Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission


The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission is a coordinating and advisory agency within Dane County government, established by the County Board in 1988. The Commission is charged with protecting and improving water quality, as well as the scenic, economic, recreational, and environmental value of Dane County's water resources. The Commission works with many local, regional, and state partners to complete its objectives.

The Wisconsin State Legislature defined the Commission's special powers, composition, duties and organization in 1990. Wisconsin state statutes (sections 33.41 - 33.48) (PDF) describe the Commission's responsibilities, including conducting or coordinating studies of local surface waters and groundwater, maintaining liaisons with other public agencies involved in protecting or managing water resources, and developing public information programs. The Commission also conducts an annual review, invites public input, and makes recommendations regarding water-related portions of the Dane County budget.

Commission meetings are open to the public. Visit the Dane County Legislative Information Center website to view Commission schedules, agendas, and meeting minutes.

Past presentations to the Lakes and Watershed Commission are posted in its online resource folder (Google Drive).

To contact all Commission members, you may send an email to lakes@countyofdane.com.

The Commission has 10 members, representing urban and rural areas, including:

  • county board supervisors (2 from Madison and 2 from areas outside Madison)
  • a representative of the Towns Association
  • a representative from cities and villages outside Madison
  • a member designated by the Dane County Executive
  • a member designated by the mayor of Madison
  • a citizen from Madison
  • a representative of the Yahara Lakes Association

Past Commission work and accomplishments:


Commissioner Bios

Rebecca Power photoRebecca Power (Madison Mayor's designee since 2010 and Chair since 2014)

Rebecca is a water outreach program manager for the University of Wisconsin-Extension. She has been with UW-Extension working on natural resource issues for over 15 years. Previously, Rebecca has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and a private consulting firm restoring savannas and wetlands. She is also an art photographer. She was appointed to the Lakes and Watershed Commission in 2010 as the Madison Mayor's representative. Rebecca is most proud of “Beyond the Water’s Edge” photography contest honoring Dane County's waters, the role we all play in protecting them for future generations, and the Commission's 25 years of service to Dane County. She loves hearing about the many different ways that people are engaged in water stewardship and listening for the best opportunities to make a difference. She views increasing people's awareness of how the Commission's authority can be used to enhance water stewardship in Dane County as a future challenge. Her favorite water related place is Duck Pond Spring and Lake Wingra.


Lyle Updike photoLyle Updike (Citizen representing Towns since 2005 and Vice Chair since 2014) 

Lyle retired from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services where he worked on financing and regulating health care providers for over 30 years. He’s been the Town Chair for the Town of Sun Prairie since 2000. He sits on a number of water quality related committees including Green Tier and the Clean Lakes Alliance. He is also a native plant volunteer, working on restoring native plant communities. Lyle is inspired by the Commission's community engagement program, noting that the outreach and discussions with the stakeholders produce superior policy decisions and a more informed public. Lyle especially likes working with the other Commission members and staff, where individuals of a variety political perspectives unite in common cause to protect and enhance water quality in Dane County. Dealing with a state legislature and executive that is hostile to protecting water quality in the state or supporting the public trust doctrine will be a challenge in the coming years. One of Lyle’s favorite places is the Fen of Deansville Marsh.

Photo: Lyle and his son Aaron portaging their canoe to a "Take a Stake in Our Waters" event.

Chuck Erickson photoChuck Erickson (County Board Supervisor representing Madison since 2007)

Chuck currently works at CDW and has been the County Board Supervisor for District 13 since 2002. He is a 24-year resident of the Vilas Neighborhood on the near west side of Madison. He feels there are many Commission achievements to be proud of but two in particular are support of the urban water quality grant program and the Strategic Engagement Coordinator position within the Office of Lakes and Watersheds. As an average citizen, he likes learning about water and limnology issues as well as solutions for stopping storm water runoff before it reaches our lakes. He sees limited resources as a continuing challenge for the Commission. Having grown up in Dane County and spending time sailing and water skiing on Lake Mendota, he's fond of many water-related places in the county, especially the nationally famous Black Earth Creek in western Dane County, and Monona Bay located just outside Madison's downtown.

Mike Gerner Photo

Allan Levin (Yahara Lakes Association representative since 2017)

Allan came to Madison in 1969 after 13 years in Chicago attending Northwestern University, medical school and residency training.  He also served in the Navy for two years during the Vietnam war.  Allan was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin and retired as a Professor of Neurological Surgery.  He began sailing on Lake Mendota soon after arriving in Madison.  In 1978 he purchased a Hunter 27.  In 2013 this boat was donated to Wisconsin Hoofers as he downsized to a Hunter 22, which he sails with his son Jeremy.  He also sails and races on another son’s boat in Chicago. During the winter, when conditions allow, Allan enjoys sailing his Iceboat.

Mary Kolar photoMary Kolar (County Board Supervisor Representing Downtown Madison since 2013)

Mary is pleased to serve on the Lakes and Watershed Commission because water is a critical Dane County resource and amenity, and significant work is needed to improve the water quality of our lakes. She values working with fellow commissioners and others so that everyone may continue to enjoy the year-round recreational opportunities lakes, streams and wetlands provide. Mary’s favorite water place in Dane County is Lake Monona. She believes one of the best ways to begin a day is with a walk to Law Park to experience the sunrise over Lake Monona.

Maureen photo

Maureen McCarville (County Board Supervisor outside of Madison since 2014)

Maureen’s supervisory district includes the Villages of DeForest and Windsor, the Upper Yahara River, and Lake Windsor.


Maria Moreno photoMaria del Carmen Moreno (Citizen from the City of Madison since 2015)

Maria has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin Madison and joined Earth Partnership at University of Wisconsin Madison as the Multicultural Outreach Coordinator in 2012. She develops curricular materials and outreach programs centered on ecological restoration for professional development for teachers,  college students, and community members, and youth. Maria designs and coordinates service-learning as well as domestic and international environmental education internships in collaboration with the Institute for Global Health, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Latin American and Iberian Studies and local NGO's on Earth Partnership initiatives in Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico. In her work with environmental education, Maria brings her passion for STEM learning, engaging diverse communities, and creating learning experiences domestically and internationally that allow students to grow and move beyond their comfort zones. 

Dave RippDave Ripp (County Board Supervisor outside of Madison since 2016)

Dave is the longest serving County Supervisor representing various parts of rural north west Dane County since 1984.  Some of his fondest memories are biking to the numerous local farm ponds as a kid to do a little bullhead fishing.  Once he could drive, Fish Lake beach became the favorite destination.  He believes that by working together, we are making progress cleaning up our waters from Mendota to our smallest lakes and streams and that we need to get everyone involved to keep moving forward.

Pam Porter PhotoPam Porter (County Executive’s designee since 2013)

Pam is a life-long environmentalist, swimmer, canoeist and dog lover with a M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin Madison, on the management of switchgrass, a native perennial grass. Pam is a Research Manager at the University of Wisconsin, Center for Integrated Agriculture. She is also Founder of P Squared Group, an environmental consulting firm focusing on climate and energy solutions. Previously she served as executive assistant to Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and senior staffer to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and Elizabeth Burmaster, Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction. One of her favorite water places is her front yard, the mighty Yahara River and nearby Lake Monona.

Susan West photoSusan West (Citizen representing Cities and Villages outside of Madison since 2011)

Susan enjoys her work with the Commission to protect Dane County waters. She has served on the Middleton City Council since 2004, and has been Council President since 2014. She’s most proud of her contributions on the Commission in securing budget resources to improve these water resources, and thinks that the Commission's focus on chloride reduction, especially from water softeners, is a high priority for our community. Her home prairie landscaping receives many compliments for its beauty, and Susan is happy that it also is improving water infiltration and therefore reducing runoff into our waters. Her favorite water place is Pheasant Branch Creek.