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DANE COUNTY EXECUTIVE KATHLEEN FALK, COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS UNVEIL LAND AND WATER LEGACY FUND TO BOOST WATER QUALITY AND TO TRAP THE TRASH

For more information contact:

Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 6/7/2006

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Calling it a common sense strategy to improve water quality and protect water resources, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and members of the County Board today called for the creation of the Land and Water Legacy Fund to fund smarter land practices to improve the overall health of the county’s aquifers and waterways – including expanded efforts to trap the trash before it lands in the lakes.

“We love our lakes, streams and rivers in Dane County. County citizens have called these water bodies the trademark of our area -- crucial to the quality of life we enjoy. And this is why people from all walks of life want to protect this priceless resource,” Falk said during an afternoon news conference on the Lake Mendota shore of the Dane County Mendota Park. “The creation of the Land and Water Legacy Fund will help us do precisely that by also protecting the lands we work and the lands where we play.

"Better land use means cleaner lakes. That's just common sense," Falk said of the fund to be supported by $1.5 million in bonding. It will be part of the 2007 budget.

Falk said the Land and Water Legacy Fund will build upon the successes of the Conservation Fund by supporting efforts to keep the county lands green and the county waters blue. Included is a provision to update more storm sewers so the garbage which often floats into the drains does not get into the lakes.

“We’re going to trap the trash,” Falk said.

County Board Chairman Scott McDonell said the actions to be supported by the fund are especially important to the rural areas. “Here in Dane County, we still have the ability to protect our streams, rivers and lakes if we move aggressively,” McDonell said. “As development continues in the rural areas of Dane County, these measures can help ensure that we do not erode the quality of our water resources.”

Supervisor Brett Hulsey, chairman of the County Lakes and Watershed Commission, said the fund taps several core values.

“Protecting the most important areas for water quality, helping landowners do the right thing, protecting our families from floods, providing more public access, and practicing what we preach,” Hulsey said. “We are building on programs we know that work and others we know are needed.”

Supervisor Kyle Richmond, chairman of the Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, said smarter use of land is vital now to handle changes in population. “Part of good planning for population growth is protecting all aspects of our environment," Richmond said."This new fund will integrate our protection efforts, tying how we treat the land to the quality of our water."

The Land and Water Legacy Fund will include a Purchase of Development Rights option for landowners seeking to protect and restore waters while continuing to work the land. Another provision will enhance public access for the Yahara Water Trail, creating the basis for a larger water trail system in Dane County. "That includes park and paddle sites," Falk said.

The fund also will regulate the land-spreading of septage and pilot the use of pervious surfaces and green roofing techniques at county facilities.

Other key fund elements include:
· Funding land practices such as buffers and native plantings to prevent sediment and nutrient discharges into the lakes
· Create a North Mendota E-Way and other wetland restoration in the Lake Mendota watershed. These practices will improve flood control and infiltration, and stop pollutants from entering the Yahara Chain of Lakes.
· Building upon the work of the Dane County Water Classification Study, identify gaps in current regulatory programs -- including shoreland zoning requirements that go beyond the state minimums.
· Expand access to streams for public fishing and fish habitat improvement.

Falk and the county board members also are asking for a Lakes and Watershed Commission study of the possibility of periodic lake trash pick up.

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