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Bernies Beach

A shared vision for clean, safe, and accessible lakes

In August 2019, leaders from government, business, and nonprofit organizations came together with a shared vision. The vision included a future in which Greater Madison’s five Yahara lakes are clean, safe, and accessible for everyone. Together, the 19 partners and collaborators formed the Yahara CLEAN Compact and committed to sharing resources and working together to curb pollution and chart the best path forward to cleaner, healthier lakes.

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Loop the Lake 2019 - with Friends sign

Take the next step and support our lakes!

Are you looking for a way to connect with our lakes this spring and summer? Here are 8 ways you can support Clean Lakes Alliance as we work toward protecting and improving the lakes of the Yahara Watershed.

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Water Quality Monitoring

Overview

In 2019 water quality monitoring took place at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes. Volunteers measured near-shore water clarity, air and water temperature, and noted several visual observations during the monitoring season, which runs from May to September. 

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2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards - awards

Announcing our 2019 Clean Lakes Community Awards Winners

On December 3rd, 2019 Clean Lakes Alliance honored seven outstanding individuals and groups at the Clean Lakes Community Awards. This event, presented by Town Bank, recognizes the accomplishments of individuals, volunteers, businesses, farmers, and other entities working to protect our Yahara lakes.

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Combine, Courtesy Illinois Farm Bureau

Wet weather forces farmers to alter harvest

As farmers across the area rush to get crops out of the fields, wet soil continues to slow this season’s harvest. In many cases, the wet soil made it impossible for farmers to get large trucks and trailers into the fields. As a result, farm equipment continues to be parked and loaded on the road.

“The rain and snow we experienced this fall has delayed the harvest by almost two months. When farmers are forced to park on the road it creates a safety issue when motorists drive too fast or too close to those trucks.”

Jeff Endres, Yahara Pride Farms Chairman
Combine used during harvest, Courtesy Illinois Farm Bureau
Combine used during harvest
(Courtesy Illinois Farm Bureau)

Helping with the harvest

Yahara Pride Farms’ partnering organization, Clean Lakes Alliance, wanted to draw more attention to area farmers working in altered conditions. This week Clean Lakes Alliance purchased more than 50 safety strobe lights that can attach to vehicles and equipment parked on the road.

“Yahara Pride farmers work to incorporate farming practices every day that help keep our lakes clean and safe, so it’s important to us to promote safety as they work to finish their harvest.”

James Tye, Clean Lakes Alliance Founder & Executive Director

Yahara Pride Farms board members will distribute the lights to the participating farmers in the watershed in the next few days. The goal is to have them in use as soon as possible. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is reminding motorists to avoid distractions and be mindful of speed limits as farmers work during hours of darkness to harvest their crops.

Working together since 2011

Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led nonprofit working to promote the adoption of conservation practices within the Yahara River Watershed. Clean Lakes Alliance founded and incubated this farmer-led organization. We have invested more than $500,000 to-date. Our investments have helped expand the group’s reach and impact.

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2019 Thankful For

Things we’re thankful for at Clean Lakes Alliance

At Clean Lakes Alliance, we’re thankful to be part of a community that is surrounded by five beautiful lakes. Our Yahara lakes provide ecological diversity, recreational opportunities, economic benefits, and endless beauty to the Greater Madison area, its residents, and guests.

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Lake Explorer Camp 2017 Group

Madison Boats owner Tyler Leeper “paddles’ the extra mile for our lakes

Tyler Leeper has a deep connection to our lakes, and an even greater investment in their health. As the owner of Madison Boats, which includes Wingra Boats, Brittingham Boats, and Marshall Boats on Lakes Mendota, Monona, and Wingra, his family business is dependent on water quality and lake health.

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Cyanobacteria on Lake Mendota at the Memorial Union

Cyanobacteria

All five Yahara lakes saw cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms throughout the summer of 2019. One bloom in particular on Lake Mendota was quite large, covering at least an area from Picnic Point to the Memorial Union on August 1st. The bloom was well-documented by photos from community members as having a green pea soup-like consistency.

Cyanobacteria blooms are often bright green, but can also appear in shades of brown, blue, and white. Typically, blooms are spotted on warm days with calm winds. On August 1st, Madison reported a high of 81 degrees with an average wind speed of two miles per hour. 

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Farm field and tractor

A message from Yahara Pride Farms on land and conservation efforts

By Jeff Endres, Yahara Pride Farms

Despite a challenging start to the season, the hot, dry weather in July helped crops in Dane County catch up to where they needed to be. We have our fingers crossed for a pleasant fall so that we may have a bountiful harvest and weather conducive for appropriate nutrient application.

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