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County Executive's Office

Dane County to Purchase Land to Increase Public Shore Access, Provide Opportunities to Better Manage Water Flow in Yahara River

June 20, 2019
Ariana Vruwink (608) 267-8823
County Executive

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the county will acquire two waterfront properties next to Babcock County Park on the eastern shore of Lake Waubesa. The additional land will increase Dane County’s amount of publicly accessible shoreline by approximately 650 feet, offer additional space for park updates, and provide opportunities to better manage water flow through the Yahara River.

“These two property acquisitions will further our efforts to mitigate future flooding, improve water flow, and increase the public’s access to our water resources,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Babcock County Park is highly visited by Dane County residents and visitors, and we are excited to acquire these nearby properties to enhance its offerings.”

Earlier this year, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a five-phase project to improve water flow, flood storage capacity, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Yahara Chain of Lakes. Totaling 1.3 acres, these two parcels will give Dane County more flexibility in the planning, design, and construction phases of the proposed sediment removal set to take place in the Yahara River between lakes Waubesa and Kegonsa. Acquisition of these parcels will also help with equipment staging, dewatering, and other project components like design options that include habitat improvements and increased recreational access.

In addition, the two properties will benefit Dane County’s aquatic plant harvester program, which works to mitigate flooding in the Yahara Chain of Lakes. Right next to the shoreline of Lake Waubesa, the properties provide an ideal location to store Dane County’s aquatic plant harvesters between uses and improve program efficiency.

“I'm happy to introduce the resolution for this acquisition,” said Dane County Board Supervisor Patrick Miles. “This is a rare opportunity to, in the near-term, address flooding issues in a challenging location and increase shoreline access for park users in the long-term.”

Babcock County Park is located on the east side of Lake Waubesa at the outflow of the Yahara River in the Village of McFarland and the Town of Dunn on U.S. Highway 51. The park sees approximately 160,000 boat launch users annually, making it the most highly used launch in Dane County. Acquisition of these parcels will provide additional space needed for special events that require lake access, walk-on public winter ice access, and opportunities to make ADA accessible shore fishing improvements.

Dane County Parks, the Foundation for Dane County Parks, and several non-profit organizations have identified Babcock County Park as a premier location for a variety of shoreline accessibility improvements, including wheelchair boat access facilities, a kayak launch, fishing piers, and parking. These parcels will provide additional area for these accessible updates to be made.

The purchase price for the two parcels in the Town of Dunn is $1.6 million. A resolution to purchase the two waterfront properties next to Babcock County Park will be introduced at Thursday evening’s County Board meeting.

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