Our topic today is ecological restoration and stream bank stabilization of urban streams– in this case the popular Pheasant Branch in Middleton, Wisconsin. The City of Middleton had previously restored and stabilized the bank of Pheasant Branch between Park Street and Century Avenue and has been praised for its use of ecologically sensitive techniques.
Pheasant Branch is an area rich in springs and groundwater seeps but is also afflicted by increasing volumes of storm water runoff and associated sediment and nutrient loads that eventually wind up in Lake Mendota. The City of Middleton could have chosen the easy, predictable, and inefficient, solution to storm water management, by building a series of storm water ponds and channelizing Pheasant Branch. Instead, the City used innovative bio-engineering techniques such as root wads, large woody debris and flow re-direction; ecological restoration techniques that favor insects, amphibians, and birds.
Birders in this mornings’ Madison Audubon Society warbler walk (PB is one of the most popular spots in Madison to view migrating spring warblers) got to see first-hand the work along this stretch of the Pheasant Branch stream corridor and bikeway.
If you want to see this stream bank restoration you can park your car at Parisi Park near where Park Lawn Street meets Park Street in Middleton, WI; or better yet, take a bike ride, or birding walk along Pheasant Branch.