Five FUN ways to support our lakes this winter!
At Clean Lakes Alliance, we work for our lakes all year long. Keep reading to learn five great ways YOU can get involved with the watershed this winter and support cleaner, healthier lakes!
It’s Official – ICE ON for Lake Mendota!
Ice on date beats median freeze date by five days
Despite warm weather in Madison over the weekend, cool nights, light winds, and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Saturday, December 15th. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze eight days after the smallest lake in the watershed, Lake Wingra, which officially froze on December 7th. Lake Monona officially froze on December 11th.
The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over. After ice took shape this weekend, staff waited to see whether it would hold out through the warm daytime temperatures. The December 15th freeze date is 12 days ahead of last year’s December 27th freeze date, and a surprising five days ahead of the December 20th median freeze date. The latest freeze date for Lake Mendota was January 30th – which happened in the winter of 1932.
The Wisconsin State Climatology Office makes the official determination as to whether the lake is frozen. The climatologists use the same guidelines they have used for decades to determine whether the lakes are iced over. This allows for a continuity in data collection. Read more: Determining ice cover on Madison’s lakes.
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.
Cold Water, Falling Temperatures, Frozen Forecast
Clean Lakes Alliance annual Mendota Freeze contest open
Winter is quickly approaching. With the cold temperatures, people around Madison start to ask themselves, “When will our lakes freeze?”
“We experienced a colder than normal November in Madison, with temperatures averaging about five degrees below normal,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Meteorologist Karin Swanson. “The forecast for the next week calls for temperatures near or below freezing, which will help lake temperatures continue to fall.”
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.
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.
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.
Leaves are a part of nature. Why are they a problem?
Leaves are one of the largest sources of urban phosphorus pollution. Without streets, parking lots, and storm sewers, leaves would fall on soil and phosphorus would soak into the soil instead of going straight into our lakes and streams. When left in the street gutters, leaves release phosphorus into stormwater that easily washes down storm drains and directly into our lakes.
What can you do in your own yard to manage leaves and help our lakes?
Take our leaf management quiz below!
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: