellon, Sam Harmet, Trevor McKown, Julie Zdeblick.

(Directions to Pheasant Branch Creek Monitoring Demonstration: Exit Betline Hwy at University Avenue heading east; Left (north) onto Parmenter St.; Right (east) onto Lee St.; Left (north) onto Clark St. Park at the end of Clark St. The students and media will assemble there between 2:30 to 2:45 p.m. before heading down to the stream.)

“We’re proud of our partnership with citizens of all ages who help us keep track of water quality in our streams,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. ”I have made water quality a priority. Our new comprehensive Stormwater Management ordinance is unique in requiring a temperature control on water running off of development sites in an effort to reduce thermal pollution, which hurts cold-water trout streams.”

Volunteer stream monitors work in teams selected with the assistance of the Dane County Land Conservation Department (LCD). Monitoring teams are trained in measuring six important elements of stream health: Dissolved oxygen, temperature, water clarity, water flow, habitat and stream invertebrate life.

Data is collected on a monthly basis and is sent to the LCD where the local coordinator reviews the data and enters it onto a statewide web accessible database.

“Monitoring connects people to the natural world around them. The data collected also provides valuable trend or baseline data to local resource managers,” said Falk.

Traub’s visit is in connection with World Water Monitoring Day, observed on October 18. The day is dedicated to the event that was initiated last year to recognize the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Clean Water Act in the US and has now been expanded to recognize water-monitoring efforts both within and outside the country.

Since the focus of the visit is “Monitoring”, staff from the LCD will focus the day’s events on a few areas of Dane County where water quality monitoring has been used to further the development of policy and education. Kevin Connors, Dane County Conservationist along with LCD staff Pete Jopke (Watershed Project Management Coordinator) and Jeremy Balousek (Erosion and Stormwater Engineer) will lead the tour. The proposed agenda includes the following stops:

10:00-11:00- Welcome and Introductions-Kevin Connors
Overview of the LCD and its roles in land and water resource management in Dane County. How various levels of water quality monitoring are used in the role of conservation.

11:30-12:30-City of Sun Prairie-Jeremy Balousek
Field visit to various stormwater and erosion control practices implemented to meet the water quality and quantity requirements of the Dane County Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Ordinance. A portion of the City drains to Token Creek, which is a coldwater stream. A comprehensive thermal runoff study was performed on this stream. The results of this study and various stormwater practices will be discussed.

1:30-2:30-St Francis Addition, Village of Cross Plains, Pete Jopke
The development is bisected by Brewery Creek, a coldwater tributary to Black Earth Creek. St. Francis has been the focus of three years of physical, biological, and chemical monitoring which was funded by the USEPA. The purpose of the study was to determine the in-stream effects of the development. Various stormwater practices have been implemented onsite, which were intended to minimize the overall water quality impacts to this important tributary. Although the study is in the final stages of completion, initial results indicate little or no impacts resulted from this development.

2:30-3:45-Citizen Monitoring Demonstration, Middleton High School Ecology Club
Middleton High School Teacher Deb Weitzel has been actively incorporating stream-monitoring activities into her science curriculum the last few years. She also advises the Ecology Club which has won numerous awards and competed in the Canon National Envirothon. We will join members of her club as they partake in their monthly stream sampling on Pheasant Branch Creek.

The LCD has been active in volunteer stream monitoring efforts since 2001. Monitoring locations include the West Branch of the Sugar River, Token Creek, Koshkonong Creek, Pheasant Branch Creek, Starkweather Creek, Six Mile Creek, Wingra Creek, Saunders Creek, the Yahara River, and Black Earth Creek.

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