One of my interests in the Village is the state of the Fall Creek Pond. One day, I’d like my kids to be able to play in the pond like they can at Coon Forks or Big Falls, perhaps even with a small beach. Call me a big dreamer.
I’ve done some investigating, and learned that the “scummy” pond water and substantial algae blooms are mostly caused by leakage of nitrates and other runoff compounds from local farmer’s fields into the watershed. These act as nutrients for the “scummy” algae and other plants that have taken over the pond.
I’d like us to do whatever we can to reduce this issue. I see many possible steps forward, including but not limited to:
- Potentially increasing the size of the “Riparian Zones” around the creeks and streams that feed into the pond.
- Promoting the artificial construction of wetlands within those same riparian zones to more effectively make use of the land itself, as opposed to the naturally produced ecology that exists now. Wetlands have been proven to be five times more effective at reducing nitrates compared to other land-based conservation efforts. I will seek out grants to support reshaping our riparian zones towards that goal.
- Promoting local farmers to not just allow their fields to lie fallow during the winter time, but rather planting cold weather crops after their main crops are harvested to prevent those nitrates from leaving their properties, also potentially giving the farmers increased financial incentives and production on their farms.
- Investigate the economic and ecologic viability of the creation of a “Permeable Reactive Barrier” towards the mouth of the pond to keep those nitrates further “upstream”.
- Finally, working with the UW Extension and local farmers to find optimum nitrate fertilizer recommendations. This will save farmers money on unnecessary “extra” nitrates that are being wasted and literally being “flushed away” into our local watershed.
Note, that I wish all of these ideas/suggestions/proposed changes should be based on the mutual consent un-coerced of the nearby landowners. The Village should partner with these farmers to create a local goodwill coalition to improve our local watershed. Perhaps a “Fall Creek Watershed Coalition”?