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Investing in more construction erosion inspections

Erosion mat

Did you know that construction erosion is a serious and ongoing threat to our lakes? Controlling construction erosion is one of 14 recommended actions to reduce algae blooms in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction. It is also one of eight focus areas in Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward, Clean Lakes Alliance’s strategic operating plan.

With every failed, missing or improperly installed erosion-control measure, the risk of dirty runoff entering our lakes rises each time it rains. Whether this leads to a muddy street or a dirt-choked storm sewer drain, a mismanaged construction project can spell big trouble for water quality.

This month’s Clean Lakes Grants spotlight is on our new partnership with the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department. Through this new partnership, Clean Lakes Alliance is investing $10,000 to enhance the County’s site-inspection and contractor-education capabilities. The grant is being used to bring on a limited term employee to add to the County’s boots-on-the-ground inspection team. Consequently, it is estimated the number of inspections will increase by 30% on over 100 construction sites. Increased inspections means increased education and rule compliance, and THAT is good news for our lakes.

Clean Lakes Alliance is excited to support Dane County in this shared effort, but we need your help too. Are any construction projects occurring in your neighborhood? Visit our construction resources page to learn how to spot “lake-friendly” erosion-control measures and report problems.

If erosion control practices appear to be missing or in disrepair, or if you notice muddy water and sediment leaving or threatening to leave the site, contact your local inspector. Inspections teams appreciate knowing about potential problems and will investigate any reported concerns. Some municipalities, like the City of Madison, even offer online reporting systems where you can upload pictures.

Below are some numbers to call to report suspected problems. Thank you to Yahara Lakes Association for sharing this information in their last newsletter.

  • City of Madison (1-2 single family homes): call Building Inspection at 608-266-4551.
  • City of Madison (larger residential, commercial, industrial or institutional sites): call Daniel Olivares at 608-261-9285.
  • Shorewood Hills, Dunn, Westport, Pleasant Springs and Blooming Groove: call Dane County Land and Water Resources Department’s general number at 608-244-3730.
  • Maple Bluff, Middleton, Monona or McFarland: call the community’s main number, which you can find online.
  • If you are uncertain about the site’s location in the county, start with the Land and Water Resources Department at 608-244-3730.
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