Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A ramble down Nautilus Point Park greenway


A greenway runs north from Nautilus Point Park, opposite Oakwood Village on Madison's West Side.  It surrounds and protects a small stream that runs between Island Drive and Nautilus Drive.  There's a sign saying it's a "Conservation Park," but it's not listed on the City's website as any of the conservation parks.

On May 17, I took a short ramble down the greenway, along the stream.  It's tough going--there's no path, sometimes the banks to the stream are steep, and you have to climb over fallen logs.

But I was rewarded with many wild animal tracks.

...and a few woodland wild flowers, like this trillium.

Coyote track, the size of a mid-sized dog's.  Coyotes use greenways, streams, and lakeshores to travel about town unseen.

This stream suffers from the ills of most urban streams--too little flow when it's not raining, and too much when it does rain.  This causes bank erosion during rain, plus lack of vegetation and wildlife from the dry times.

Hiking back to my car parked on Masthead Dr., I could see some magnificent oaks bordering the greenway.

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This greenway has infestations of garlic mustard and buckthorn.
See all the photos here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Today, we learned that Governor Scott Walker intends to issue an Executive Order to completely restructure the DNR in a way that will protect polluters and prevent public input.

Of all the attacks we've seen on natural resources so far this session, this one takes the cake – by far.

The DNR is the agency that implements and enforces the laws that protect the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the places that make Wisconsin special. Under the proposed new structure – all of those things are in jeopardy.

Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's story here and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters' press release here."

Thanks to Jennifer Giegerich, WI League of Conservation Voters

Friday, May 13, 2011

How I became a woodland gardener

If you have lots of shade, and no money for plants--
here's an easy method.

I used to have a traditional yard--almost entirely grass, with shrubs around the edges.

Along the side, between my house and the next, it was very shady. Grass would hardly grow there, but the weeds did. I’d mow it twice in the summer to lop off the scraggly weeds. The mower would kick up clouds of dust--I’d have to hold my breath. In the fall, I raked leaves--creating more clouds of dust.

My yard (right) used to be as barren as the left side of the fence.

Every springtime, I noticed lots of violets had colonized since mowing last fall. They were pretty--it seemed a shame to mow down all those pretty flowers. Gradually it dawned on me--maybe the violets were better than dust and weeds, mowing and raking.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Meeting scheduled for Parman Place development

Thursday, May 12, 2011, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Edgewood College, 1000 Edgewood College Drive
Anderson Room of Predolin Hall

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clean Water Act Definition of "Waters of the United States"

"Americans depend on clean and abundant water. However, over the past decade, interpretations of Supreme Court rulings removed some critical waters from Federal protection, and caused confusion about which waters and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. As a result, important waters now lack clear protection under the law, and businesses and regulators face uncertainty and delay.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Don't miss this talk on new technology in urban forestry!

The Urban Forest is Broken: Solutions for a Pending Crisis
6:30pm, Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Bethany Evangelical Free Church, 301 Riverside Dr., Madison

Large Trees, Suspended Pavement & Stormwater Management will be discussed by Peter McDonagh

Madison's air has high levels of particle pollution

The American Lung Association said the Madison area is one of the worst places* in the country for particle pollution in the air, according to a new study.

Many pounds of mud per tire
Construction sites are a major source of dust in the air.  When vehicles leave construction sites, they lay a track of mud that lasts for miles.  The mud turns to road dust--soon becoming air pollution.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 Plant Dane! Cost-Share Program: Order Now

The Plant Dane! cost-share program provides native plants at reduced prices to help you establish rain gardens, native plantings and prairie restoration.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dane Co announces award of PARC grants

Dane County Partners for Recreation and Conservation (PARC) 

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Board Chair Scott McDonell announced today the county will partner with local communities and non-profit organizations on a projects to improve tourism, outdoor recreation, and conservation.

Conservation grants announced by Dane Co. Environmental Council

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and the Dane County Environmental Council announced $11,800 in grant awards for 12 projects that restore natural areas and promote conservation in Dane County. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why the Odana infiltration project is so complicated

The Odana project defies description.  The complication comes not so much in the pipes, but in the concept behind it--swapping water all over the watershed, like a carnival shell game. 

When you see something this complicated, you are probably looking at an obsolete technology.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Groundwater at Odana exceeds standards for salt

The Cogen Plant.  Power plants are the largest user of water in the US, after agriculture.

The Cogeneration plant on the west side of the UW campus is allowed to withdraw large amounts of water from Lake Mendota, based on a complicated swap agreement with DNR.

That agreement called for an infiltration field at the Odana Hills Golf Course, where up to 60 million gallons a year of stormwater are pumped into the soil.  Background.

One of the problems with this agreement is that the water being pumped into the soil is rather salty, due to overuse of road salt in the area. Several test wells in the area show levels of salt over the Enforcement Standard.  In other words, the groundwater is starting to become polluted with salt.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fish Kill observed at Odana Pond, vultures feast

Spring runoff from urban areas is so salty that it's toxic to fish.

On April 1, six carp were found dead next to one of the ponds in Odana Hills Golf Course. Eleven vultures were loitering about, having finished with all the carp reachable from shore (vultures don't swim).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Governor dedicates "Mt. Walker Ski Resort"

Mt. Walker on the UW Campus--to be the site of a new ski resort.

Today on the west side of the UW Campus in Madison, Governor Walker was the star of a gala ceremony. It was the dedication of a new ski, golf, and ice fishing resort, on the shores of scenic University Bay.