2016 phosphorus reduction efforts

Photo by Thomas Klingele

This summer, Clean Lakes Alliance staff and our talented board and committee members are working closely with partners to get phosphorus reduction efforts off the ground. Here’s a quick summary of where we are and what’s going on:

  • Clean Lakes Alliance is embarking on a two-year, $85,000 partnership effort with the U.S. Geological Survey, City of Madison, Dane County, and Yahara WINs to evaluate effective leaf-removal methods. The effort builds upon prior research by partners, including pilots in DeForest and around Lake Wingra, and addresses one of the largest sources of urban phosphorus pollution. The intent of the study is to test phosphorus concentrations at storm sewer outfalls and, ultimately, to certify leaf management as an approved practice under Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits.
  • In partnership with Sustain Dane and Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Clean Lakes Alliance is preparing to launch the first-ever Yahara Watershed Academy, which will equip community leaders to be champions of our lakes. Madison Community Foundation provided a $42,000 start-up grant, and partners are currently hiring a program coordinator. The first class will convene in early 2017 for five once-a-month, all-day sessions; educational partners include the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Center for Limnology, Edgewood College, and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. Each year’s graduating class will take on sustainability initiatives in their neighborhoods and places of work that will ultimately benefit our lakes.
  • Through our Committee on Strategic Implementation, Clean Lakes Alliance hosts monthly planning meetings with partners from Dane County, City of Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. The committee identifies traditional phosphorus-reduction projects and vets innovative approaches to phosphorus reduction. Ongoing projects this summer and fall include the removal of phosphorus-rich sediment from an impaired stream in Dorn Creek, for which Clean Lakes Alliance has committed $25,000, and a $60,000 study on the water quality impact of manure composting.
  • Clean Lakes Alliance continues to raise and disperse funds to support partnerships for cost-share practices on farmland such as Adaptive Management and Yahara Pride Farms. For 2016, Clean Lakes Alliance has budgeted at minimum $45,000 to support these programs.
  • Working with Dane County, private landowners, and agencies like the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, we are identifying critical sites for native plant restoration demonstration projects and improved farm-conservation practices. This includes identifying formerly leased lands, such as a parcel in Six-Mile Creek sub-watershed, to be seeded to pollinator species, enhanced for stormwater infiltration, and managed with the help of local volunteer groups.

The Clean Lakes Alliance team continues to track phosphorus reduction projects taking place across the watershed. Thank you for supporting our work to achieve a 50% reduction in phosphorus loads to our lakes by the year 2025.

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