Category Archives: Advocacy

Stewardship update

As spring unfolds amidst our own health concerns, we’re excited to tell you about some efforts to help our creek’s health.

Across the state, the threat of increasing chloride concentrations in surface and ground waters is growing. Under a DNR grant, the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission is conducting a Chloride Management Plan for the creek’s watershed. This pilot study will quantify chloride entering and leaving the watershed and develop practices to reduce chloride loads in addition to current WI Salt Wise Partnership efforts. Partners in the study include Madison City Engineering, Public Health and Sewage District, area businesses and our Friends group. Contact Board member Lance Green for more information.

Board member Jeff Steele is working with City Engineering to restore native plants in an area near Commercial Avenue. The City will help prepare the area and supply hundreds of plant plugs for volunteers to plant and maintain. Watch for our announcement for when you can come and help!

As you’ve heard, Starkweather’s West Branch is seriously contaminated with PFAS chemicals that are continually leaching from Truax field. These hazardous chemicals were sprayed on grounds near the Creek during many years of testing fire-fighting foams containing PFAS. The DNR is working with the airport, City, County and Air National Guard to characterize the locations and amounts of contamination and develop plans to reduce and hopefully eliminate this contamination. We are closely monitoring these efforts and hope to report on progress soon.

Although we aren’t holding our annual Earth Day spring clean-up, we encourage you to bring a trash bag as you paddle and explore areas along the creek. We can all take pride in our watershed as we clean up in celebration of the 50th Earth Day!

– Lance Green, Friends of Starkweather Creek board member and stewardship committee member

Sat. 3/7 tromp through the wetlands north of Amazon & voit proposals: 10 to noon

For a full-feeling exposure to the diverse wetlands (and uplands) north of the Amazon & Voit proposals & properties…
meet in the parking lot just N of the east metro transfer station (in front of former Swiss Colony) at 10am Sat. 3/7…
prepared to tromp through challenging terrain, brush, brambles, burrs, snow, water and trash.

This is not for everyone.

We will deeply tune in to the land…
asking it (and Mother Earth) what is needed to serve the heart & soul of both people & place (as I wrote city leaders below, embedding a FSC letter to Amazon).

We will also tune in to this vision for the area…
asking people & place for higher perspective & possibilities.

And we will expect magic & miracles to manifest…
like those of our 2/22/2020 tromp.

Sent: Friday, February 28, 2020, 3:01:02 PM CST
Subject: Friends of Starkweather letter to Amazon CEO re win-win ways with their Milwaukee St proposal and appeal

Dear Madison leaders and stakeholders in Amazon’s proposal for Milwaukee St distribution center,

Friends of Starkweather Creek (FSC) just sent the below letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos…seeking to appeal to hearts of humans in Amazon (vs. corporate facade and attorneys)…towards a win-win way with both people & place.

Some (not all) of the FSC board were concerned that the property owner appeal has a strong legal case…and that fighting the property owners and Amazon through a judicial process could lead to a major lose-lose scenario…for both people & place.

The below letter went through many revisions…seeking to honor many diverse inputs from board members and other select stakeholders…a hard, humbling but invaluable process.It reached a super-majority consent…but not complete consensus. 
We are working on a similar process re the controversial PFAS issues.

I/we welcome your inputs…to listen with giraffe ears on.

Carl Landsness
Starkweather native, invasive and FSC Co-Chair

Subject: A win-win potential for Amazon’s proposed distribution center in Madison WI
Date:  Fri, 28 Feb 2020 12:12:16 -0600
From:  Friends of Starkweather Creek <>

Feburary 28th 2020:

Dear Amazon leaders and liaisons for the Milwaukee St. proposal in Madison WI,

Friends of Starkweather Creek ( is a volunteer stewardship, education and advocacy organization for the 24 square mile watershed surrounding your proposal on Milwaukee St. in Madison, including a 40 acre wetland directly adjacent to your proposal. We (FSC) work with nearby community centers, schools, non-profits, for-profits and diverse neighborhoods (plus city, county, state and university resources) to serve & honor both people & place.

Your recent proposal for a parking lot at 3630 Milwaukee St. caught most stakeholders by surprise, including FSC.  It triggered anger and mistrust by many, because it appeared to sidestep public scrutiny and desires.
FSC wishes to better understand what you seek and explore win-win ways to work together.Your very noble Community Giving (, Sustainability ( and Bezos Earth Fund ( initiatives strongly appeal to us.

The adjacent wetlands are very abused and sensitive eco-systems, with major opportunities to model and inspire new and creative collaborations to restore or renew such urban eco-systems (in alignment with your noble initiatives).
We welcome a discussion with you well before the March 17 public hearing.

Carl Landsness
David Pulkowski
Friends of Starkweather Creek Co-Chairs
Post Office Box 8442
Madison, WI 53708-8442

To serve & honor both people & place

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.