Overuse of de-icing salt by Madison business

Contamination by salt has been steadily increasing in our lakes, groundwater, and drinking water. Several of Madison's wells already show levels of salt that cause concern.   The levels of salt we're already seeing in lakes and streams are enough to kill aquatic life.

West Washington Av.


UW lake scientist receives world's top water prize

"Noted University of Wisconsin-Madison limnologist Stephen Carpenter has been awarded the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize, the world's most prestigious award for water-related activities...."

The announcement was made in Stockholm on March 22.



Algae bloom slowed recovery from mass extinction, aeons ago

Most people around Madison are familiar with the idea that when you "over fertilize" our lakes with nutrients like phosphorus, it causes an algae bloom.  First the lake turns green-- then the algae run out of food and die.  Often fish die, because all the oxygen gets used up when the algae rots.

I've reported before how you can get algae blooms in the ocean.  These, too, sometimes cause die-offs.  For example, there's the "infamous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico created by farm runoff carried down the Mississippi River."

The mother of all algae blooms

A scientist at Stanford University, Katja Meyer, has been studying the Earth's largest period of extinction, which happened 250,000 years ago.  It's cause hasn't been pinned down for sure, but it may have been caused by a period of massive lava flows, which belched poisonous gasses and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Restore funds in State budget for recycling

More trash in dumps?  Not a good idea.

Governor Walker's budget bill aims to eliminate state recycling requirements and cut funding for recycling to local municipalities.  But that's a really bad idea.


Friends of Lake Wingra wins stewardship award

A Madison group, Friends of Lake Wingra, is the winner of the 2011 Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Award, in the Group category.

The award will be given at the Wisconsin Lakes Convention, at a banquet on the evening of Wed. April 13.


Meeting on Parman Place Development draws up to 100

On March 17 at 6:30 pm, an informal meeting of residents in the area was convened by Alder Brian Solomon at Edgewood College. The meeting focused on the proposed “Parman Place” Development at the corner of Glenway and Monroe Streets.


University snow dump could threaten Madison's aquifer

The University's snow dump is located close to an old dump.

The huge pile of melting snow on University property, near Picnic Point, is a potential threat to Madison's aquifer and water supply.


Yahara Watershed Celebration--March 31

March 31, 2011, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Lussier Family Heritage Center,
3101 Lake Farm Road, Madison

COME CELEBRATE the lakes.  Join us in thanking those that have worked to develop the Yahara CLEAN Report.

Learn how the lakes got to where they are, what’s been done and the many projects that are in the works to help the lakes.

We want to hear from you. Be a part of this special initiative to protect and improve the lakes that make Dane County such a special place.

Sponsored by the
Dane County Lakes & Watershed Commission
Reception sponsored by the Clean Lakes Alliance

Map of location.

Meeting for Pickford Street reconstruction

The City is planning to reconstruct Pickford Street from Gregory to Monroe streets during the summer and fall of 2011.  There will be a public meeting to discuss the plans:

Thursday March 17, 2011
6:30-7:30 PM
Predolin Humanities Center, Room #116
Edgewood College

All residents and occupants within the project limits have been invited.  The City has also invited the Friends of Lake Wingra, the Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association, and Arboretum groups.

If you have questions, contact City Engineer Janet Dailey at 261-9688 or at jdailey@cityofmadison.com .

Recent street projects in the area

Because Pickford Street is steep and slopes towards nearby Lake Wingra, erosion during construction is an important issue.  If construction isn't managed properly, muddy runoff could fertilize Lake Wingra, leading to toxic algae blooms and beach closures.  Recent reconstruction projects in the area have a mixed record for erosion control...

Edgewood Ave reconstruction by Speedway Sand and Gravel was a disaster, with several major spills of sediment to Lake Wingra. A environmental lawsuit was filed by citizens. We can't let something like this happen again!

The Gilmore Street reconstruction (Parisi Construction) went well, showing that good planning, innovative techniques, and attention to detail can make a big difference.

Lower Pickford St stormwater project.  There were some problems, including two 5-gallon buckets of sealing tar dumped in Lake Wingra, again by Speedway Sand and Gravel.  If Speedway isn't decertified from bidding, they may be the low bidder on this new project--and then we'd be stuck with a mess.

Find out about rain garden opportunities

Usually, when streets are reconstructed, the city will build a rain garden on your terrace if you volunteer, and share costs with you.  Find out at the meeting if your terrace may be suitable.

Link to map of project area.


Mountain of dirty snow threatens Lake Mendota

Dubbed "Mt. Walker," a glacier of garbage threatens nearby waters.

Out by Picnic Point on the UW Campus, there's a mountain of dirty snow 3 stories high.  The snow is trucked there from parking lots around the UW Campus, after major storms.


Gov. Walker's budget bill--bad for the environment

In the standoff over the budget bill, most people have focused on the part that strips public employees of their rights to collective bargaining.  But the 144-page bill contains many other bad ideas.  Here are two that would degrade our environment:

Power plant privatization

"The same budget bill calls for a rapid no-bid “firesale” of all state-owned power plants. One progressive blogger called the proposal “a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism” and suggested that the provision will open the way for large, politically connected corporations to buy up the state’s power plants on the cheap. While it’s unclear whether corporations would be interested in buying the plants, a similar proposal was vetoed six years ago by Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who called the plan fiscally and environmentally irresponsible. Many of Wisconsin’s power plants are in violation of federal clean air regulations and desperately need to be upgraded and cleaned up — not dumped into the private sector."

 Destroying wetlands

"In January, Walker’s proposed regulatory reform bill exempted a parcel of wetland owned by a Republican donor from water quality standards. But the exemption was more than just an embarrassing giveaway to a GOP ally: environmental groups believe the bill’s special provision would actually affect the entire county, eliminating public hearings on proposed wetland development, short-circuiting approval of development projects, and disrupting the region’s water system."

Read the whole article by Kevin Donohoe here.

More bad ideas in the bill

"The budget proposed by Governor Walker yesterday decimates a number of key conservation programs that help to drive Wisconsin’s economy."
  • "Eliminates state recycling requirements and all funding for municipality and county-run recycling programs;
  • Eliminates the grant programs that develop new renewable energy projects, encourage energy efficiency for businesses and green products for manufacturers;
  • Slashes general revenue funding to the Department of Natural Resources by 56% and 15.8% overall;
  • Eliminates the program to preserve farmland;
  • Allows for greater polluted runoff, including phosphorous, into waterways;
  • Slashes support for local transit by 10% while dramatically increasing funding for road-building;
  • Creates new restrictions for how the Stewardship Fund can be used that will undercut efforts to protect recreational and wildlife habitat from development."
From Anne Sayers, Program Director for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.