USGS Leaf Collection Study

Last Updated: 10/08/2020

The City of Madison, The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) are partnering to study the impact of leaf collection on phosphorus loading to lakes and rivers. The study is building on the promising results from a previous study on the west side of Madison. The work found a strong correlation between the amount of leaves on the street and amount of phosphorus leaving through the storm sewer. Over the next two years, the study will quantify the impact of weekly sweeping during the fall with a mechanical broom sweeper. This is the most common street sweeper used by Municipalities both in Madison and across the state. The study will also assess the phosphorus reductions of detention basins during the fall. It is hypothesized that detention basins will not capture significant amounts of phosphorus in the fall when most of the nutrient is in the dissolved phase, but this not been explicitly measured in correlation with leaf mass.

Residents in the study area can expect a few changes in both 2020 and 2021. The first is that residents in the Test area will notice increased street sweeping. Residents in both areas should follow the leaf raking dates in the letter received:

October 18th, 2020
November 1st, 2020
November 15th, 2020
USGS Study Area Boundary Map, Control area where only piles will be collected in bound by Wheeler Road, School Road, Nancy and Mandrake.
 

Test Area Residents (Red Solid Area): Rake leave as you normal would . Please remember to rake to the terrace and not into the street.
Control Area (Green Hatch Area): Rake leaves to the terrace as you normally would, but refrain from raking leaves from the street or gutter. City crews will collect leaves from the terrace but will leave the leaves in the street.