Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

2023 Budget: Conservation

Parisi’s 2023 budget includes $3 million to study the feasibility of opening a commercial grade, community scale manure processing plant and funding to acquire a site for this potential development. Ending winter spreading will help reduce the phosphorus load. Society has ways to manage human waste at a community-wide scale. If the same principles are applied to animal waste, Dane County can substantively move the dial on cleaning area lakes in a way never previously conceived as possible.

Middleton Manure Digester

Parisi is including $2 million in the budget so Dane County can carry out its “Suck the Muck” initiative at Door Creek and its surrounding wetlands. Planning for the project will occur next year, with construction slated for 2024. This project will increase flood storage – allowing Dane County to further its ability to better manage lake levels during periods of high water – trap runoff and sediment, and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
The capital budget allocates $3 million for the Yahara Chain of Lakes Sediment Removal Project to continue in the coming year. Parisi is also adding two more fulltime dredging positions to ensure Dane County has the bodies necessary to continue prioritizing this work.

Dredge Harvesting Weeds

In 2019, Parisi started the Dane County Continuous Cover Program. To date, Dane County has converted nearly 2,000 acres into perennial vegetative cover. Those lands alone have helped trap 800 tons of carbon dioxide and stopped the flow of over 15 million gallons of rain run-off from racing toward area lakes and rivers. Parisi’s budget includes $2 million to continue Dane County’s Continuous Cover Program.
Parisi is allocating $10 million to the Dane County Conservation Fund for further acquisitions that help improve water quality and allow opportunities for prairie and wildlife restoration. The budget also includes $75,000 for the Department of Land and Water Resources to build upon its carbon trapping and tracking work in 2023.
The Department of Land and Water Resources recently secured a $1 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish what’s called a “demonstration farm network” in Dane County. The federal grant funding will start next year and pay for an agronomist, research, education, and outreach activities focused on conservation practices that reduce erosion, sediment build up, and nonpoint runoff.
Parisi’s budget allocates $2.5 million to construct phase two of the Lower Yahara River Trail, a section from Fish Camp County Park through Lake Kegonsa State Park. Construction is slated to start in July of 2023 and be complete sometime late fall of 2024. The Dane County community is nearing the day when residents can get a bike in Madison and pedal along the water to Stoughton.
Parisi is also adding $500,000 for what’s known as the Waucheeta Connector Trail, a connector to the Lower Yahara River Trail that will serve as an alternative to riding along Lake Farm Road.
Next year, Dane County communities and organizations will also be able to apply for the Dane County PARC and Ride Fund. These grants support development of regional bicycle trails that are identified in the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan. $500,000 will be made available in 2023.