December Board Meeting Minutes

Friends of Starkweather Creek

Board Meeting


Meeting notes


Parks Report – Deborah is completing the report to Parks. Last piece that is needed is a survey of the group to see if anyone used the canoes for personal use. No one except Carl and he emailed Deborah already.


Solstice Celebration – Event starts at 4:00 with drummers. Parking at Olbrich Gardens is allowed. Fire will be lit at 4:30. Lance and Doug will be there early.


Miles Varna Contact – wants to volunteer to do some GIS mapping. Contacted us through facebook. Lance will follow up with him.


Revolution Cycle Meeting – Art event last Friday night. FSC received $50 in donations at the event. Good partner group. Opportunity to partner on extending the bike path to Sun Prairie. Need more representation at their meetings. is leading the charge. Jeff at Revolution is the contact. Dave will set up a meet up.


2018 Madison FUN Calendar and Events – Paul passed out a 2018 draft events list. Good year last year with lots of events.


2018 Events are at

Starkweather Outings (Draft)

January 20 – Deborah Crabtree – sledding and hot chocolate

February 17 –

March 17 – Jeff Steele: Spring Phenology Signs

April 21 –

May 19 – Jeff Steele: Woodland Ephemerals

June 16 – Tom Murn: Nature Lives in the City

July 21 – Lance Green: Monitoring the Creek & Critter Viewings

August 18 – Biking the creek

September 15 – Carl Landsness: Canoeing Starkweather

October 20 – Tom Murn: Autumn Traces of Nature

November 17 –

December 15 –


Treasurer Report:

$1,000 Annual meeting

$     50 Revolution Cycles

$ 160 Mailing

$   60 renewals

$1,270 Total


2018 Meeting Dates: keep the third Tuesday. Lance will book the Goodman Center.


Darbo-Worthington Proposed Canoe Access – $35,000 is available build canoe/kayak access for the neighborhood. Marsha Rummel requested a letter from our group to the Mayor to say how good this would be for the neighborhood. Lance will write a letter in support of a canoe launch. Carl will think about setting up a meeting with the neighborhood.


Garver Construction – access to the creek during construction. Last nature outing was forced out into the wetlands. Carl will reach out to the project manager for Baum and take a walk to see where the access is blocked. Lance will put it on the agenda for the meeting with the city.


Spring Planting Project – Feb 1st application deadline to get native plants for our plantings. Pictures need to be taken. More plants are needed where the fall planting happened in 2017. Early January subgroup should get together to decide on sites. Jeff, Dave, Deborah, and Carl want to be on the subgroup. Jeff is on the Eken Park Neighborhood Association and will approach that group to see if we can do a joint planting.


Meeting adjourned at 8:27


Friends of Starkweather Creek

2017 Annual Meeting

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Come Hear about FUN and SCIENCE on Starkweather Creek!

Goodman Community Center
149 Waubesa St, Madison

Co-Chair Dea Larsen-Converse will present our past year’s activities

Co-Chair Lance Green will present on the creek’s health

We will elect board members

All are welcome to help plan and direct our next year’s actions

Drinks and refreshments for all!

Thanks for your support!

Here’s video taste of our adventures this year:

Paddling Adventures

FYI & FSC Cleanup and Paddle up Starkweather Creek

Goodness, FSC, & FYI did some action on the creek on Earthday; they got kids out in nature! Zack from FYI at The Goodman Community Center ensured kids and teens from four community centers got together and cleaned up trash along Olbrich beach. There was a well deserved paddle up Starkweather Creek. Some of the many community champions were, Marquis Mason from Kennedy Heights Commuity Center, Jeremy Bulman from Vera Court Community Center, Deborah, Howard, and Zack rounded out the Goodman Staff.

It was a holy shift in community action! This was about half of us during this shoot…the rest were up the creek! Our flotation best buds have come through for us again. Wingra boats supplied us with six canoes & Rutabaga with four canoes. We had treats from Madison Sourdough, who donated their wonderful croissants & a ton of coffee!

We loved working and be together on the creek with each and everyone of you. Non traditional professional go-getter Dave & Deborah got ya moving!…The action went as such; you got in, a life jacket and paddle were handed to you, and before you knew it, a push…and you were moving up the creek, with no direction…just a shout “Find your hearts passion!” Left, right, up down, it didn’t matter, you were going up the creek…and on you went!

Co-conspirator native Chicagoan Mama Bear, paddled two of her boats down lake Monona to ensure they would get some use. Some great kids from Vera Court were up for the challenge. It was their first paddle. A moment of amazement was seeing Dave put a little eight year old, in a single kayak, by himself…was this a mistake? It sure seemed like it, when the little one paddled and crashed landed a few times on the Olbrich side of the boat landing and wasn’t able to turn left or right…His friends, three of them, cruised on at high speed, to leave him seemingly behind. An hour and a half later,,,there was this green missile shooting down the creek, laser sharp…15 miles and hour…maybe 20! It was this same kid, with a big gleaming smile on his face…huffing and puffing he was moving so fast, an he blasted his friends out of the water with his new found skill!

There was only one dunking, and that was due to the flow with native son Carl’s bright and enchanting spirit on his birthday, nonetheless…he was outfitted without a paddle and went up the creek in the joy of the sun and the spirit of mother nature…to return to Mama Bear. With a big gleam in her eye, and Dave listening to the flow of the river, who seemed to be asking for their friend back to the water…up went the canoe! Splash!!! the canoe back over…Carl missing from it…laughter…here is your board members two dreamers and shenanigan artists Carl and Dave; sharing in a good cleansing laugh 🙂 Make sure to vote for this activist Mr Carl, for an upcoming Chair seat at our annual meeting coming up in October! No worries, these three know how to have a safe and fun time, the 60 degree water ensured, it was a quick event.

Anyway…we had some much fun, and so many more stories to tell! What an event! Great unity from our community and groups. Come out and ask us more about the fun we have.

We love working with you and the passions you share with us…and we especially enjoy sharing time with you. It is so great to see the difference all of us together are making…enthusiasm & all! 🙂

April Nature Canoe Outing

Another fun event. Thank you for everyone that came out. This wouldn’t have been possible with out the generous donation from Wingra boats, who donated six canoes for our use! Our good friend Billy, donated his time to get the canoes to us, four separate trips and a cleaned garage! And not to mention, all the other folks who lent a boat, a paddle, a life-jacket, or tried like all heck to squeeze a canoe into their car to our event!

“Squack, squack, squack.”
“Is that your shoes Ms Deborah?”
“They must be soaked?”
“That’s why I wore them…Wait!!! Is that Carl & Dave running down Atwood Avenue with a canoe and paddles!? Gosh…did they steal that canoe…just to make sure we got everyone on the creek!?”
“Here Ms Deborah…It’s the last canoe…”
“Wow!!!…nice running Dave!”
“I’m Don Quixote today! And I am going on this…the last of the canoes…with these fine young folks who waited so patiently!”
“Alright Carl….Enjoy!”

If you missed the event today, we had a whole lot of community unity to get forty-five people up the creek! It is for our monthly FUN event that we partner up with City parks, the Goodman Community Center and Friends of Starkweather creek. Kids from the Goodman Community Center’s after-school program joined along with people from all around the city. Some canoes had two people and some had four in them! It was a 70 degree mid-morning day, with a great bunch of folks to spend time with, on a paddle.

No one dumped their boat that we know of…and people were nice enough to pick up trash they found in, on, and around the banks. Some took a short ride, and some took a long one. To hold true to the name, we had a cursing good time! If you don’t know what happened to Ms Deborah’s shoes, and where the heck Carl & Dave took the canoe from…make sure to come out to our next adventure…and see what mischief you can get into with them! 🙂

February Nature Walk

What happens when you get a sunny 50 degree day in February, with half
of the FSC board and 14 people total and a few dogs??? A tree
crawl…no beer needed. Don’t let Sean Gere fool you with his Clark Kent
glasses…he is a super hero for the trees!….he has over 26 years
experience, teaching, learning and sharing his knowledge with people
from all Around the world. Sean Gere explaing about the trees he loves

Sean helped us identify about 25 to 30 different species of trees;
he shared in showing us the different characteristics of the buds, how to
identify them…and just some good ol’ tree rules of thumb! Carl, Dave &
Deborah rounded out the remaining board members…the usual suspects as
of late. Who wants to eat some seeds!

Since Dave is easily distracted on a warm day…he decided to join the
kids in throwing sticks as far as they could in Worth Park’s open
field, next to the bike path. The kids and Deborah worked on daring each other into eating
some of the tree seeds that they found on the ground, from the previous two
seasons. When it became time to move, the kids felt like helping mother
nature melt the snow by, making sure the ice made its way down the storm
drain….jamming as much ice as they could in there!…this left mother
nature to share the gift of calming winds & bright warm rays on our faces.

The walk ended before we hit Milwaukee street! As everyone else went
back to Goodman, Carl, Deborah and the kids started a new adventure;
they went seeking out one tree…this one tree is visited every time
Carl takes you on a tour…it’s a very special tree in the watershed This tree has many stories, which these kids can tell you about!

January nature walk

Monthly nature outings at Starkweather Creek are a great way to explore this local, urban gem! Outings each month vary, but thus far have included canoeing, biking, sledding, and hiking. A handful of us stepped out into the Starkweather Watershed last Saturday for what seemed like a spring-like walk…it was nearing 50 degrees and melting snow created puddles that were knee-deep…the kids who joined us had a blast splashing in them.

We meandered through the little trails near the Milwaukee Street area; this particular area is great because it is the perfect blend of an urban environment and nature — housing in the visible distance leads to tree lined trails and the creek. On one of the trails, we came across had vine-like branches that hang down, 50 feet tall & strong enough for adults to swing on! Continuing on, the trails takes us near Fair Oaks, which made for an adventurous crossing as we slid our way haphazardly in rubber boots and shoes across a natural ice skating rink that Mother Nature had created for us. Join us on a future outing, which occurs the third Saturday of every month from 10-11:30 AM, meeting at the Goodman Community Center. Check out our events calendar for upcoming events!

Canoe Racks

Hi all, check this out fundraiser out we are working on Canoe Racks

We are raising funds for a publicly accessible canoe rack near the Olbrich Playfields at the outlet of the creek! The racks will be built and maintained by City of Madison Parks Department. Some of the twelve racks will be dedicated to canoe storage for Friends canoe tours and clean up events. The rest will be available for rental from the public. Please help us meet our goal of $800.

The Friends of Starkweather Creek lead events on the creek each year, including free public tours, creek cleanups, and a kids camp in partnership with Goodman Community Center. We currently rely on the generosity of boat rental companies and volunteered labor to haul canoes to the public boat launch.

Canoe outing

The City of Madison Parks Department has arranged to build and install a rack at the boat launch near the Olbrich Playfield, in exchange for a reduced donation. This means that we won’t have to limit tours based on the availability of canoe trailers or rented equipment. Racks will greatly reduce the labor involved in hosting tours, allowing us to host events more regularly. Thanks to the partnership with Goodman, having a canoe rack would help us get kids out onto the creek. It’s a win-win!

$500 will go towards the boat rack (reduced from $1,000). $300 will go towards Friends of Starkweather Creek rental costs (also 50% discounted) for the first year.

If we raise more than our goal, funds could go towards life jackets, paddles, equipment storage, as well as towards making this program sustainable for future years.

FreshWater Engineering Report on Starkweather Creek

Friends of Starkweather Creek is proud to have worked with the City of Madison Engineering and FreshWater Engineering to produce an updated report on sampling for toxicities on the creek.

Here is a link to the draft report. Draft Final Semipermeable Membrane
Device (SPMD) Water Quality Sampling Study of Starkweather Creek

The original sampling for the Water Resources Management report, Starkweather Creek Watershed: Current Conditions and Improvement Strategies in an Urban Context, showed the worst water quality in a golf course ditch and a site immediately downstream of the airport. The third most toxic location after the ditch and airport was a site near Milwaukee Street.

The updated sampling compared the 2005 study to the current 2016 study and found that

“water quality has improved in all sampling site locations except for the “East Towne Mall” location. Considering toxicity, the primary area of concern is the “Golf Course Ditch” location. This is by far the area where the water quality is the worst. This water within the creek throughout this reach is standing water during base conditions with little to no flow. The airport is also a concern for pollution as the results show that between the above and below airport testing sites, there is a 55% light reduction over approximately 3.5 miles of creek length. The land adjacent to this length of creek is owned and operated by the Dane County Regional Airport and though it’s still in poor condition compared to the rest of the creek, this reach has shown improvement since the 2005 study.

Interest in the Kipp Corporation’s effluent discharging into Starkweather Creek was brought up as a
potential source of contamination to the creek…. However, from the background research that was reviewed and the results of the SPMD analysis, there is no noticeable increase in (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) PAHs downstream of the Kipp Corporation. Sample analysis indicates, the Kipp Corporation effluent does not decrease the water quality in Starkweather Creek or contribute additional PAHs to the waterbody.”

We will post the final report when it is ready.

Water Advocacy