Ten Views of Lake Wingra

The Madison area is known for its four lakes. But there’s a fifth, and its history, ecology and beauty are well worth a tour

(page 6 of 10)

lake wingra watershed

6. IT’S THE WATERSHED

“Impervious surfaces” is a deadly phrase for a lake. With city on all sides, it’s a challenge to keep Wingra clean. The lake receives polluted runoff, sediment, phosphorus and road salt from streets, storm sewers and construction sites.

The Wingra watershed includes an industrialized corridor of the Beltline from Fish Hatchery Road past Whitney Way. These paved surfaces also mean less natural ground to absorb rain and snowfall, so groundwater can’t be replenished. Wingra’s springs once provided a third of the lake’s inflow, but without this recharge many have dried up. Others have been paved or covered by fill. Today, perhaps only eight of more than thirty known springs remain active.

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