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Be Salt Wise for Starkweather

Be Salt Wise for Starkweather

Starkweather Creek is the focus of a chloride management planning effort recently funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Over the past thirty years, chloride concentrations have increased in Starkweather Creek, an urbanized stream draining to Lake Monona. In 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources listed both the East and West branches as impaired by chloride.

In February, CARPC was awarded a DNR River Planning Grant to develop a Chloride Management Plan for the Starkweather Creek watershed. This project seeks to comprehensively address chloride use, both in winter deicing and in water softening. Throughout 2020, we will work on gathering chloride use data, monitoring chloride concentrations in surface water, and developing project goals and objectives. By the end of the year, we anticipate having a Chloride Management Plan that will help improve salt use tracking and promote the use of Salt Wise practices.

The Steering Committee, representing a variety of stakeholders within the watershed, will help in developing, supporting, and implementing this work. Lance Green, Co-Chair of the Friends of Starkweather Creek, is excited to be involved, saying that “this project is an important step in addressing our concerns regarding increasing chloride concentrations in Starkweather Creek and our drinking water.”

Members of the Starkweather Creek Chlorides Management Plan Steering Committee, along with CARPC’s Sarah Fuller, at their inaugural meeting on February 17.

In addition to Friends of Starkweather Creek, Wisconsin Salt Wise, City of Madison, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Public Health Madison and Dane County, The Bruce Company, Madison College, American Family Insurance, and DNR are also represented on the Steering Committee. With our initial meeting complete, and we will now begin estimating the amount of chloride used in the Starkweather Creek watershed. We’ll keep you informed with periodic project updates.

Beyond Starkweather Creek, other local projects in the Upper Sugar River, Badfish Creek, Yahara River, and Black Earth Creek watersheds received surface water grants (see full list of funded projects here). Altogether, DNR awarded just under $59,000 to regional projects. Congratulations to all the recipients! We appreciate your work improving our local waters.