Cyanobacteria (Blue-green algae)

A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study of sources of phosphorus pollution to the Wisconsin River has provided more information about human impact on this much-loved waterway.

Clean Lakes Alliance’s Director of Marketing & Development Adam Sodersten comments, “Most importantly it will take a transformational and cultural shift in how we approach lake health, like the societal shift to recycling and composting that took place decades ago.”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a series of planned public meetings next month to discuss its draft study of the river between Lake Wisconsin and Vilas County.

To learn more about this study, read the State Journal’s article.

February Rain Runoff in Lake Mendota

Urban and rural runoff add algae-creating phosphorus to our lakes

MADISON, Wis. — Warm February temperatures and a high volume of rain are melting snow now, but creating a hazardous problem down the road. Visible runoff can be seen along the shores of all five lakes in our watershed. This brown, discolored water has gathered soil and debris from the frozen land and washed it into our lakes. With more weekend rain in the forecast, this problem will continue to harm Madison’s lakes.

“When we have a deluge of rain in the winter, or a fast thaw, the frozen land can’t accept the water,” said Paul Dearlove, Clean Lakes Alliance senior director of watershed initiatives. “This means more phosphorus has been loaded into the lake, which has the potential to cause more algae blooms this summer.”

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Water quality monitoring

2017 results from our monitoring program


Figure 1. 2017 monitoring sites (Red: Near-shore; Blue: Off-shore).

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, volunteers at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes measured near-shore water clarity, air and water temperature, and noted several visual observations.

Visual observations included presence of algal blooms (green/blue-green), floating plant debris, swimmers, waterfowl, wave intensity, and general water appearance.

Volunteers were asked to log condition reports at least weekly on our website, lakeforecast.org, where all data are updated in real time.

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