Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

2009 Dane County Waters Champion Award Recipients Announced

June 17, 2009
Sue Jones, 224-3764 (office), 469-9280 (cell),; Marcia Hartwig, 224-3746,
Land & Water Resources

(Madison, June 18, 2009) The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission has announced its 2009 Waters Champion Award recipients. 2009 Waters Champions Don Esposito, Kurt Welke Michael John Tierney (in memoriam) were honored at a reception Thursday, June 18th at 5:30 p.m. in the Terrace Room at the Madison Club, followed by special recognition by the Dane County Board of Supervisors at its 7:00 p.m. meeting at the City County Building. In addition, Sue Jones, Watershed Management Coordinator gave the State of the Waters address during the program at the County Board meeting. The public was invited to attend both events.

The Dane County Waters Champion Awards are given annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions toward protecting and improving Dane County’s water resources. Their work has made a positive impact on water quality as well as the scenic, economic, recreational and environmental value of those lakes and streams.

“The quality of life we enjoy in Dane County is directly related to the health of our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands," said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “I am pleased to join the Commission in recognizing these individuals who have given their time and talents to make sure our waters are healthy for years to come.”

“There are so many people committed to protecting and preserving our waters,” said newly-elected Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Melissa Malott. “We are so proud to have an opportunity to publicly honor their work as our Waters Champions,” Malott concluded.

Don Esposito – As vice president of land acquisition and development for Veridian Homes, Esposito has tirelessly championed design and construction techniques and processes that reduce erosion and stormwater runoff, not only significantly improving his own company’s efforts, but also with local, state and national builders’ associations. In addition, Esposito has worked with the Green Tier Clear Water Initiative and the Dane County Stormwater Infiltration Task Force. As part of the Construction Erosion Control sub-committee of the Madison Commission on the Environment, Esposito helped to produce recommendations for significantly reducing construction site erosion, many of which have already been initiated by the City of Madison.

Kurt Welke – As a fisheries biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, Welke has devoted his expertise to a wide range of watershed policies and programs, including: restoration of 52 miles of coldwater stream habitat, implanting telemetry devices to allow for seasonal tracking and harvesting of carp on Lake Wingra, assisted with re-establishment of the Stewart Lake fishery restoration efforts, and provided many educational opportunities to both agency- and non-agency representatives in fish sampling.

Michael John Tierney – When Michael John Tierney became a resident of Madison in 1984, he used his technical knowledge of microbiology and engineering and his passion for Lake Mendota on many grass roots projects to protect and renew the Lake Mendota shoreline environment. Tierney used his own personal funds to obtain and provide shoreline stabilization materials and plants to Spring Harbor neighborhood residences and public waterfront. He collaborated with science education staff at Spring Harbor Middle School to provide hands-on experiences for students at Spring Harbor neighborhood shorelines. At Spring Harbor neighborhood meetings, Tierney supported public and individual policies that protect the Lake Mendota watershed, such as asphalt resurfacing, permeable driveways, lawn fertilizers, leaf storage, shoreline vegetation and protection of access and environment of public street ends and courts.

The Dane County Waters Champion presentation and State of the Waters are part of the 15th annual Take a Stake in the Lakes Days, June 6-21, an annual series of community events, activities and hands-on workshops that highlight the importance of the lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands to the quality of life in Dane County. For more information, visit