Pope Farm Conservancy Weathers Severe Spring Storms

Eighty-year old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Spillway Handles 5″ of rain in 3 hours on June 16


The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Spillway in Pope Farm Conservancy built in 1938 in cooperation with the Soil Conservation Service.  As it looked on 06.20.18

Sections of highway and stormwater infrastructure in parts of  northern and southern Wisconsin crumbled under the force of this spring’s storms.  In addition to damage to roads, homes, and property, eroded topsoil flowed to the nearest stream or lake.  Especially intense were downpours from Saturday June 16 through Monday June 18 when 10′ of rain fell in a short time in Bayfield County, Wisconsin and surrounds.


Looking north from the outlet of the CCC spillway from Blackhawk Road.  As it looked on 06.20.18

Meanwhile, the Pope Farm Conservancy spillway remains intact and the surrounding landscape undamaged.

The Pope Farm Conservancy in the Town of Middleton, of Dane County in southern Wisconsin is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the 105 acre Pope family farm.  The Pope Farm Conservancy  “sits on top of three recessional moraines in the Town of Middleton, Wisconsin, where three different watersheds come together. A 360 degree panoramic view of Lake Mendota, the Capitol and Madison’s west side can be seen to the east, the Black Earth Creek valley to the North, and the terminal moraine to the South and West.”  (About Pope Farm Conservancy)

The design, engineering, and construction of the 1938 spillway is a marvel and is still functioning as intended 80 years later. For more information about the spillway design, click here.  This longevity is even more remarkable since modern day storm water infrastructure often fails much sooner.

There will be m,ore about the Civilian Conservation Corps, this CCC project and the Pope Farm Conservancy in subsequent posts.

About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist, Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (#0093 SER) and writer living in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Civilian Conservation Corps, Pope Farm Conservancy, Storm water and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pope Farm Conservancy Weathers Severe Spring Storms

  1. Sandy Stark says:

    I saw that spillway on a tour one Fall. We should ressurect that design!

    • Steve Glass says:

      Yes, the design should, and could, be used more often. In fact, the entire Pope Farm Conservancy cares for and conserves the land in ways that are a model for land stewardship.

  2. Gary Shackelford says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’m pleased that you are giving the spillway at Pope Farm some well-deserved attention. Keep up the good work!

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