Accolades for Dane County Stormwater Management Programs
May 09, 2003
Sue Jones, Watershed Management Coordinator, (608) 267-0118
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
Minnesota Erosion Control Association and Wisconsin Extension Community Development Association recognize County program excellence
Dane County’s stormwater management efforts continue to receive statewide and regional recognition. The county’s stormwater management efforts recently received awards from the Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) and the Wisconsin Extension Community Development Association.
MECA noted in the awards presentation that Dane County’s Erosion Control and Storm Water Management Program is being used as a model for many communities across the United States to meet new federal requirements mandating the management of construction site erosion and sediment control.
Last August Dane became the first Wisconsin county to enact a county-wide ordinance protecting lakes, rivers and streams from stormwater runoff caused by new developments that have large areas of hard surfaces, such as parking lots, roofs and driveways.
“Stormwater runoff from urban and rural areas is the single biggest pollutant of our lakes and streams,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “Controlling this runoff was a top priority in Design Dane, my first land use plan.”
Falk said, “We are honored to receive these awards highlighting the excellent work that county staff have done, working closely with many partners, to create an effective program for managing stormwater to protect our lakes and streams.”
Sue Jones, Dane County Watershed Management Coordinator, said, “The importance of helping citizens understand the problems that stormwater can cause, and what they can do to help keep runoff clean, was also recognized by these awards.”
The Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) awarded its 2002 Storm Water and Erosion Control Achievement Award to Dane County for its innovative approach in addressing runoff pollution from urban development.
The MECA award was presented at MECA's 14th annual erosion control and stormwater management conference in Minneapolis. Jeremy Balousek, P.E., of the Dane County Land Conservation Department, accepted the award for Dane County.
Created in 1988, MECA is an organization comprised of contractors, suppliers, engineers and government agencies. Its goal is to promote effective erosion control and stormwater management.
The Wisconsin Extension Community Development Association recently bestowed its 2002 Quality of Communication Award for development of the Dane County Storm Water Information and Education Strategy for 19 communities in the Dane County area for their state stormwater discharge permit.
Dane County Lakes and Watershed, UW-Extension, and Regional Planning Commission staff were active participants in the joint permit group’s Storm Water Information and Education Committee that developed the plan. The team met monthly from November 2001 through the end of 2002 to develop the plan.
Cooperating communities that will benefit from the completed strategy 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.
Stormwater is untreated runoff from rainfall and snowmelt. It flows across impervious surfaces, through fields and over construction sites, crossing municipal boundaries and carrying contaminants to our lakes, streams, and wetlands. These contaminants can include sediment, excess nutrients, heavy metals, oil, pesticides and bacteria. The runoff can cause bank and channel erosion. Because runoff is often warmer than lakes and streams, it can raise their temperatures and degrade fish habitat.
Dane County’s stormwater management ordinance is also unique in requiring a temperature control on water running off of sites in an effort to reduce thermal pollution, which hurts cold-water trout streams.