Cherokee Marsh Enhancements
DCRA needed to improve the Runway 14/32 Safety Area to meet FAA standards but was challenged due to site constraints, including Cherokee Marsh, a 2,000-acre high-quality wetland complex that contains a State Natural Area. In 2005-06, the Airport constructed improvements to the RSA and enhanced water resources in the vicinity of DCRA.
A comprehensive on-site mitigation plan was developed in coordination with ten federal, state, and local agencies to mitigate 53 acres of wetlands resulting from project impacts. The mitigation plan included many enhancement and restoration measures to correct adverse historical impacts to water resources in the vicinity of the Airport, including restoration of over 90 acres of Cherokee Marsh to a natural and self-sustaining wetland. The results were a net overall gain to local water resources, because of the large wetland functional gains and reversal of significant ongoing impacts to high-quality wetlands, including a fen. The restoration of annual floodplain wetlands to Starkweather Creek increased floodplain area substantially in this mostly urban watershed.
DCRA received the ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Award for Wetland Mitigation and the FAA Great Lakes Region Outstanding Achievement Award for Environmental Stewardship for the Runway 14/32 Safety Area project, completed in 2006.
Starkweather Creek Restoration
DCRA has worked diligently to include the Starkweather Creek as part of its Master Plan. This important airport waterway traverses the airport property and connects to other larger waterways in Dane County. DCRA continues to monitor the water quality of this natural habitat. Starkweather Creek water is tested as it leaves airport property to ensure that current protection programs are effective.
The Greenspace Development program includes specific procedures for using vegetation that detracts from animal habitat development. Nonwoody plantings as well as the use of switchgrass vegetation, reduce the need for other methods of wildlife management. In addition, these vegetation choices reduce maintenance and care issues while providing an attractive appearance.