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4 weeks ago

Friends of Starkweather Creek

Sept. 15 Madison FUN Outing –
Flooded Wonderland or Now-Future Nightmare?

We were shocked and amazed by frightening and sometimes striking scenes on our Bike Tour Saturday, Sept. 15. Carl Landsness, Lance Green and Doug Johnson, all FSC Board members, led a small group on another monthly Madison Friends of Urban Nature adventure.

We pass by a house still surrounded by sandbags as our wheels splash through the creek water rising over the path in OB Sherry Park. Crossing the bridge to Ivy St, we spot a large Blue Heron in the now re-filled wetlands just behind the houses. At Dixon Greenway, storm sewer water filled the usually three-stepped run-off structure, where it would usually drop most of its sediment burden.

We found this wrong-way flow all the way up both branches to Milwaukee St. Even the usually quick current of the West Branch at East Washington Ave was at a standstill, with floating cans, bottles and bags just waiting to move downstream.

On the East Branch we see a downed tree blocking paddling upstream 50 yards from the Milwaukee St bridge.

Everywhere the water was green, filled with duckweed, algae, curly pondweed; thick plant growth spawned by giant surges of nutrients from so many storm-sewer drains. Again paddling looked impossible.

Crossing over the East Wash spiral bridge, the native plantings we did last fall were drowned, probably sacrificed to the flood. A familiar voice calls “Hey you guys!” across the creek, and we ask Jeff Steele, fellow FSC Board member to take our picture.

The raingarden we planted this spring in Washington Manor Park survives, but grasses have taken over much of the space.

Riding over the Hwy 30 and creek bridges, we enjoy the serene wooded path through the Carpenter-Ridgeway Neighborhood up to MATC.

We pass by the restoration work done near Straubel St, where locals have been concerned about herbicide use. Our last stop is the MATC Challenge Ropes Course, where course manager Jeff Messer encourages us to arrange a team-building event there.
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4 weeks ago

Friends of Starkweather Creek

Garver Feed Mill circa 1960s.
Note absence of present park building, most of the gardens, and green space in the North Plat, here still mostly paved.#garverfeedmill circa 1960's aerial photo
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