May 2014

What's Inside:
Member Spotlight
Events Around the Watershed
Successful April Clean-up Day
USRWA Receives Two Grants
Portions of Sugar River impaired
Purple Loosestrife Control Underway
USRWA Promotes Rain Barrels
Opening on Board of Directors
Member Spotlight
Larry Kruckman

- USRWA Board Member since February 2014 and serves on the Fundraising committee

 

- Taught earth science and remote sensing at UW-La Crosse and helped to organize the campus' first Earth Day celebration

 

- Was a university professor of medical anthropology in the Pittsburg area for 30 years

 

- Part of several health-related and historical preservation boards

 

- Native of Mt. Horeb, WI and currently resides in his boyhood home

 
Events Around the Watershed

USRWA Board of Directors Meeting (public welcome!)
Monday May 12
7pm-8:30pm
USRWA Office
207 E. Main Street
Mt. Horeb, WI 53572

USRWA Sugar River Clean-up Day
Saturday June 21
9am-1pm
Meet at Paoli Park in Paoli

MMSD's Foresight Providing a Better 

Sugar River Watershed Today

 

In the 1990s, the Verona area was at a crossroads in terms of managing its wastewater.  The Verona Wastewater Treatment Plant was nearing capacity, and something needed to be done to facilitate the future growth of Verona while maintaining the environmental integrity of the Sugar River Basin.

 

Verona initiated a formal study to evaluate wastewater treatment alternatives.  The preferred alternative was to abandon the Verona Wastewater Treatment Plant and pump all wastewater to the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (District) for treatment.  However, the District's Nine Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant is located outside of the Sugar River Basin and this approach would have diverted over 3 million gallons of water each day away from the Sugar River Watershed and into the Yahara River Watershed.

 

Badger Mill Creek Cascade Aerator

There was significant concern on the part of the public about diverting water out of the Sugar River Basin and the negative impact that this could have on stream flow.  Based on input from the public and a Citizens Advisory Committee, the District spearheaded an innovative approach which was completed in 1998 to return the water to its rightful place. Today, Verona area wastewater is pumped to the District for treatment, then pumped back underground nine miles and returned into the Upper Sugar River Watershed by way of the Badger Mill Creek Cascade Aerator (pictured).  While this was not the lowest cost option for the District, it demonstrates their commitment to environmental stewardship.

 

This project is critical to maintaining the long term integrity of Badger Mill Creek as a fishery by maintaining a consistent base flow in the creek.  Recent fish survey information shows that Badger Mill Creek supports a thriving fish population, including brown trout.  In fact, Badger Mill creek is classified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a Class II trout stream. 

 

In April 2014 the District and the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA) met to explore partnership opportunities 

in the watershed.  Currently the District manages eight water quality testing sites along Badger Mill Creek and the Sugar River.  In 2015, Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA) hopes to assist and potentially take over these duties as part of a volunteer citizen monitoring program.  Other partnership opportunities will also be explored as a result of MMSD's continued support and membership with USRWA. 

 

For more information on MMSD's work in the watershed, please contact David Taylor, Director of Ecosystem Services, at davet@madsewer.org or call 608-222-1201.

April Sugar River Clean-up Day was a Success

Trash found in the Sugar River on April 19, 2014. Buckets and tires and tools, oh my!
Although the water was cold and the wind was blowing, 12 volunteers came out to help clean up the Sugar River on April 19th. With the help of Capitol Water Trails canoes and trailer, we 
were able to remove all sorts of trash from the river and carve out a paddling route from Riverside Road in Verona to the Paoli Dam just off of Highway 69 and County Road PB.  A good time was had by all!

Our next scheduled volunteer clean-up days are June 21 and July 12 from 9:00am-1:00pm.  Volunteers can expect to get a little dirty, so a pair of old shoes and quick drying clothes are recommended.  If you're interested in volunteering for future clean-up days or other things to help USRWA, please email usrwa@usrwa.org
 
View pictures from the clean-up day on our Facebook page.
USRWA Receives Two Grants in April 
  • Dane County Environmental Council's Capital Equipment Grant program awarded USRWA $731 to purchase new equipment to add to our successful volunteer water monitoring program.
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources awarded an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Control Grant to implement our published Five-year AIS strategic plan. This grant falls under the Education, Prevention and Planning sector provided by the WDNR.
Read more about both grants on our News & Blog page at http://usrwa.org/news
Portions of Sugar River Listed as Impaired by WDNR

During the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study of impaired waterways for 2014, a portion of the Sugar River starting at Frenchtown Road in Belleville and stretching south of Broadhead in the Lower Sugar River Watershed.  This is due to "total phosphorus sample data exceed(ing) 2014 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use."  Although this may seem like a bad thing on the surface, one of the reasons the Sugar River was added to the impaired waters list was due to the work of volunteer water quality monitors in both the Upper and Lower Sugar River Watersheds.  This helped to bring attention to the river and make it a priority moving forward.

Three waterways were assessed by the WDNR for potential impairment in the Upper Sugar River Watershed, including Badger Mill Creek, Henry Creek and Sugar River.  Badger Mill Creek and Henry Creek, both formally listed on the impaired waters list but removed in 2002 and 2006 respectively, were not found to be impaired in 2014.  
 
Learn more about the impaired water around the state, go to the WDNR Impaired Waters webpage.
Purple Loosestrife Control Project Underway 

Not sure what's happening in this picture? Go to our News & Blog page to find out!
As part of our new aquatic invasive species grant from WDNR, USRWA has begun work to help control Purple Loosestrife in the Lake Belle View area in Belleville.  To control this invasive plant, USRWA will be employing the help of a biocontrol beetle raised to eat Purple Loosestrife.  Mt. Horeb High School will help to raise the beetles on Purple Loosestrife plants (shown) and after reproducing they will be released into the Lake Belle View area around mid-June.
 
To learn more about USRWA's effort, go to our News & Blog page.
USRWA Helps City of Verona to Promote Rain Barrels

USRWA had one of its spare rain barrels on display at the City of Verona Library from April 4 through April 21 to help promote the presentation "Using Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens to Promote a Healthy Landscape."  The presentation was on April 21 by Marty Cieslik, with over 30 people attending. After the presentation a drawing for the rain barrel was held and given to the lucky City of Verona resident. 
 
Although USRWA no longer sells rain barrels, they are available at many local stores including Menards and Farm & Fleet.
Volunteer Help Wanted: Opening on USRWA Board of Directors

Currently there is still an opening on the USRWA Board of Directors and we are accepting applications.  Being on the Board allows you to have a part in shaping the organization first hand and help to carry out the mission of the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association.  

Board members are required to attend board meetings once per month, participate on a committee(s) and be a current member of USRWA.  If you are interested in filling out an application or would like to learn more, please contact Wade Moder at usrwa@usrwa.org or call 608-437-7707.
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