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


June 04, 2003
Sue Jones, Watershed Management Coordinator, 267-0118
County Executive

Honorees to be saluted at ceremony on Friday, June 20 as part of annual Yahara Lakes Week Celebration The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission will honor outstanding contributions to protecting Dane County waters with the 2003 Dane County Waters Champion Awards on Friday, June 20 at the Madison Monona Terrace Hilton Hotel. The reception begins at 5:00 p.m. and the awards presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. The awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations whose commitment to Dane County’s water resources and whose work on their behalf has made a positive difference in protecting and improving water quality as well as the scenic, economic, recreational and environmental value of those lakes and streams. Commission Chair Shary Bisgard will present the Awards to this year’s recipients: Gordy Sussman; The Heffron Company; Ken Johnson; and The Madison Fishing Expo. “These four outstanding recipients represent the kind of partnerships – among businesses, developers, water experts, government and conservationists – that are vital if we are to effectively protect and improve water quality,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “This is the second year the Lakes and Watershed Commission has honored Waters Champions, saluting the effective work going on in the County to preserve our precious water resources for future generations.” Gordy Sussman is the former owner and founder of Rutabaga Paddling Sports in Monona. Honored for his individual contributions, Mr. Sussman has enthusiastically supported a myriad of environment and water quality improvement projects including Paddle and Portage, Take a Stake in the Lakes, the Lussier Family Heritage Center and Capitol City Water Trails. His support of Capitol Water Trails has allowed that organization to organize as a non-profit and make a positive difference in the Maunesha, Wingra Creek, Sugar River and Token Creek watersheds. He has also supported projects along the Yahara River near Upper Mud Lake and the Nine Spring E-Way. Mr. Sussman’s generosity and love for the waters has brought thousands of citizens closer to the resources with appreciation, education and outdoor recreation in mind. Ken Johnson, being honored for his individual contributions, is the Lower Rock River Water Leader for the Department of Natural Resources. Working out of the South Central Regional DNR office, Mr. Johnson supervises five different water programs for the Lower Rock River Basin. He has brought his expertise and professionalism to numerous committees, work groups and challenges including: serving as a key member of the teams of water experts convened by County Executive Falk to recommend solutions to the water issues related to the MGE West Campus Co-generation facility; convening the Yahara Lakes Advisory Group to help with flooding issues within the Yahara River system; serving on a variety of facilitated educational groups to address water issues in Dane County, including the Upper Yahara River Study Group on navigational issues; and providing funding and support for development of Dane County's Thermal Urban Runoff Model, a key component of Dane County's award-winning Stormwater Management Program. The Heffron Company is a family-owned real estate development company with over 25 years of experience in developing residential subdivisions in Sauk, Dane and Columbia Counties. Under the leadership of president Daniel Heffron, the Company, which is being recognized in the business category, has taken the lead in promoting environmentally friendly approaches to development of land with special emphasis on stormwater management techniques. The Commission is recognizing the Company for its St. Francis Development, directly adjacent to Brewery Creek in Cross Plains. Working closely with the Dane County Land Conservation Department, The Heffron Company enthusiastically helped initiate a groundbreaking research effort connected with the project, aimed at determining in-stream water quality impacts on the sensitive Brewery Creek ecosystem. In addition, the Company developed and implemented stormwater and erosion control practices in the development that have effectively protected the Creek and its creatures. The Madison Fishing Expo began as an organization created by some everyday citizens who loved to fish, in order to provide education and information to anglers and to provide an opportunity to give back to the water resources that have provided each of them countless hours of enjoyment. Along the way, the Madison Fishing Expo has become one of the most generous and influential conservation groups, providing educational programs to consumers, programs for children, funds for resource protection, physical improvements to facilities, fish habitat improvements, and shoreline protection projects. Funds generated through the hugely successful annual Madison Fishing Expo are invested back into the community and the Expo has donated more than $425,000 and partnered with more than 50 different organizations on a wide variety of effective educational, restoration, safety and habitat protection projects. # # #