Leaf-free Streets for Clean Waters
Leaf-free Streets Rain Alerts - Sign up! Keeping our streets leaf-free before the rain can have a Ripple Effect on our waters! Sign up to receive alerts reminding you when rain is on the way and it’s time to take action. Alerts will be texted (or emailed) 1-2 days before a rain event reminding you that it’s time to remove street leaves. Alerts will only be sent between Oct. 1st – Nov. 30th during peak leaf fall. ***This program is only available to Dane County residents or businesses.***
Did you know leaves that collect on our streets every fall can harm our waters?
More than 50% of the annual amount of phosphorus in urban stormwater can come from leaves in the street! When it rains, stormwater flows through leaf piles in streets creating a “leaf tea” that is rich in dissolved phosphorus. This "leaf tea" travels through storm sewers making its way to our lakes, rivers and streams. Too much phosphorus can lead to toxic algae blooms, low oxygen levels and green murky waters, none of which are good for animals living in the water or those of us who use it for recreation.
The City of Madison and United States Geological Survey (USGS) are partnering on a study to determine the effectiveness of various street leaf removal efforts in reducing phosphorus to our waters. Click on the video link above to learn more or view the Evaluation of leaf removal as a means to reduce nutrient concentrations
and loads in urban stormwater article.
Join us in keeping streets leaf-free!
In the fall, timely removal of street leaf litter can reduce the amount of phosphorus in urban stormwater by 80% compared to no leaf removal! Communities across Dane County are working hard to reduce stormwater pollution to protect our waters, but they can't do it alone. You can help!
- Safely Remove leaves from the street in front of your home before it rains.
- Follow your community's guidelines for leaf collection or recycle leaves on your property. Many communities offer curbside leaf pick up or free access to yard waste drop off sites.
3. Sign up to receive Leaf-free Streets Rain Alerts this fall (Oct. 1- Nov. 30). Alerts will be issued 1-2 days before a significant rain event reminding you that it's time to remove street leaves. ***This program is only available to Dane County residents or businesses.***
4. Help spread the Leaf-free Streets message in your neighborhood! It's easy, check out the Leaf-free Streets Toolkit for resources.
2016 City of Middleton Neighborhood Leaf Pilot
The City of Middleton and the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy partnered with the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership on a pilot aimed at engaging residents in street leaf removal efforts. The pilot study took place between October 1st and November 30th, 2016 and included two test sites and one control site within the City of Middleton. Residents living within the test area were mailed information about the pilot requesting their participation in September 2016. Interested residents returned a commitment card pledging to remove leaves from the curb and street in front of their home before the rain. Electronic (text or email) rain event alerts were issued to pilot participants 1-2 days prior to a rain event prompting participants to remove street leaves. Details and results of the pilot are available in the Summary Report.
Municipal Leaf Collection Guidelines
Follow your municipality's guidelines for leaf collection if you rake. Contact them for more information. Information on MAMSWaP municipalities’ pick up requirements can be found through the links below:
|Municipality||Options (descriptions below)|
|City of Fitchburg||B, C|
|City of Madison||A, C|
|City of Middleton||A, C|
|City of Monona||C|
|City of Stoughton Page 1 Page 2||C|
|City of Sun Prairie||B|
|City of Verona||C, D|
|Village of Cottage Grove||C|
|Village of DeForest||C|
|Village of Maple Bluff||A|
|Village of McFarland||B|
|Village of Shorewood Hills||A|
|Village of Waunakee||A|
|Town of Blooming Grove||B|
|Town of Burke||C|
|Town of Cottage Grove||C|
|Town of Madison||A|
|Town of Middleton||C|
|Town of Westport||C|
|Town of Windsor||C|
Option A- Leaves raked to terrace, but not in the street.
Option B- Leaves placed in bags at curb.
Option C- Yard Waste Drop Off Sites. Contact your municipality for locations. If your municipality does not have a drop off site, all Dane County residents may take their leaves to the county compost site.
Option D- Verona only: Because of machinery limitations, actually requires residents to rake leaves directly in the street.
Other Leaf Resources:
- Print this handy seasonal guide to yard care to learn about practices that can help our waters all year long.