The Friends of Starkweather Creek is a citizen’s group dedicated to the enhancement of the watershed’s environmental quality. We seek to raise public awareness and appreciation of the creek through education and outreach to watershed residents, businesses and landowners and we will serve as advocates for sound watershed planning and management practices.
The mission of the Friends of Starkweather Creek is to work for a healthy urban stream and to benefit the community through stewardship, education, and advocacy.
Covering 23.9 square miles (15,300 acres), Starkweather Creek Watershed is the largest in the City of Madison.
The watershed includes parts of the Towns of Madison, Burke & Blooming Grove. It drains into Lake Monona. The Starkweather Watershed, created by the retreat of the glaciers at the end of the last ice age, likely evolved into prime oak savannah uplands with extensive wetlands.
Between 1911 & 1922, large sections of the creeks were channeled, straightened, and dredged for farming, industrial, commercial, and eventual residential purposes.
Draining the wetlands, straightening the channel, and paving large areas of the watershed changed the nature of the creek. The landscape is no longer able to absorb rainfall or snow melt, so floods happen more frequently and with greater intensity. When it is not raining, the base flow rate is lower than it once was because most of the springs that once fed the creek are not being replenished.