Making Progress For Our Lakes
In 2019, Clean Lakes Alliance’s work was focused on actions that increased community engagement and reduced phosphorus runoff into the lakes. Keep reading to learn more about our 2019 achievements. These actions could not have been accomplished without the dedication and support of our boards, committees, donors, volunteers, staff, partners, and the community.
Yahara CLEAN Compact
Clean Lakes Alliance is leading partner efforts to update, formally adopt, and set completion timelines for the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction. Here’s what we accomplished in 2019:
- Recruited partners and collaborators to sign on to a Yahara CLEAN Compact Letter of Intent, pool resources, and begin the work of updating our lake cleanup plan.
- Began working with appointed Compact designees to affirm goals, build on recent progress, and create an inclusive decision-making framework for charting future action.
- Released our 2018 State of the Lakes Annual Report, showcasing the community’s phosphorus-reduction progress to-date and the status of water quality conditions in each of the five lakes.
Innovative solutions – 2019 highlights
Clean Lakes Alliance is exploring new pollution-reduction approaches, advocating for improved policies, funding research, and leveraging action through Clean Lakes Grants.
- Created a Protect, Restore, Preserve Fund to raise money for critical land acquisitions and restoration work.
- Secured a $100,000 challenge grant from Alliant Energy to help Dane County restore newly-purchased property adjoining Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
- Funded a manure composting pilot led by Yahara Pride Farms (YPF). We also invited YPF leadership to speak about agricultural successes at Yahara Lakes 101.
Farmland management – 2019 accomplishments
Clean Lakes Alliance is building coalitions, providing funds, and collaborating with agricultural stakeholders about farming best practices to help our lakes.
- Hosted a farm tour to highlight sustainable grazing practices.
- Advocated for better manure management through county ordinances and processing enhancements at manure digesters.
Urban management – 2019 achievements
Clean Lakes Alliance is creating tools and incentives for actions that will lead to a more resilient and healthier watershed.
- Promoted leaf-free streets through social media, billboards, and other outreach.
- Hosted Renew the Blue Volunteer Days to remove leaf debris from our city streets. This will improve the health of public lakeshores and natural areas.
2019 community engagement actions
Our vision reads, “We see a future in which everyone realizes the lakes are the center of our community.” The following focus areas help mobilize stakeholders to protect and improve water quality in the Yahara River Watershed. As more people make the lakes a priority, it will spark action to make our vision of healthy lakes a reality.
Education – 2019 achievements
Clean Lakes Alliance is increasing awareness about the challenges and benefits of cleaning up our lakes. This is being accomplished through science-based solutions, building alliances, and focusing action.
- Graduated 23 watershed captains from the Yahara Watershed Academy. Continued to support a growing network of graduates as they take action for the lakes.
- Expanded Lake Explorer Camp to serve grades K-12 students from the Bayview Foundation and Community Center.
- Partnered with the Wisconsin Union to offer Mornings on Mendota, a free, family-friendly educational series.
- Hosted 10 Yahara Lakes 101 Science Cafés, including two special field trip editions.
Clean Lakes Alliance is creating volunteer experiences that empower businesses, board and committee members, and residents to act on behalf of our lakes.
- Completed 30 different cleanup and restoration projects around the watershed, with volunteer events hosted every week from April through October.
- Led 538 Renew the Blue Volunteer Day participants in removing dozens of truckloads of invasive plants and trash from our lakeside parks and restoring native vegetation.
- Sponsored 1,488 hours of volunteer service dedicated to lakeshore improvement. Supported 3,716 total volunteer hours outside of board and committee work to promote lake stewardship.
Clean Lakes Alliance is ensuring monitoring coverage on all five Yahara lakes. This will enhance community awareness of lake conditions and advocate for effective testing of our beaches.
- Activated weekly reporting at 72 nearshore monitoring stations, including all 25 public beaches.
- Made real-time condition reports accessible to the public on LakeForecast.org and through weekly YouTube video summaries and social media posts.
Capacity building – 2019 achievements
Clean Lakes Alliance is increasing its capacity to affect change by building alliances with local groups and community members. We are expanding our presence and visibility throughout the watershed and strengthening financial support for ongoing lake-improvement work.
- Continued raising money and awareness for the lakes. This was accomplished through the Frozen Assets Festival and Fundraiser, Community Breakfast, Loop the Lake Bike Ride, Big Swell Swim, Surf ‘n Turf, Fore! Lakes Golf Outing, Community Awards, and Paddle for a Purpose.
- Hosted our first Leadership Luncheon to recruit new lake supporters.