The Yahara CLEAN Compact will continue to improve the condition and usability of our lakes and beaches. What we are doing to protect the lakes is working. However, more needs to be accomplished and at a faster pace. The concentration of phosphorus per gallon of water in rivers and streams is trending downward. Unfortunately, the amount and intensity of precipitation is increasing. More overall streamflow and phosphorus is being delivered to the lakes, as a result.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It takes ALL of us to make a difference
Help Clean Lakes Alliance advocate for change
In Greater Madison, the time has come to put lakes at the top of our community agenda. Recent flooding and historically large cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms are symptoms of a changing climate and a harder, less resilient landscape. The Center for Climatic Research has documented southern Wisconsin’s increasingly wet climate, with more frequent heavy rain events causing flooding throughout the region. This is impacting lake water quality by bringing increased sediment and nutrient pollution to our lakes and streams. We need a change in how we manage the landscape surrounding our homes, farm fields, and city streets to accommodate a wetter climate in our region.
Wetlands and the Yahara Watershed
From Cherokee Marsh north of Lake Mendota to the Waubesa Wetlands on the southwest shore of Lake Waubesa, wetlands can be found throughout the Yahara Watershed. In preparation for Dr. Cal DeWitt’s upcoming presentation, “Waubesa Wetlands: A New Look at an Old Gem,” we’ve prepared an overview of wetlands in the Yahara Watershed.
Community Board signs Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes resolution
Our Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board met this morning and voted to support the eight draft recommendations proposed by Dane County’s Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes Task Force. That 14-member group was charged with developing policy proposals to reduce the impact of phosphorus runoff from agricultural activities to our five lakes. I serve on the task force along with other Clean Lakes Alliance partners.
On a parallel path, Clean Lakes Alliance’s Economic Impact and Policy Committee has also been meeting over the course of this past year, consulting with experts, scientists, and community leaders to develop advocacy goals that align with and help us achieve our Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward.
Once a week during the beach season, Public Health Madison & Dane County tests our beaches for E. coli bacteria, which is an indicator for pathogens that might pose a human health risk.
These tests are important, because they help to close our beaches when it isn’t safe to swim. However, the labor involved with collecting samples and processing them in the lab makes testing expensive. While water conditions may change on a daily or even hourly basis, it usually isn’t feasible to test that frequently.
The Yahara Watershed cuts through the middle of Dane County and drains an area of nearly 536 square miles, but few realize the northernmost tip of the watershed lies in Columbia County. This small parcel of 28 square miles is now part of the community-wide partnership effort to reduce phosphorus runoff to the lakes. Columbia County has begun a two-year service agreement with Yahara WINS and is taking impressive steps forward in the name of healthy lakes.