Dane County launches second phase of Yahara Lakes sediment removal

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County officials launched the second phase of a plan Wednesday meant to mitigate flood risk from lakes along the Yahara River.

The county will remove about 12,000 dump truck loads of sediment from the lakes as part of the Yahara Chain of Lakes Sediment Removal Project. The move will improve water flow and flood storage capacity, as well as habitat for fish and wildlife.

“The rain and storms we are experiencing this week are an ongoing reminder of why this climate change project is so important to help mitigate future flooding risks,” County Executive Joe Parisi said.

This phase of the project will focus on the stretch of the Yahara River between Lake Waubesa and Lower Mud Lake, and between Lake Kegonsa and Highway B. Work near Lake Waubesa will wrap up this fall, and work near Lake Kegonsa recently started. The county will begin hydraulic dredging on portions of the river and lakes next spring.

The lake system currently receives more water than it loses, in large part due to sediment loading. The accumulation of sediment is natural, but it can be greatly increased by urban development and other human activities. The river and lake system receives about 8.5 million pounds of sediment each year from urban runoff.

The Yahara Chain of Lakes Sediment Removal Project is being completed in five phases, with each phase being completed after the county secures funding and permits.