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Waubesa Wetlands Watershed Report

Waubesa Wetlands Watershed Report

Graduate students in the Water Resources Management program at UW–Madison have a completed a report for CARPC and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) that assesses land use impacts in the Waubesa Wetlands watershed.

The Waubesa Wetlands, one of Wisconsin’s Wetland Gems, is a diverse complex of wetlands on the southwestern toe of Lake Waubesa. Two inlet streams, Swan and Murphy’s Creeks, flow through the City of Fitchburg and the Town of Dunn into the State Natural Area. Concern over future development’s potential impact on the streams and wetlands spurred creation of a Technical Advisory Committee in 2017.

With guidance from the Committee, the UW–Madison project monitored stream water quality, modeled potential future land use and climate change scenarios, assessed ecosystem services and engaged watershed residents. From this work, the group developed a set of recommendations for CARPC, WDNR, City of Fitchburg, and Town of Dunn:

  1. Restore wetlands along Swan Creek to enhance ecosystem services provided to Waubesa Wetlands
  2. Assess ecosystem services and preserve wetlands along Murphy’s Creek
  3. Continue surface water monitoring and build a comprehensive watershed dataset
  4. Install a USGS long-term monitoring site at Swan Creek
  5. Design and build for a changing climate in the Waubesa Wetlands watershed, specifically increased precipitation/flow and more extreme storm events
  6. Investigate climate change and land use effects on groundwater
  7. Educate new watershed residents about water quality and wetlands
  8. Sustain and build the Friends of Waubesa Wetlands

Learn more about the Waubesa Wetlands project on our water quality website and read the full report here. WDNR and CARPC expect to reconvene the Technical Advisory Committee in February to discuss these recommendations and how they can be implemented within the Waubesa Wetlands watershed.