Cleaning the Lakes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cleaning the Lakes

Madison (WKOW) -- We use them as a resource and for recreation.

  And Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk warns us to not take clean water in our lakes and rivers for granted.

  She wants 15 million dollars to clean up and protect the county's lakes and rivers.

  Dan Cassuto met with falk today and asked her about her budget proposal.

  15 million dollars is ambitious and it's personal for Kathleen Falk.

  Enjoyed by all:  Lakes, streams, and rivers in Dane County.

  They're the sparkling jewels of southern Wisconsin.

  But they are in danger, threatened by pollution like run-off from farm waste and manure, and flooding along the banks.

  Falk said, "We saw this spring, with record rains, how much water was ending up in people's basements and backyards."

  At a gorgeous lakeside setting in Middleton, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk rolled out her clean water proposal for next year.

  She wants $15 million.

  The money would go to a laundry list of two dozen programs.

  But the big picture is simple:  buy wetlands along the county's rivers and lakes and keep them wetlands.  

  County Executive Falk said, "Every acre of wetland we protect, thery store and hold those rains, it keeps our lakes from rising so high."

  Wetlands also catch farm run-off, another problem.

  And Falk says she has another solution.

  It's called a manure digestor.

  We visited this one in Dodge County this spring.

  The device not only stores manure, it also keeps it from flowing into waterways.

  And it also generates energy from methane gas.

  Falk added, "That over time will really make a difference in the quality of our lakes and what we love here."

  Falk is going to present her ideas to the county board Wednesday, along with the rest of the 2009 budget.

  Falk also introduced something entirely new related to water:  a county buy-out program for flooded homeowners in dane county.

  She's asking for 200-thousand for that program.

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