Notes from the Belle Isle Area Neighborhood Meeting: June 16, 2004

At this first meeting approximately 1/3 of the neighborhood households (29 attendees) had at least one member present to express concerns about our water difficulties. The issues they brought up can be divided into 3 categories: larger issues requiring long term study, current issues requiring action in the next year or two, and urgent issues which should be addressed ASAP.

Larger Issues:

Upstream water control: Development of Westport, Waunakee and Middleton should be regulated and wetlands retained to control runoff water channeled into the lakes. A major studies is needed of water flow and storm water control throughout entire watershed/lake system.

Lake level management: Lake Mendota should be permanently lowered to create a larger watershed especially for sudden downpours. If necessary low areas should be dredged to provide relief for lake shore businesses such as Skipper Buds. All lake levels, not just Mendota, should probably be lowered.

Strengthening of Tenney Park dam/beach area: The dam may fail if Lake Mendota gets a catastrophic rain such as that occurring recently in Randolph, WI. Lake Mendota is currently maintained about 5 feet above Monona so failure of the Tenney Park dam would flood the Madison isthmus as we as the Belle Isle neighborhood.

Current Issues - address in the next 2 years

Downstream water control: The Yahara River as far as Lake Kegonsa should be inspected. Areas hindered by weeds should be cleared and dredged if necessary. Constricted areas such as the railroad trestle on the Yahara River near Lake Waubesa should be cleared and widened. The channel at Babcock Park near Lake Waubesa should be enlarged.

Water Edges: Channel and lake banks should be built up to protect low lying homes.

Channel depth: The channels are filling in and need to be dredged

Sewer water management: runoff shouldn't go into sewers

Oneida Park water control: Should a runoff pond be created in Oneida Park?

Urgent Issues - address ASAP

Street flooding at intersection of Tecumseh and Pocahontas: Water collects after any sizable rainfall at this intersection, coming in from the lake through the storm sewer. A gated cap needs to be placed over the sewer.

City phone numbers should be provided for people to call regarding:
1. Need for street pump at Tecumseh/Pocahontas, Nishishin Trail and Oneida Park
2. Sewage backup
3. Storm emergency, for example power goes off during a storm and sump pumps fail.

Organize a volunteer network to help people with sand bagging, for example a neighborhood phone tree, and to discuss filling in lawns to raise water frontage.

Weed control: sometimes the cutters are not doing a satisfactory job of cutting or removing weeds in lake and channels. A telephone number should be provided to allow citizens to provide feedback.

Lift stations: problems with routing and cleaning?

--- Larry Miller

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