Floods

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snoqueen
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Re: Floods

Postby snoqueen » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:17 am

I would like to see some consideration of restoring wetlands we previously filled in.

I can name several right now: some of the muddy parts of Olbrich Park beside the lake (you know that had to be marshland pre-settlement), and much of the parking area near East Towne. I myself remember that huge lot as being filled-in wetland. Nobody uses all that parking, and malls themselves are economically doomed now that recreational shopping has moved online.

A third place might be where Woodmans is now, given that they say they are considering a new east side store. As with East Towne, I remember when that lot was filled in. It was previous a fertile low lying parcel used as a plant nursery.

This is all in the Starkweather Creek watershed -- I don't even know where to start on the west side, so you who live out there can look for yourselves. I think a lot of the best opportunities are on the east side due to our geology, though.

Public money would be well spent restoring some of these wetlands to mitigate flooding as climate change continues. It would be much cheaper to do these areas now instead of waiting until more-valuable Isthmus properties become indefensible due to frequent flooding.

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Re: Floods

Postby Paleo2 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:57 pm

snoqueen wrote:I would like to see some consideration of restoring wetlands we previously filled in.

I can name several right now: some of the muddy parts of Olbrich Park beside the lake (you know that had to be marshland pre-settlement), and much of the parking area near East Towne. I myself remember that huge lot as being filled-in wetland. Nobody uses all that parking, and malls themselves are economically doomed now that recreational shopping has moved online.

A third place might be where Woodmans is now, given that they say they are considering a new east side store. As with East Towne, I remember when that lot was filled in. It was previous a fertile low lying parcel used as a plant nursery.

This is all in the Starkweather Creek watershed -- I don't even know where to start on the west side, so you who live out there can look for yourselves. I think a lot of the best opportunities are on the east side due to our geology, though.

Public money would be well spent restoring some of these wetlands to mitigate flooding as climate change continues. It would be much cheaper to do these areas now instead of waiting until more-valuable Isthmus properties become indefensible due to frequent flooding.



On the positive side, most of the recent development has taken water management into consideration. In my area, which they started developing in the 1990s, they had already planned various streams and ponds for water management. That is a good thing moving forwards.

Snoqueen has a point, that in some cases wetlands were gotten rid of. We can see from last year's flooding in Houston what the consequences of removing wetlands can be.

The fact of the matter is: we need to manage water better. The climate is getting wetter. Our lakes are getting filled with nasty stuff.

snoqueen
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Re: Floods

Postby snoqueen » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:03 pm

Yes, in the recent past water management has been considered in greenfield development to some extent.

An example of failure can be seen along the bike path that runs beside the e-way south of the city, where it skirts just north of a subdivision of very large single family homes and along a portion of the Arboretum. When that development was permitted, thoughtful people warned it would damage the drainage pattern in the area. This is exactly what happened. Of course, the developer made his money and moved on, bearing no burden for the damage done to the Arboretum and surroundings. Big surprise -- that's how they do business. I don't remember who was mayor at the time, but money definitely trumped the bigger environmental picture.

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Re: Floods

Postby Cadfael » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:42 pm

Just in case somebody's not on the mailing list.
Aha. One inch of rain = three inches of lake rise.
(It would be kind of nice if straightforward parameters like that were listed on the flooding website someplace. Anyone find anything like that?)

The National Weather Service is forecasting more rain this weekend and into next week and City officials are preparing for flooding and encouraging residents to do the same.

The Madison area may receive 1 to 1 ½ inches of rain tonight with additional heavy rain possible Sunday night.

Lake levels remain high with Lake Monona still ½ inch above the 100-year flood level.

Keep in mind, one inch of rain can result in a three-inch rise in lake levels. There is additional concern for flash flooding as well, specifically in the isthmus area. As always, if you see pooling water, are in a low-lying area, or have noticed water standing in the street in the past, don’t park a vehicle there when heavy rain is predicted, as the area is more susceptible to flooding.

City officials are filling and restocking sandbags at multiple sandbag locations throughout the city. Please check your current sandbags to ensure they are still adequately protecting your property.

Residents are being asked to assist the City and remove leaves from storm drains and gutters to prevent clogged storm drains. City crews will be working to inspect and maintain major culvert crossings. Residents who observe clogged drains can report them to the City’s Report A Problem.

Traffic Engineers will be monitoring water levels on area streets and may be closing lanes and streets over the weekend as needed. Currently, East Main Street continues to be closed from the Yahara River to Northern Court. The Yahara River bike path is still closed from Sherman Avenue to East Washington Avenue. Lane closures and all other storm related updates will be posted on the City flooding website.

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Re: Floods

Postby jman111 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:04 pm

Cadfael wrote:Aha. One inch of rain = three inches of lake rise.
(It would be kind of nice if straightforward parameters like that were listed on the flooding website someplace. Anyone find anything like that?)

It probably would be included if it actually was a straightforward parameter. You're oversimplifying (again).

Keep in mind, one inch of rain can result in a three-inch rise in lake levels.

(my emphasis)

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Re: Floods

Postby raw-tracks » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:39 pm

jman111 wrote:Policy group looks to lower lake levels
Due to the large amount of rain during this past summer, lake levels are high. Taking into account existing challenges with the system, this is an additional inconvenience in managing the water.

"This year things are particularly tough due to that volume, but also because of some of the natural characteristics the Yahara chain. It's an incredibly flat system naturally, there's a lot of gradient," said Laura Hicklin, Director of the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department. "We have developed some of our most vulnerable areas that have historically served as flood plain during these high water times. We have climate change which leads to increased volumes of water going into the system. We have development that's added water to the system. And we have a lot of natural and man-made construction points that slow the flow of water leaving the system."

All of those factors have contributed to the current lake levels.

It seems they don't solely blame Mendota lakefront property owners.


I didn't see or hear any reference to blaming Mendota property owners in that article and video.

It should also be noted that must be a typo:

"And we have a lot of natural and man-made construction points that slow the flow of water leaving the system."

I'm sure she said "constriction points" not "construction points".

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Re: Floods

Postby raw-tracks » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:40 pm

Double post....
Last edited by raw-tracks on Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Floods

Postby jman111 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:44 pm

raw-tracks wrote:It should also be noted that must be a typo:

I thought the same about this:
It's an incredibly flat system naturally, there's a lot of gradient

Seems to me like there's a negative missing in there.

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Re: Floods

Postby raw-tracks » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:06 pm

jman111 wrote:
It's an incredibly flat system naturally, there's a lot of gradient

Seems to me like there's a negative missing in there.


Correct, that one caught my eye as well. The quote is definitely "...there's not a lot of gradient"

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Re: Floods

Postby gozer » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:49 pm

Cadfael wrote:Just in case somebody's not on the mailing list.
Aha. One inch of rain = three inches of lake rise..



that is intuitive when one sees the maps -- by the way, 3-d printing or otherwise making a model of the yahara watershed and lakes and pouring water on it with a watering can is a good start for a science-fair project for somebody -- maybe do the entire upper mississippi valley . . .

i went to a political meeting in mc farland on wednesday and was surprised the town wasn't under water . . .

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Re: Floods

Postby gargantua » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:02 pm

snoqueen wrote:I would like to see some consideration of restoring wetlands we previously filled in.

I can name several right now: some of the muddy parts of Olbrich Park beside the lake (you know that had to be marshland pre-settlement), and much of the parking area near East Towne. I myself remember that huge lot as being filled-in wetland. Nobody uses all that parking, and malls themselves are economically doomed now that recreational shopping has moved online.

A third place might be where Woodmans is now, given that they say they are considering a new east side store. As with East Towne, I remember when that lot was filled in. It was previous a fertile low lying parcel used as a plant nursery.

This is all in the Starkweather Creek watershed -- I don't even know where to start on the west side, so you who live out there can look for yourselves. I think a lot of the best opportunities are on the east side due to our geology, though.

Public money would be well spent restoring some of these wetlands to mitigate flooding as climate change continues. It would be much cheaper to do these areas now instead of waiting until more-valuable Isthmus properties become indefensible due to frequent flooding.

When I was a kid, in the late 50's and early 60's, an area bordered by Scofield Street, Commercial Avenue, Packers Avenue, and Hoard Street was a wetland. There were toads, frogs, turtles, pheasants, and other wildlife there. I witnessed it being land filled, in fact my friends and I played there. Fortunately for me I guess, I was too little to understand the environmental crime I was witness to. It's an athletic field now. I dream about it sometimes.

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Re: Floods

Postby gozer » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:08 pm

gargantua wrote:
snoqueen wrote:I would like to see some consideration of restoring wetlands we previously filled in.

I can name several right now: some of the muddy parts of Olbrich Park beside the lake (you know that had to be marshland pre-settlement), and much of the parking area near East Towne. I myself remember that huge lot as being filled-in wetland. Nobody uses all that parking, and malls themselves are economically doomed now that recreational shopping has moved online.

A third place might be where Woodmans is now, given that they say they are considering a new east side store. As with East Towne, I remember when that lot was filled in. It was previous a fertile low lying parcel used as a plant nursery.

This is all in the Starkweather Creek watershed -- I don't even know where to start on the west side, so you who live out there can look for yourselves. I think a lot of the best opportunities are on the east side due to our geology, though.

Public money would be well spent restoring some of these wetlands to mitigate flooding as climate change continues. It would be much cheaper to do these areas now instead of waiting until more-valuable Isthmus properties become indefensible due to frequent flooding.

When I was a kid, in the late 50's and early 60's, an area bordered by Scofield Street, Commercial Avenue, Packers Avenue, and Hoard Street was a wetland. There were toads, frogs, turtles, pheasants, and other wildlife there. I witnessed it being land filled, in fact my friends and I played there. Fortunately for me I guess, I was too little to understand the environmental crime I was witness to. It's an athletic field now. I dream about it sometimes.


with climate change turning the local climate to de facto monsoon-influenced mid-latitude humid or whatever, maybe it will turn into a wetland again . . .

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Re: Floods

Postby snoqueen » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:24 am

When I was a kid, in the late 50's and early 60's, an area bordered by Scofield Street, Commercial Avenue, Packers Avenue, and Hoard Street was a wetland. There were toads, frogs, turtles, pheasants, and other wildlife there. I witnessed it being land filled, in fact my friends and I played there. Fortunately for me I guess, I was too little to understand the environmental crime I was witness to. It's an athletic field now. I dream about it sometimes.


I know exactly where you mean and I remember the nature area too. I think we talked about this before on here.

But was the wetland filled with truckloads of dirt, or was it first a dump and then capped?

If it was a dump, restoring even part of it is probably out of the question due to the hazards of uncovering whatever is buried there. (Or maybe there are safe procedures for removing an old dump -- who knows?) If it was simply landfilled, it might be a great place to begin a restoration. Where is the path water would take to the lake? Or would it function more like a big rain garden where water just sinks in slowly?

Two of the places we have mentioned -- Olbrich and by Scofield Street -- have soccer fields and places to play softball. The people who like those activities need to be considered, so alternate sites for sports, and possibly some careful scheduling, would be needed to gain their support and preserve these social gathering spaces.

As I think of sports fields, it occurs to me the soccer field by Hiestand Park off Milwaukee St borders on a creek and might be a landfill site too. Old maps can tell us more -- maybe it was low lying dry land. This would be the same creek that was buried when they built Portland Parkway in probably the 50s-early 60s, the one that ends up in the Woodmans lot and the part of Starkweather that flows from there. It's got practically no gradient at all -- I sat through a meeting where the city engineers told us the whole thing sloped 1/4". That's exactly what a wetland is -- a place of repose for water as it gradually and safely moves either into the earth or on its way to some larger body of water.

The drainage ditch that carries storm water along the bike path from Cottage Grove Rd, alongside the tracks, and toward Olbrich Gardens also travels through some small open areas that could be lowered and recast as seasonal wetlands. If you look at the houses built along there in the early 50s, the ones with big foundation cracks are good markers for where landfill went in. The landfill settled over the following decades and the foundations failed as a result. Surely we have old maps to give a more detailed outline of the land's original contours.

We can find and restore places like these to buy some relief from an increasingly extreme pattern of flooding. Nobody is suggesting condemning usable housing -- we have enough open spaces to work with first.

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Re: Floods

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:05 pm

For over a century, Madison's wet lands have been filled in on a grand scale for development. My wet basement in a 101 year old house attests to that. Extensive remediation will be very difficult and expensive.

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Re: Floods

Postby gargantua » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:33 pm

I recall that the Scofield site must have been a dump covered by dirt. I remember finding a can of some sort of solvent and accidentally spraying myself in the eyes with it. Lucky for me my mom knew what to do.


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