Lake Belle View Restoration Project
Aerial Photo of the Project After Construction: Note the walking and biking berm, and new canoe loop through the islands.
The Lake Belle View Restoration has been decades in the planning. The project features a new berm constructed to separate the lake from the river, dredging adjacent to Community Park and within the North Channel area, and modification of the dam and millrace. Dredged sediment was placed to augment the existing islands and correct drainage problems in Community Park. As a result, the lake has been restored as a public asset; the water quality of the lake, depth and the fishery are improved; and beautiful lake views have been preserved.
The new restoration area allows a variety of recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities, including wildlife viewing, walking and biking on the 3130-foot berm, canoeing and kayaking in the river and new “in-lake loop,” and fishing in the river. Fishing in the recently stocked lake at this time is catch and release only.
In addition, donor funds made possible dredging in sections of the Sugar River to improve navigation. The Fundraising Committee, with the help of the Madison Community Foundation, is embarking on a new campaign this spring to raise an additional $250,000. The new pedestrian bridge is the next fundraising priority, followed by construction of the new restroom facility that can serve Badger State Trail and water trail users. It is hoped that donor funds can be used for additional enhancements, such as beach improvements and fishing pier. The Village will sponsor volunteer opportunities to maximize dollars.
Lake Belle View is now a living laboratory of a unique and rare floodplain forest restoration featuring rare songbirds, eagles, and rare native plants. The lake/river area is a unique convergence of natural assets and recreational opportunities. The Village’s next goal is to encourage better site access via the new pedestrian bridge, signage, and launches to help Belleville serve as a trailhead for trail users and become a regional destination for families looking to take a no-cost, healthy day trip; for nature watchers; and students of environmental science. Restoration of the wetland island habitat will be ongoing for years to come.
The $2.3 million lake construction project was made possible by Belleville taxpayers, donors, and partners that include the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison Community Foundation, Dane County, area legislators, and Upper Sugar River Watershed Association.