Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monarch exiles poacher from the royal estate

Monarch Exiles Poacher from the Royal Estate
One beat of the Monarch's royal wings, and the intruder was outta there. Besides, there were other flowers to feed on.

Photographed at Stricker's Pond on the far west side of Madison, on the border between the city of Madison and the city of Middleton. Stricker's Pond and the nearby Tiedeman's Pond are a very successful restoration and water management project jointly run by both cities.
Because Stricker's Pond and nearby Tiedeman's Pond (in the City of Middleton) do not have natural outlets, the water only had one place to go ... up. Water depth at Stricker's Pond was 6-8 feet and the pond looked like pea soup because of excessive algae growth. Emergent plants vanished and 200-year-old oak trees succumbed to high water levels. The loss of these plants and trees meant we lost the food and cover needed by resident wildlife.

City Of Madison and City of Middleton staff worked together, creating a plan of action to deal with these issues. Staff encouraged input from the public. The plan created includes construction of a drainage outlet. This will allow staff to control water levels in both ponds. Stricker's Pond is 10 feet higher than Tiedeman's Pond, so an outlet pipe was installed between the ponds allowing control of the water flow out of Stricker's Pond. At Tiedeman's Pond a large pump was installed. This pump lifts the water into a force main which conveys it under Gammon Rd. and Park St. and from there into a gravity-drained storm water system. The water then drains into Lake Mendota.

Now we have some measure of control over the water levels. Both municipalities are working to restore native plant and animal communities in and around the ponds. We may not be able to restore these natural systems to pristine conditions, but through active stewardship we can improve them immensely, to the benefit of both people and wildlife.
They've done a great job. I remember driving by Tiedeman's Pond in the seventies and eighties. What was visible from Gammon Road looked like a sick, stagnant marsh filled with green algae soup and other muck. Now it's a sparkling habitat for water birds and hikers. And Monarchs.

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