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

$2 Million in Urban Stormwater Grants Now Available to Eligible Dane County Municipalities

March 01, 2012
Sue Jones, Dane County Land & Water Resources Department, (608) 224-3764 Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823
Land & Water Resources

Projects improve stormwater quality; reduce harmful effects of urban stormwater runoff

(Madison, WI) Municipalities interested in partnering with the county to improve their efforts to reduce lake pollution are encouraged to apply for Dane County Urban Water Quality Grants, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. 

The Urban Water Quality Grant Program has $2,000,000 available for this cost-sharing program to retrofit storm drain outlets that dump untreated stormwater and debris such as leaves and grass clippings into county lakes, rivers, and streams.  This runoff is known to contain phosphorus, a main contributor to unsightly algae blooms in our lakes. The county funds are to be matched with municipal expenditures.

Last summer, Parisi made retrofitting these storm drains a priority for the county through his Dane County Water Partnership, pledging to fix five of the pollutant pipelines each year for the next five years.  Parisi’s five-year initiative also includes a historic partnership with over 25 farm families in phosphorus target areas to address lake pollution upstream.

“Urban runoff is a serious threat to lake health that requires a community-wide effort to address,” said Parisi.  “These Urban Water Quality Grants will enable our municipalities to bolster their ongoing work to reduce water pollution, and keep phosphorus-filled debris from streets from fouling our lakes and streams.”  

Dane County Board Chair Scott McDonell built upon County Executive Parisi’s Dane County Water Partnership and the work of the Clean Lakes Alliance with the addition of the Clear Lakes Initiative to the 2012 budget.  Addressing water quality issues is a priority for the County Board, and the $27 million 5-year Clear Lakes Initiative allocates $6 million to retrofit storm drain outlets.

“Storm sewers are a major component of the Clear Lakes Initiative,” McDonell said.  “This is a valuable partnership the county has with local municipalities to protect our waters by re-tooling the aging storm water drains, and providing needed employment in the process” he added.

The Lakes and Watershed Commission approved criteria for the program, which is intended to add to the ongoing effort to improve the quality of urban stormwater runoff entering Dane County lakes, rivers and streams; increase public awareness of urban water quality issues, and provide public education for urban stormwater quality improvement practices. 

Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Melissa Malott echoed McDonell’s comments and called the program an effective and efficient use of funds. "When we work together, we accomplish great things," Malott said. "These grants bring us together to fix outdated infrastructure and clean up beach pollution."

Since 2005, the Urban Water Quality Grant Program has addressed 30 projects in 12 Dane County communities, and resulted in annual reduction of 200 tons sediment and 460 pounds attached phosphorus.

Financial assistance is available to municipalities in the form of cost sharing up to 50% percent of the total project cost, not to exceed $100,000. In order to be considered for funding, practices that will provide efficient, cost-effective treatment of urban runoff must be constructed and fully functional by the end of 2013.  The initial deadline for project submittals is April 1, 2012. Thereafter, grant requests may be submitted and awarded until all cost-sharing funds have been committed.

Funding criteria and application information are available online at:, and from Jeremy Balousek in the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, 608/224-3747.

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