Blog

Yahara Watershed Academy - Feb 2019

Growing a new group of lake leaders

Karin Swanson

About the author: My name is Karin Swanson and I am a student of the Yahara Watershed Academy. I work for Clean Lakes Alliance as the Marketing and Communications Associate Manager and I am a meteorologist. I will bring you along on my journey through the Academy in an effort to expand our community’s knowledge and passion for the Yahara River Watershed.

The 2019 Yahara Watershed Academy (YWA) began on a very snowy February 12th. Snow started the evening of February 11th, with ten inches accumulating by the time the storm ended on the 13th. But the snow didn’t stop our group of students from learning about the Yahara River Watershed.

The YWA is made up of five day-long courses once a month, with students graduating in June. The Academy involves a partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Edgewood College. Graduates will have received the knowledge and skills to become a network of informed leaders for our watershed.

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2019 Frozen Assets Kites
Cover Photo Courtesy Jeff Halverson Photography

Frozen Assets raises more than $1,000,000 net since 2012!

With more than 6,000 visitors joining us at The Edgewater and on Lake Mendota, Frozen Assets raised more than $127,000 net for our lakes this year. THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, guests, volunteers, and event partners who made the festival and fundraiser a huge success!

Thank you to our presenting sponsor Lands’ End and to our platinum sponsor The Edgewater. Lands’ End provides critical funding and apparel to keep our staff and volunteers warm. The Edgewater and its staff were incredible hosts of the festival and fundraiser for the FIFTH year in a row!

Funds raised will be used to purchase easements for three miles of buffer strips, which help capture nutrient-rich runoff from farm fields before it enters our lakes. See some of the other projects we’ve been up to since our founding in 2010.

Keep reading for a recap of the event and respond to our survey below to give us feedback about how we can make next year even better!

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Lake Mendota Ice

This is the start of something big

A message from Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director, James Tye

Dear Friends,

As we close the books on a difficult year for our lakes, I want to take a moment to reflect on what went well, and what we can do to start 2019 off in the right direction.

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Lake Explorer Camp 2018

Creating a new generation of lake enthusiasts

Lake Explorer Camp receives Evjue Foundation grant

The Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital Times Company, recently announced grants to 56 nonprofits in Dane County. The latest grant contributions bring the total awarded by the Evjue Foundation in 2018 to $2.3 million. Clean Lakes Alliance’s Lake Explorer Camp is honored to be chosen as one of the grant recipients.

Clean Lakes Alliance will receive $5,000 to support its Lake Explorer Camp. The camp is an opportunity for young people to learn about our lakes and waters. Clean Lakes Alliance believes connections to nature begin to develop in childhood. Children who have educational experiences with our lakes will grow to treasure our waters.

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Madison FUN Lake Explorers

Connecting children with our Yahara Watershed

Grant Feature #7: Madison Friends of Urban Nature (FUN)

American author, scientist, and conservationist Aldo Leopold once said, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Clean Lakes Alliance knows connections to the land and to our waters begin to develop in childhood. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, Madison Friends of Urban Nature (FUN) is connecting families and children to nature and our Yahara Lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance contributed $1,250 to the effort, helping to expand outdoor learning opportunities that can lead to future generations of caring and knowledgeable lake stewards.

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Dane County Budget Announcement

Dane County Board approves 2019 budget

On Monday, November 12th, the Dane County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the 2019 Dane County budget. The adopted budget includes significant investments for water quality improvements and flood mitigation. The budget initiatives include water quality improvements supported by Clean Lakes Alliance and outlined in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction. These measures will move us in the right direction to reduce runoff and increase infiltration.

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Leaf Management

Trees are good, right?

Statewide phosphorus reduction credits for leaf collection

Urban trees provide many benefits to our communities. They help us save energy, reduce noise, and improve air quality. Trees are aesthetically pleasing, can increase property value, and provide natural homes for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Trees are also an important part of the earth’s water cycle. Transpiration from plants and trees is released into the atmosphere, and later becomes precipitation. The rain and snow return valuable moisture to our crops and forests, and the cycle continues.

However, trees can cause problems for our lakes if the leaves that fall from them each autumn are not regularly removed from streets and parking lots. When leaves collect on streets, they create a phosphorus-rich “tea” whenever it rains. The rain water passes through the leaf litter, and allows phosphorus to drain from the leaves. The leaf tea washes into storm drains and flows directly into our lakes, causing water quality to deteriorate.

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Action Alert

Will you help us advocate for our lakes?

We need your help!

At our Yahara Lakes 101 presentation, on Wednesday, October 10th, we heard from Dane County Executive Joe Parisi about the proposed 2019 budget and how it will address flooding concerns and lake health. The Dane County Board is holding a budget hearing on Wednesday, October 17th. There are many initiatives in the budget that will help our lakes, and they need YOUR support! Please advocate for our lakes in the following two ways:

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