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Memorial Day Weekend boaters greeted by large plume of silt on Lake Mendota

May 26, 2019

Lake Mendota winked a sparkling blue Saturday, the start of the Memorial Day weekend. But boaters on the west end of the lake first had to traverse a dingy brown plume of silt-laced water that stretched several hundred feet from where Pheasant Branch Creek empties into the lake in Middleton.

The plume was the result of runoff after strong storms dumped 1½ to 2 inches of rain in the area Friday.

Dane County announced earlier this month it plans to buy 160 acres to expand the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, which surrounds the creek, and restore it to natural prairie, in part to slow the runoff of rainwater and nutrients like phosphorus into the lake.

Sections of the Conservancy were devastated in flash flooding last August.