- What does Lake Wingra mean to you?
Last year, I participated in the Duck Dash on Lake Wingra in my first 10K & Kayak event. Having before only seen the beauty of the lake from the beaches near the Henry Vilas Zoo, I greatly appreciated being out on the water that day and plan to participate annually going forward. As an environmental educator and naturalist by training, all of the lakes in our watershed provide wellness for the citizens of Madison and habitat to the wildlife we welcome into our community. For me and my family, Lake Wingra is fundamental to our health and happiness.
- What do you think District 19’s biggest environmental and water quality challenges are?
Severe flooding in our district last summer was damaging not just to
businesses and homes, but to the natural waterways on which we
depend. Flooding can lead to runoff, washing contaminants like
pesticides and trash into our water. PFAS is a concern in wells on the
northside of Madison, but may also lead to concerns of road salt in waters downstream. The effects of pollution can already be seen in Lake Wingra, particularly in high traffic areas like around the zoo. When I worked as a naturalist and environmental educator, I often led discussions for young children on the health of the watershed and how it could be damaged by everyday human activities. Flooding exacerbates these effects.
- Watersheds do not follow jurisdictional boundaries. If elected, how will you collaborate with other officials, organizations, or interest groups to encourage effective watershed management and protection of the views to and from Lake Wingra?
As a longtime nonprofit activist, I plan to bring my work in collaboration and partnerships to every aspect of my work on the common council. We have a healthy and active alliance of environmental organizations in the Madison area, working to protect our waters and engage the public in necessary conversations about the watershed. I plan to work closely with my fellow elected officials to engage experts in the planning of policies that champion the health of our waters. Our city will eventually pass into the hands of our children, so we must be stewards now for all of its natural resources.
- The Common Council adopted the Wingra Watershed Management Plan in 2016 to help meet certain goals for a healthy Lake Wingra. As Alder, how will you ensure the City continues to support and actively implement the Wingra Watershed Management Plan?
First, I’d like to find out the progress made on the recommendations in the 2016 Wingra Watershed Management Plan, and what resolutions were adopted by the council to accomplish each of the recommended goals. I am currently sitting on the Integrated Pest Management Task Force with the city, and see some overlap between the goals of the Wingra Management Plan and the IPM Task Force. I would like to see how we can work together to plan resolutions that solve multiple issues effectively.
- Lake Wingra experiences many issues similar to other Madison lakes, like phosphorus and flooding. Because it is an urban watershed, it also faces unique issues. For example, agricultural runoff is not an issue for Wingra, yet chloride levels are the highest of all the lakes by far. In what ways will you help make sure Lake Wingra’s unique issues are not overlooked?
When constituents cannot speak for themselves, an alder must speak for them. Because Lake Wingra is my constituent, it’s story deserves to be shared and its’ issues advocated in local government. As Alder, I plan to serve all of my constituents and share their voices.
Keith Furman (Incumbent)