Cross Plains, WI -- The Black Earth Creek Watershed Association (BECWA) and its community partners installed interpretive signs along the stream in Cross Plains, Black Earth, and Mazomanie that talk about the stream as an exceptional natural resource, the major challenges that it faces, and protection efforts. The sign series, developed with support from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and University of Wisconsin Extension, covers a range of topics including elements of a healthy stream ecosystem and the value of a nationally known wild brown trout stream next to a large population center.
“The purpose of the signs is to highlight and communicate to residents, users, and visitors the outstanding qualities of Black Earth Creek and its tributaries. For over 50 years community partners have worked together to take care of the creek—this wonderful stream still needs our protection,” said Andy Morton, the BECWA board member coordinating the sign project. Black Earth Creek is fed from groundwater and springs that originate at the edge of the Driftless Area located west of Madison. WDNR classifies Black Earth Creek as a Class wild trout fishery and Outstanding Resource Water. Interpretive signs will also be installed at The Shoe Box in Black Earth, Salmo Pond, and along the Wolf Run Trail in Mazomanie. Additional sign topics include storm water management using “green infrastructure” and watershed resiliency to handle major flood events, management of invasive species, restoration of formerly impounded or channelized areas of the stream, and restoration of a native prairie along the stream. The interpretive signs are weatherproof, made of a high quality, durable plastic, and are attached to a steel backplate. Project partners include Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, Dane County, Village of Cross Plains, Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, University of Wisconsin Extension, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, The Shoe Box, Wolf Run Association, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Gateway to The Driftless, Groundswell Conservancy, and the Wisconsin River Alliance.
BECWA will host a community event to celebrate the creek and mark completion of the sign project on Saturday, June 26, from 10AM to 2PM behind The Shoe Box, 1314 Canal St., in Black Earth. Local organizations active in restoring and protecting Black Earth Creek will be on hand to provide information about those efforts and how to get involved. The event is free and open to the public.
Pictured from left to right (Dain Ziegler - VoCP, Jay Lengfeld - VoCP, Jim Hess - Southern WI Trout Unlimited, Jerry Gray - VoCP, Andy Morton - BECWA, Mindy Habecker - Dane County UW Extension, Mike Axon - VoCP, Chris Long - Gateway to the Driftless Area, and Amy Lord - Ice Age Trail Alliance.
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