Home » News » Letter from Wetland Scientist Dr. Joy Zedler

From: Joy B. Zedler, Ph.D., Professor of Botany and Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology

Re: Northeast Neighborhood (NEN)

I am a wetland scientist; I reside in the Town of Dunn at the headwaters of Murphy Creek. I have personal experience with runoff from Fitchburg, because a farm across the road from me despoils my native sedge meadow with sediment, nutrients, and pesticides. The runoff is converting native vegetation to Wisconsin’s worst wetland weed (reed canary grass, Phalaris arundinacea). A graduate student of mine recently showed that the portion of my sedge meadow that is dominated by reed canary grass has only half as many plant species as the area in front of the invasion, and many of the associates of reed canary grass are weeds. Another student documented increased nitrogen content of plant leaves as we sampled plants away from and close to the culvert that imports Fitchburg runoff from the corn/soybean field. The source of the problem is nutrientrich runoff and the outcome is continued degradation and loss of substantial value (“natural capital”) due to runoff from a Fitchburg farm. Here are my science-based concerns about urban development west of Larsen Road: (Read More)