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2015 Update from Dane County

Joe Pasiri, Executive Director of Dane County

A message from Joe Parisi, the Dane County Executive, for the 2015 State of the Lakes Annual Report: 

From putting the finishing touches on a new system to convert countless gallons of waste and manure into clean water to investing in proven technologies, Dane County has been and will continue to be a leader in our efforts to clean up our lakes.

The challenges our lakes face today accumulated over decades and there is no cheap, simple, short term fix. Like all of the important work we do, sustained partnerships and a shared will to implement effective solutions will incrementally bring improvement and progress.

That progress is worth noting. Over the past five years, Dane County-led efforts–digesters, our storm water grants, and farm by farm conservation practices–have prevented over 12,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering our local waters. In more tangible terms, one pound of phosphorus is enough to grow 500 pounds of mucky green algae.

While miles of buffer strips are being planted separating fields from waterways and other important work happens on a regular basis with our partners in agriculture, innovation offers us incredible opportunity. We are beginning work on a nutrient concentration system, which will turn a brown watery by-product of the manure digestion process into clear potable water and remove 100% of the phosphorus.

Our incredibly popular stormwater outflow replacement program replaces decades-old sewer pipes that direct runoff from rains right into our lakes. The county’s Urban Water Quality Grant program has partnered with dozens of local municipalities on these projects. At the end of 2016, with financial assistance from the county, local municipalities will be stopping the flow of over 607,000 pounds of sediment, equivalent to 30 dump truck-loads and over 2,700 pounds of phosphorus, from getting into our lakes each year. We will continue to invest in this proven tactic.

While it’s imperative we continue to invest in long term solutions to address the root causes of what challenges our lakes, short-term strategic improvements ensure families can better enjoy these waters while our hard work progresses. That is why we are constructing “Clean Beach Corridors” at two Dane Country beaches, one at Lake Mendota County Park, the other at Woodland County Park. The concept behind these corridors is quite simple; it sets up a protected clean pool of water within a lake.

We must continue our investment, our work and our partnerships to clean our lakes. They are an imperative part of what makes Dane County such a wonderful place to live and visit.

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