Madison Terrace Rain Gardens Working to Protect Area Lakes

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 12:11pm

Madison Terrace Rain Gardens Working to Protect Area Lakes
The heat we've been experiencing has lead more people to Madison lakes, but at the same time blue green algae and other contaminants have focused our attention on closed beaches. Madison however, is continuing to work to prevent run-off from reaching our surrounding lakes. You may have noticed one of those efforts by now, the city's terrace rain garden program. The program was started in 2005 as a pilot project. The eye-catching gardens were requested by homeowners interested in doing their part to clean up storm water while enhancing their property. This year crews will be installing 39 terrace rain gardens, bringing the total to 81 throughout the city.

Terrace rain gardens are designed to take untreated storm water in order to slow it down, and remove some of the pollutants before allowing it to soak into the ground. They are designed to be about 1 foot deep, and are generally 10 feet wide and 15 feet long, though some are significantly larger. The gardens are placed where it makes sense in terms of storm water management and where a homeowner has voluntarily agreed to maintain it.

"These rain gardens are an excellent example of the city and homeowners working together to help protect our beautiful environment. I am pleased that there is cost-sharing available to assist residents interested in installing and maintaining the rain gardens. This is another example of how working together, we can make Madison an even better place to live. I appreciate the leadership role City Engineering staff have taken on this matter," said Mayor Paul Soglin.

Each year City Engineering staff review upcoming street reconstruction and resurfacing projects for terrace rain garden suitability. If staff determines that as least some of the properties in a project area may be eligible for a terrace rain garden, information is sent to the homeowner describing the program and the specifics the city uses to determine if a site is eligible. City Engineering staff continue to work with the homeowners throughout the project development and installation.

For more information on the programs

Completed rain gardens can be seen in the 1800, 1900 and 2100 blocks of Keyes Avenue. New gardens are also under construction on Old Sauk Road.


  • Katie Crawley608-266-4611