An urban watershed, like Lake Wingra’s, means that water is not able to naturally infiltrate into the ground as much due to development. Parking lots, roads, and other impervious surfaces often redirect runoff to storm sewers and the sewers bring the runoff to water bodies. Skipping the natural infiltration process doesn’t allow the ground to filter out different pollutants that the runoff carries. For example, runoff can pass through leaves or pollen in the streets and phosphorus will leach into the water. Lake Wingra also relies on springs as its main source of year-round flow. When infiltration is decreased, that means the flow of the springs lessens.
The good news is property owners can take many steps to help improve their impact on our watershed and increase infiltration. The UW – Arboretum and the Friends of Arboretum created a property owners watershed guide that you can reference. It lists many tangible actions for you to take. Check it out!