According to Mary Ellen Gabriel's "The Mother of All Rain Barrels" (10/21/11), large-scale stormwater initiatives are needed to address the stresses facing the Madison lakes. I agree.
For decades citizens have expressed concern for the water quality in their Madison lakes. Public interest in improving lake water quality has been repeatedly identified in the city's own annual surveys.
I believe that the city should partner with local watershed friends organizations, local businesses, property owners and existing government entities to create such a comprehensive plan to improve and protect Madison's greatest resource. In fact, an opportunity to do this exists right now.
A year ago the city of Madison dedicated Storm Water Utility funds to hire a consultant to develop a Lake Wingra Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. Such a plan could become a model for all the other watersheds in Madison and the surrounding area. I hope the city will use this opportunity to move in bolder and more visionary directions such as those suggested by Gabriel's article.
Steve Arnold, Board chair, Friends of Lake Wingra
I was pleased to read "The Bzzz in City Hall" (10/21/11), reporting about a proposed ordinance allowing backyard beekeeping in Madison.
The article introduced the topic well, but perhaps didn't emphasize how important this issue is.
Over the past few years, bee colonies across North America have disappeared at alarming rates. In 2007, for example, an estimated one-half of honey-producing colonies went extinct. With a third of fruits and vegetables pollinated by honeybees, it is widely agreed that America's naturally pollinated food supplies are in jeopardy.
Thanks for Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway for introducing the ordinance, and thanks to Isthmus for covering this important issue.
Since 2009, cities like Denver, Cleveland and Minneapolis all have approved similar ordinances. All of those cities are more densely populated than Madison and have not reported any uptick in bee stings. Sustain Dane urges the Madison Common Council to adopt a similar allowance.
Phil Busse, Director of communications, Sustain Dane