Six awards announced at reception and networking event
First ever Clean Lakes Community AwardsClean Lakes Alliance was pleased to hold its first ever Clean Lakes Community Awards presented by Town Bank on Tuesday, November 27th, 2019. In light of significant challenges facing our lakes, we have been overwhelmed by the community’s response. The awards program recognized outstanding businesses, organizations, and individuals who have made our lakes a top priority. “I can honestly say, over the last few years, I have seen a big shift towards greater community involvement in lake health,” said Clean Lakes Alliance board chair Lloyd Eagan in address to the audience and awardees.
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.
Increasing lake access to Madison youthEarly experiences in nature can create lasting connections to the land and water that surrounds us. But many local residents don’t have opportunities to enjoy or learn about one of Greater Madison’s most prominent public resources; our lakes. Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Clean Lakes Alliance is working to shift that reality through the restructuring and expansion of our Lake Explorer Camp.
Trees are good, right?
Statewide phosphorus reduction credits for leaf collectionUrban 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.
Volunteers remain loyal to our lakes
It was a year of obstacles for our lakes, but volunteers are dedicated to improving our waters
From cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms, to elevated bacteria (E. coli) levels, to flooding, our lakes have had a tough season. With our lakes facing so many obstacles, it makes Clean Lakes Alliance even more appreciative of its volunteers.
Volunteers use leaf vacuums to protect Lake Kegonsa
A partnership toward leaf management and lake health in the Yahara River WatershedClean Lakes Alliance is excited to partner with the Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society (FOLKS) for one of our 2018 Clean Lakes Grants. FOLKS is a non-profit organization working to protect the environment and recreation of Lake Kegonsa and its surroundings. Leaf management in the Yahara River Watershed is an important step toward creating healthy lakes. By following effective leaf practices, we can reduce the amount of phosphorus reaching our waters. Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element found in leaves, dirt, manure, and other organic matter and is the root cause of water quality problems in the region. When excessive amounts enter our lakes, phosphorus can fuel toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) growth which can harm people and animals.
Clean Lakes Alliance is working for our lakes
Over the past twelve months, the Clean Lakes Alliance Economic Impact and Policy Committee met monthly and consulted with partners and experts to craft and adopt advocacy priorities. These goals will advance Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward, our four-year strategic plan.
Greater Madison is the lakes. With over 20 beaches and major lake access points (see map below), these gateways to our five lakes connect us to 58 miles of shoreline of which 48% is owned by YOU – the public! Clean Lakes Alliance is working to elevate the profile of our public lakeshores, from swimming beaches and fishing piers to boat landings and waterfront parks. Please tell us about the beach you visit by taking this short (5 minutes) survey. You may take this survey for as many beaches as you’d like to comment on.
This summer, the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy are testing the feasibility of a carp barrier in Pheasant Creek – thanks in part to support from a Clean Lakes Grant. We highlighted the grant award for the bubble barriers concept earlier in the summer and we’re very excited to share their progress!