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Yahara Lakes 101: Pheasant Branch Conservancy

August 12, 2020 @ 8:00 am 9:00 am

2020-08_YL101_header-web update

Yahara Lakes 101

Join us for this ONLINE edition of Yahara Lakes 101 to learn about the issues that impact our lakes!

About this Talk

In this month’s talk, we’ll hear from representatives of the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Dane County, and City of Middleton about the recently purchased, 160-acre farm directly north of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The property acquisition is the largest conservation preservation investment in Dane County’s history, costing nearly 10 million dollars.

Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a natural area owned by the Dane County Parks Department, the City of Middleton, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The area is also host to the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, a dedicated group focused on restoring, protecting, and promoting the conservancy as an ecological whole. The conservancy is a natural area made up of many types of diverse habitats, including wetlands, prairies, and forests. Home to a wide variety of animals and plants, the land contains the headwaters of a stream which flows into Pheasant Branch Creek before it reaches Lake Mendota.

Restoring the additional Dane County property to natural prairie will help to improve infiltration of rainwater into the ground. Prairie plants often have better root systems than crops, allowing prairies to absorb the rainwater where it falls instead of running off into the nearest waterway. The deep root systems also hold soil in place, which reduces the amount of sediment lost with runoff. Dane County expects to prevent more than 2.6 million gallons of runoff each year through increased infiltration into the natural landscape.

About our Speakers

County Executive Joe Parisi has called Dane County home his entire life. Joe sought out public service as a way to give back to a community that has given so much to him. Joe was first elected as County Executive, the chief elected leader of Dane County, in 2011 after 6 years in the State Assembly and 8 years as Dane County Clerk. Joe’s priority is to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the opportunity to succeed. He believes investing in people pays big dividends. Joe knows this can work because he experienced it. As a teenager, Joe dropped out of high school. He was encouraged to return to education through a community program by people who believed in him. So he worked to earn his GED and went on to MATC (now Madison College) and graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in sociology. Now Joe believes it is his turn to give back to ensure that our children’s generation has access to the same opportunities that were available to him.

Lloyd Eagan (Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy) graduated from Smith College with a degree in Environmental Biology and moved to Madison – the birthplace of limnology – to pursue a master’s degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. After several water quality planning jobs, she became Dane County’s FIRST Lakes and Watershed Coordinator. She spent nearly 35 years working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, serving more than six years as the regional director of the south-central region, and for the final two years of her career she returned to her water roots and served as Water Leader for the southern half of Wisconsin. She currently serves as the co-president of the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy.

Mark Wegner (Assistant Director for Conservancy Lands/Forestry for the City of Middleton) is leading the response and recovery effort from the 2018 flooding for the Public Lands Department. Over the past 10 years, Mark has overseen Middleton’s response to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in a proactive response that diversified the urban forest of Middleton. In his spare time, Mark is an aspiring tri-athlete. The Middleton Public Lands, Recreation & Forestry Department is responsible for over 1,100 acres of park and conservancy land, 27 miles of multi-use paths, and comprehensive recreation programming for the community.  The Department is a 4-time gold medal finalist with the National Recreation & Parks Association and is home to the Wisconsin Parks & Recreation Association (WPRA) 2019 Recreation Professional of the Year and the 2019 Park Professional of the Year.

Event Details

This event will be held online via Zoom. 
The online talk is free and open to the public. A link to access the talk LIVE will be sent to all registered attendees ahead of the event.

Yahara Lakes 101 Lecture Series

Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues that affect our lakes. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences.

The series is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with presenting sponsors First Weber Foundation and Johnson Financial Group, monthly sponsor Hy Cite Enterprises, hosting sponsor The Edgewater, supporting sponsor National Guardian Life Insurance Company, and media partner the Isthmus.