Reducing Yahara Lakes flooding risk

Dane County has officially begun the second phase of its Yahara Chain of Lakes Sediment Removal Project.

This phase of the project kicked off this week, with dredging equipment now in the water, working between Lake Waubesa and Lower Mud Lake.

The County plans to remove approximately 52,000 cubic yards (or more than 4,000 dump truck loads) of sediment in the project’s second phase to help improve water flow, flood storage capacity, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Yahara Lakes.

“We are excited to kick off this next phase of our flood mitigation project in the Yahara Chain of Lakes,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.

“As climate change continues to impact our area, Dane County is committed to mitigating future flooding risks. When complete, this 11-mile sediment removal initiative will help increase the flow of water through the Yahara Chain of Lakes and improve the management of lake levels during high water periods.”

Between Lake Waubesa and Lower Mud Lake, Dane County is using its newly acquired “Dragon Dredge,” first unveiled in March 2021, to help move water through the Yahara Chain of Lakes at a steadier clip and help mitigate the risk of flooding.

Parisi included $5 million in his 2020 budget to purchase this new equipment and create four staff positions to carry out the job.

By owning and operating its own equipment, Dane County can ensure for years to come that it has the tools and expertise in-house to manage work demands created by the new realities of climate change and rapid urban development.