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District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Contact Information

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

District 19 Blog

Nautilus Point Park Update

May 28, 2019 1:59 PM

I've received a few e-mails about the working going on at Nautilus Point Park (north of Mineral Point Road, between Nautilus and Island Drive).

Sally Swenson, the City of Madison Project Engineer, has provided me with some information on the project to share, including the public presentation about this project from May 2018.

Project Purpose:

The Spring Harbor at Masthead Pond project has a dual purpose: removal of undesired trees and reconstruction of the existing stormwater detention basins.

Tree Removal

Inspection of this greenway, and the greenway section immediately north, found many ash trees, as well as other problematic species.  Ash trees will eventually fall victim to Emerald Ash Borer; therefore, Engineering is currently removing most of the ash trees within our greenways.  The ash population within this particular greenway was large enough to warrant its own project.  But ash weren't the only problematic trees here.  This greenway also had a significant infestation of buckthorn, which is an invasive species that is harmful to wildlife.  Buckthorn berries are a digestive irritant and result in a net calorie loss to birds and other animals that may eat them.  Box elder is a native species, but is extremely aggressive in disturbed environments.  It has a weedy growth that causes the branches to fan out low to the ground.  Box elder are problematic for channels in two ways: they prevent undergrowth, leaving exposed banks that are susceptible to erosion; and they easily drop limbs, which wash downstream and can potentially clog stormwater grates, leading to flooding. 

Stormwater Treatment Reconstruction

The open areas of the greenway were once a stormwater treatment area.  The area was originally intended to function as two dry detention basins.  Quite some time ago, constructed berms appears to have failed, rendering the basins ineffective.  Therefore, we will be replacing the dry detention basins with a stormwater pond and a sand filter.  The purpose of both of these features will be to remove phosphorous from stormwater prior to discharge in our lakes.  However, the pond and filter function differently and remove different portions of the phosphorous load.  The wet pond will settle out sand and sediment from the water column, taking with it any phosphorous sorbed to those particles.  The sand filter will contain iron filings, which will bind the dissolved phase phosphorous.  All told, this system is expected to remove approximately 100 pounds of phosphorous annually from stormwater.  For reference, one pound of phosphorous can potentially lead to 500 pounds of algae. 

Pond Details 

The wet pond will have a permanent pool of approximately 0.61 acres, or 27,000 square feet.  It will be approximately 5 feet deep.  All stormwater ponds have a safety shelf, which is an bench at least 8 feet wide where the water is no more than 1-foot deep.  This is to prevent anyone from falling into the pond unexpectedly. 

Channel Stabilization

In addition to the tree removal and stormwater treatment devices, we will be stabilizing sections of the channel.  This work will be relatively minor and will only address the denuded sections of the channel.


After construction is complete, the City will be restoring the site with native plants, trees, and shrubs.  This site will undergo a relatively extensive revegetation program that will focus on replacing the lost vegetation with species that are better suited to a channel and that provide better habitat.  Of course, vegetation on this scale grows quite slowly, and the site will continue to look different for quite some time. 

The site will include a turf-covered access road that will serve as maintenance access when necessary.  However, this road can also be used as walking access throughout the greenway. 

Next Steps:

A significant portion of the trees have already been removed, but tree clearing is not quite finished.  Due to the soft conditions on the site, the contractor has halted tree removal for the time being.  Work will resume after July 31st and will include a limited amount of tree removal, construction of the pond, construction of the sand filter, and stabilization of the channel.  Construction activities are expected to be completed by the end of the year.  The site will be seeded with native species this fall, and planting of trees and shrubs will begin next spring. 


As always, if there is anything I can do to help, feel free to reach out:

-Keith F

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