Blog

Carp Barrier

Can bubble barriers stop carp?

Carp harvesting efforts have been underway for years in the Yahara River watershed, but more could be done to manage the population of invasive fish. In this month’s Clean Lakes Grants spotlight, we’re sharing the efforts of our partners at Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, who are ready to tackle the challenge.

Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization devoted to protecting and restoring Pheasant Branch Conservancy on the northwest shore of Lake Mendota. Through a $8,750 grant awarded for 2018, the group will evaluate the feasibility of installing a new carp “bubble barrier” system on Pheasant Branch Creek to ultimately craft a recommendation and action plan for implementation.

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Wednesday rain causes visible runoff into Lake Mendota

Recent heavy rain storms flush algae-causing phosphorus through storm sewers into lakes

MADISON, Wis. — Heavy rain events over the past two weeks in the Madison area are setting up its lakes for toxic blue-green algae blooms in the coming months. With one pound of phosphorus having the capability to create 500 pounds of algae, the need to slow or divert runoff is imperative.

“The heavy rain storms we’ve had over the past several weeks have made harmful runoff issues visible to the naked eye,” says Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye. “From our Foley & Lardner donated offices in Verex Plaza next to James Madison Park, we’ve witnessed huge plumes of sediment wash into the lake multiple times over the past few weeks.

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Aquatic Plant Harvesting on Lake Waubesa

Over $160,000 in grants will foster lake education and improvement projects

MADISON, Wis. — Today Clean Lakes Alliance announced it will distribute $62,500 in grants to eight different projects aimed at benefiting our lakes. The grants will focus on improving farmland management, leaf management, construction erosion, lake access and in-lake management, and youth education.

“Clean Lakes Alliance has the ability to raise money and distribute grants at a fast rate for important projects for this summer,” commented Clean Lakes Alliance executive director James Tye. “We hope by funding these projects, we will continue to raise awareness, move innovative efforts forward, and make our lakes the center of the community.”

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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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Lake Mendota Freeze

A Christmas cold snap and low wind helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Wednesday, December 27. Lake Mendota is the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed. The lake froze 17 days after the smallest lake in the watershed, Lake Wingra, which officially froze on December 10.

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 on December 26, staff waited to see whether it would hold out through the night. The December 27 freeze date is five days ahead of last winter’s January 1 freeze date, and only seven days later than the December 20 median freeze date. The latest freeze date for Lake Mendota was January 30 – which happened in the winter of 1932.

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Water Quality Monitoring

2017 monitoring season

What started in 2013 as a handful of Clean Lakes Alliance board members testing the water has now grown into a network of over 70 volunteers doing weekly water quality monitoring on all five lakes.

Each week this summer, our team of monitors gathered data on water clarity and temperature. They also made visual observations on beach conditions and identified potentially harmful cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms. And what a summer it was!

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Foley and Lardner Volunteer Day

With 58 miles of lakeshore in our watershed, shoreline maintenance is a big job. We’re lucky to have dedicated staff and community groups working to keep our parks and beaches healthy – but sometimes, there just aren’t enough hands to get the job done. That’s where our summer volunteer groups come in!

A summer to remember

So far this season, there have been 15 Renew the Blue volunteer days, for a total of 457 volunteers and 1,481 hours maintaining our lakeshores over the season. These events serve double duty: our lakeshore parks get some much-needed TLC, and volunteers learn more about keeping our watershed healthy.

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yahara watershed academy 2017 education overview

Clean Lakes Alliance sees a future where everybody realizes that the lakes are the center of the community. Education is central to this goal! Read on for a snapshot of this summer’s educational programs.

Yahara Watershed Academy

Who it’s for:

Anyone who wants to incorporate watershed sustainability into their personal or professional life, especially those with the desire to lead.

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Farm field and tractor

Here in Wisconsin, manure is on the mind as we work to improve local water quality. A recent Isthmus interview with retiring University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology director Steve Carpenter reminded all of us of the scale of the phosphorus problem facing our lakes. We often are asked what Clean Lakes Alliance is doing to tackle these issues locally.

Dane County is made up of a large urban population and thriving agricultural community. We greatly value the need to partner with farmers on solutions that will really work.

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Clean Lakes Alliance, in partnership with Yahara Pride Farms and Endres Berryridge Farms, hosted our fourth annual Farm Tour on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017. The event was held at the Endres Berryridge Farms manure compost site in Waunakee, Wisconsin.

The event brought together more than 120 attendees (farmers and suburbanites alike) to learn about manure composting as a manure management technique. Roughly 50 guests were members of the North American Manure Expo traveling from as far as Ontario, Canada to participate.

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