Wingra Watershed Pest Species Management Plan

In 2003 the Friends of Lake Wingra (FoLW) wrote a pest species management plan for the Lake Wingra Watershed.  The plan was submitted in partial fulfillment of a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Lake Management Planning grant awarded to the Friends of Lake Wingra (FOLW).

FoLW’s pest species management plan was intended to address a critical need for widespread participation of citizen and partner groups in the development of a comprehensive, integrated plan for the control of invasive species in the Lake Wingra watershed.  The pest species management plan was written by a committee, including Jim Lorman, Edgewood College; Tim Andrews, Edgewood College, Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong, UW Arboretum and Steve Glass, UW Arboretum, and David Liebl, UW Extension.   A .pdf of the full plan can be seen here: FOLW invasive plan

The plan recommended planning values and management principles for consideration by watershed residents, businesses and municipalities, and outlined a comprehensive, strategic approach to invasive species management in Lake Wingra and its surrounding watershed.   The plan recommended a range of management actions and  provided land managers, neighborhood groups and citizens with the tools for developing appropriate tactics to encourage native species and discourage pest species. The plan recommended short-term, mid-term and long-term management actions.

Ten years later, some recommended management actions have been implemented or are in process.  The City of Madison has taken steps to control populations of Canada Geese;  common carp have been almost eliminated from Lake Wingra; and many of the recommended storm water management actions have been taken.  Sometimes the actions have led to unintended negative consequences.  For example, carp removal from Lake Wingra achieved the goal of increased water clarity but this was achieved at the cost of increased aquatic weed growth due to more sunlight reaching the lake bottom.    The storm water management recommendations did not foresee that innovative green infrastructure approaches would be forsaken in favor of the old-fashioned “gray infrastructure” of culverts, cobbles, and concrete.

Another recommendation, to control purple loosestrife was implemented and, for a time, Purple loosestrife in the Edgewood Marsh on Lake Wingra was under control (but not eradicated).   However, in the last couple of years purple loosestrife has make a resurgence.   Buckthorn, honeysuckle, and garlic mustard still run rampant in the managed natural areas around Lake Wingra but are contained on private lands and on public spaces in the uplands away from the Lake.

And, on a big positive note, the goal of:

“Increased public, private and citizen participation in promoting a healthy Lake Wingra. Increased capacity for long-term collaboration and integration of planning and management among public, private and citizen partners on high leverage, site-specific invasive species infestations.”

is being realized by several small but energetic, citizen initiated and managed native plant garden demonstration projects along the SW Bike Path and in neighborhood parks.   Along the bike path there is the Odana Road Prairie,  the Westmorland Neighborhood Association prairie planting near Glenway and across Glenway is the DMNA prairie planting.  Further down the path is the Regent Neighborhood planting project at Prospect Avenue and the bike path.

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