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Parisi: Dane County Reaches Agreement to Permanently Protect 130 Acres Along Yahara River, Aid County Led Work to Clean Lakes

April 24, 2017
Josh Wescott 608-266-9069
County Executive

Purchase Aimed at Improving Water Quality, Reducing Phosphorus, Connecting Public Lands


Dane County has negotiated an offer to purchase and protect 130 acres north of Madison along the Yahara River, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.  The lands are located at the intersection of River Road and Highway 19 in the Town of Westport and will become part  of the Cherokee Marsh Natural Resource Area.


“Through this acquisition we’re forever preserving key river corridor and lands integral to the incredible work we’re doing to clean up our lakes,” Parisi said.  “People for generations to come will be able to access this area for outdoor recreation and enjoy these one-of-a-kind natural resources.”


Under the agreement, the county is purchasing 53 acres and protecting an additional 77 acres through a conservation easement with a local farmer.   The area is identified as a priority for county preservation in the 2012-2017 Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan.  Additionally, the property is adjacent to land Dane County acquired nearly two years along the Yahara River.


Included in the purchase is an old farmstead  along the river that used to have livestock, providing an opportunity for the county and partners interested in lake clean-up efforts to restore to grass vegetation for reducing run-off.


“This project connects previously acquired state and county owned lands, creating nearly 200 acres of contiguously owned public property in this vital watershed,” Parisi said.  “Acquiring and restoring property like this is a component of our multi-faceted approach to cleaning up our lakes and reducing phosphorus.”


The lands are being purchased and protected with dollars from the County’s Lake Preservation and Renewal Fund included in the County Executive’s 2017 budget.  The total project cost is $1.52 million. 


The proposed acquisition and easement will be reviewed by the Dane County Parks Commission and County Board committees this week with final approval anticipated in May.     

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