Blog

Earth Day 2019

Happy Earth Day!

Did you know 100 BILLION gallons of water pass through the Yahara lakes system annually? That’s more than 151,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

In Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have plenty of freshwater with more than 15,000 lakes! In Dane County, our five Yahara lakes make our community special, providing opportunities for recreation, research, and beauty.

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15 Ways to help our lakes

We are more than a quarter of the way through 2019, and the days are starting to warm as we head deeper into the spring season. As the lake season approaches, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with our lakes.

1. Join the Wave, May 8th

Get involved and "Join the Wave" at the 8th Annual Community Breakfast
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Ice cover tour of Madison's lakes with Wisconsin State Climatology Office

“Ice off” declaration from Wisconsin State Climatology Office

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office declared “ice off” for Lake Mendota and Lake Monona on Sunday, March 31, 2019. Lake Wingra’s “ice off” was declared on March 28, 2019. Lake Mendota recorded 86 days of ice during the winter of 2018/19, while Lake Monona had 97 days of ice and Lake Wingra had 111 days of ice cover.

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2019 Yahara Watershed Academy Class 2 at UW-Arboretum

Educating a new generation of lake leaders

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 am sharing my journey through the Academy in an effort to expand our community’s knowledge and passion for the Yahara River Watershed.

The second class of the Yahara Watershed Academy began on March 12th with some sunshine and the promise of warmer temperatures. The forecast held a marked improvement over February’s class, which took place during the biggest snowstorm of the season. Our cohort of 25 Academy students met bright and early at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum as birds chirped welcoming words for our arrival.

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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 wrapped up early 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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2018 Flooding

Yahara Lakes Water Quality Monitoring – 2018 Results

Overview

From May to September, volunteers at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes measured near-shore water clarity, air and water temperature, and noted several visual observations. Visual observations included presence of algal blooms (green/blue-green), floating plant debris, swimmers, waterfowl, wave intensity, and general water appearance. Volunteers were asked to log condition reports at a twice weekly minimum on our website, Lakeforecast.org, where all data are updated in real time.

Highlights

  • 79 near-shore and 7 offshore monitoring stations on all five Yahara lakes (Figure 1)
  • Weekly off-shore measurement of Secchi depth on all five lakes
  • Measured temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles on all five lakes (seven sites total)
  • Weekly monitoring continued at all 25 public beaches
  • 44% increase in number of condition reports from 2017 (Table 1)
  • Collected continuous near-shore temperature measurements at 17 sites on lakes Mendota, Monona, and Waubesa, and Kegonsa
  • Implemented E. coli sampling and cyanobacteria toxin testing pilots
  • Averaged 2.3 condition reports per site each week across all sites
  • Continued weekly Weekend Lake Reports with over 77,000 views on social media
 
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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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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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