Dane Co. buys large farm to help combat flooding

TOWN OF SPRINGFIELD, Wis (WMTV) - Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi announced the county will buy more than 100 acres of farmland in the Town of Springfield on Thursday afternoon.

Parisi said the county bought 160 acres of the Acker Farm in the Town of Springfield, which he said is the largest land acquisition in county history.

“The county included about 18 million dollars in our 2019 budget to deal directly with flooding, and there are a number of initiatives going on in that area, but one of the important pieces of dealing with our flooding is being able to have land that remains in its natural state,” Parisi said.

The farmland is adjacent to the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton and will eventually become a part of it.

Parisi said the land cost around $10 million and will be converted to a prairie to help with run-off into the lakes and to stay ahead of future flooding. He said the land will prevent flow of around 2.6 million gallons of rainwater each year into Lake Mendota.

"The more that we can slow down that rain, the more we can keep it where it falls for a longer period of time, before it rushes right into the system, the better. Not only for that initial rush of water, but also keeping it here as we manage it and try and move it through the chain of lakes," he said.

The farmland sits within the Pheasant Branch and Yahara River Watersheds and contains the headwaters of an intermittent stream. This stream flows into Pheasant Branch Creek, and ultimately Lake Mendota, according to Parisi.

Parisi said the land will begin its transition into a prairie this year and will eventually include trials, recreation and a wildlife area.