The Token Creek Watershed Association (TCWA) is a citizen-driven
effort formed in March 1997 to seek collaborative ways of
preserving and/or improving watershed conditions so that involved
residents can proudly pass on the stewardship of the area
to their children and grandchildren.
The TCWA recognizes that the Token Creek Watershed
is a special place to live. The watershed comprises a 27
square mile area of Dane County landscape whose waters
drain into Token Creek. The watershed basin lies between Sun
Prairie and DeForest and drains snowmelt and rainfall into
Cherokee Marsh and eventually Lake Mendota. Although situated
just north of the most rapidly growing metropolitan area in
Wisconsin, The watershed is still dominated by the rolling
green hills of local farms and flows into the largest wetland
in Dane County, Cherokee Marsh. Token Creek itself originates
from some of the most productive springs in Southern Wisconsin
and provides more base flow to Lake Mendota than any of the
lake's other tributaries.
natural beauty and ideal location of Token Creek continues
to attract tremendous growth to the watershed. Local residents
are concerned about potential changes to the creek and the
surrounding land. In March 1997, the watershed community gathered
at the forum to agree upon strategies for caring for the scenic,
recreational and envoronmental qualities of the area in the
future. The forum attendees included farmers, developers,
business people, local government representatives, educators,
new residents, and long-time landowners. An essential part
of the Token Creek Forum came when the participants were asked
to remember the past and then recognize current trends. In
this way, the participants created a common past and a shared
understanding of present trends. From that common ground,
the watershed residents collaborated to envision a future
in the watershed that they would want for their children.
They arrived at common themes to work toward, including the
desire for trail and bike path links, improved water quality,
intergovernmental collaboration, and enhanced public spaces.
Five citizen work groups were formed to address these common
goals and issues of concern. Most importantly, the participants
established a new community, a watershed community, and the
Token Creek Watershed Association was born.