Clean Lakes 101

Learn more about the science behind the issues impacting our lakes!

Clean Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public. These monthly lectures are a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues impacting our lakes. Each month, we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to technical and non-technical audiences alike.

Join us at Clean Lakes 101

Events are held at The Edgewater. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy coffee, pastries, and fruit. The program begins at 8 a.m., and class is dismissed by 9 a.m. Complimentary event parking will be available at The Edgewater.

Admission is FREE for 2024 Friends of Clean Lakes and Lake Partners. Online registration for each event is requested for all attendees.

Upcoming events


Clean Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance to learn more about the science behind the issues that affect our lakes. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences. The series is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and UW-Extension Lakes, with presenting sponsor National Guardian Life Insurance Company, hosting sponsor The Edgewater, supporting sponsor Johnson Financial Group, and media sponsor WKOW. Additional support is provided by Alliant Energy FoundationHovde Properties, and Perkins Coie LLP.

Past Speakers

April 17, 2024 - Samantha Skenandore, "Rights of Nature"

February 14, 2024 - Justin Chenevert, "Love in the Lakes"

January 29, 2024 - Hilary Dugan and Zach Feiner, "What's Under the Ice?"

November 8, 2023 - Eric Booth, "Overcoming Barriers to Local Water Quality Progress"

September 13, 2023 - Joe Parisi and Laura Hicklin, "Healthy Lakes, Healthy Climate"

August 9, 2023 - Dr. Eric Carson, "Investigating Glacial Lake Yahara"

June 14, 2023 - Jennifer Lavender Braun, "Beach Testing on the Yahara Lakes"

April 13, 2023 - Dr. Matt Seib, "From Waste to Worth: Phosphorus Recovery and Reuse"

March 8, 2023 - Dr. James Skibo, "The Lake Mendota Dugout Canoe Discovery"

November 9, 2022 - Lars Higdon, "Native Seeds for the Future: Dane County's Seed Program"

October 12, 2022 - Aaron Williams, "Willow Creek Landscape Master Plan"

September 14, 2022 - Allen Arntsen and Mike Sturm, "Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge"

August 22, 2022 - Joe Parisi, John Reimer, and Kyle Minks, "Suck the Muck at Sixmile Creek"

July 13, 2022 - Pete Jopke, "Aquatic Plant Management on the Yahara Lakes"

June 8, 2022 - Dr. Paul Block, "Season-Ahead Algal Bloom Forecasting"

April 13, 2022 - Ben Martin, "Lake Mendota: The Good, The Bad, The Present"

March 9, 2022 - Dr. Trina McMahon, "Microbes and the Mercury in My Fish Fry"

February 2, 2022 - Justin Chenevert, "Love in the Lakes"

January 31, 2022 - Dr. Marissa Jablonski, Dr. Margaret Lumley, Daphne Joyce Wu, Moderator Katherine Noël, "Women in Water and Sustainability"

January 12, 2022 - Igor Mrdjen, "Changing How We See Algal Blooms"

December 8, 2021 - University of Wisconsin-Madison Civil and Environmental Engineering Senior Capstone Students, "A New Vision Through UW Student Design"

November 10, 2021 - Dr. Katie Richgels, "At-Home Water Quality Action"

October 20, 2021 - Cassie Goodwin and Jacob (J.) Blue, "A New Compact for Cleaner Lakes"

August 11, 2021 - Tim Baye and Jessica Niekrasz, "Farm, Energy, Water, & Carbon Markets"

July 14, 2021 - Gina LaLiberte, "Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms in Our Waters"

April 14, 2021 - Dr. Matt Diebel and Dr. Richard Lathrop, "Yahara CLEAN Compact: State of the Science"

March 10, 2021 - Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, John Reimer, and Kathy Kuntz, "Healthy Land, Healthy Lakes"

February 10, 2021 - Justin Chenevert, "Love in the Lakes"

January 13, 2021 - "Awards, Accomplishments, & Ambitions"

December 9, 2020 - Dan Williams and Eric Knepp, with an introduction from Satya Rhodes-Conway, "A Master Plan for Vilas Park"

November 11, 2020 - John Reimer, Chin Wu, Eric Knepp, and David Rowe, "A New Vision for the Cherokee-Yahara River Estuary"

October 14, 2020 - Bill Selbig, "Leaf-Free Streets: Reducing Urban Phosphorus"

September 9, 2020 - Patrick Goggin, "Shorelines, Clean Water, and Healthy Lakes"

August 12, 2020 - Joe Parisi, Lloyd Eagan, and Mark Wegner, "Pheasant Branch Conservancy: Protect, Restore, Preserve"

June 10, 2020 - Paul Skawinski, "The Beauty and Basics of Rain Gardens"

May 20, 2020 - Gary Brown, Lauren Striegl, and Aaron Williams, "Back to the Future: The Planning of Willow Creek as a Campus Amenity"

March 11, 2020 - Dr. Daniel Wright, "Planning for a Hotter, Wetter Wisconsin"

February 3, 2020 - Marie Raboin, Christy Remucal, and Carrie Sanders, "Women in Water & Sustainability"

January 8, 2020 - Paul Garrison, "History in the Mucking"

November 13, 2019 - Jeff Endres, "Yahara Pride Farms: Collaborating for Farm Sustainability and Water Quality"

October 9, 2019 - Dr. John Lyons, "The Decline of the Small Fishes of the Madison Lakes"

September 11, 2019 - Dr. Steve Vavrus, "Climate Change and Lake Impacts"

July 24, 2019 - Dr. Claire Gervais, "Yahara Watershed Pollutants and Health"

June 12, 2019 - Dr. Paul Hanson, "Lake Mendota Phosphorus and Our Water Quality Woes"

April 10, 2019 - Dr. Karen Oberhauser, "Monarch Conservation: All Hands on Deck"

March 13, 2019 - Janice Rice, "If the Waters Could Speak: Ho-Chunk Lifeways"

February 13, 2019 - Dr. Hilary Dugan, "Salt and Our Freshwater Lakes"

January 9, 2019 - Dr. Claudio Gratton, "Upending the Paradigm: Agriculture and the Environment for a Sustainable Future"


November 14, 2018 - Phil Gaebler, "Rake for Our Lakes: Urban Leaf Management"

October 10, 2018 - Joe Parisi and Dr. John Reimer, "Recovery, Rebuild, Resilience: Dane County Budget Flood Initiatives"

August 8, 2018 - Dr. Cal DeWitt, "Waubesa Wetlands: A New Look at an Old Gem"

July 11, 2018 - Dr. Trina McMahon, "Cyanobacteria: The Known and Unknown"

June 13, 2018 - James Tye and Eric Knepp, "Back to the Beach"

May 9, 2018 - Karen Oberhauser, "Monarch Butterfly Conservation: All Hands On Deck"

April 11, 2018 - Susan Graham, "Aquatic Invasive Species"

March 14, 2018 - Michael Mucha, "Respecting Every Drop: The Adaptive Challenge"

February 14, 2018 - Justin Chenevert, "Love in the Lakes: An Overview of Aquatic Reproductive Strategies"

January 10, 2018 - Dr. Paul Robbins, "Water at UW: current research, science and engagement for lakes, streams and watersheds"

November 9, 2017 - James Tye, "Our Lakes at a Crossroads"

October 12, 2017 - Phil Gaebler, "Clean Streets, Healthy Lakes"

September 14, 2017 - Sara Walling, "Nutrient Management Planning and Water Quality"

August 10, 2017 -  David Rowe and Austin Ragotzkie, "Fish of the Yahara Lakes"

July 13, 2017 - Dr. Sandra McLellan, "Tracking bacterial contamination in urban waterways"

June 8, 2017 - Dr. Jake Vander Zanden, "What do invasive spiny water flea and zebra mussels mean for water quality in Lake Mendota?"

May 11, 2017 - Jenny Siefert and Jeremy Solin, "Systems and Scenarios: New Ways of Engaging Your Community in Water Sustainability"

April 13, 2017 - Jeremy Balousek, "Dane County’s Science-based Approach to Regulating Construction Site Erosion"

March 9, 2017 - Mark Riedel, "Rock River Recovery, aka the Clean Water Act at work"

February 9, 2017 - Mike Parsen, "Characterizing the sources of elevated groundwater nitrate in Dane County, Wisconsin"

January 12, 2017 - Dan Brown and Missy Tracy, "The Ho-Chunk People of TeJop"

November 10, 2016 - Clean Lakes Alliance staff, "A Clear Year on the Yahara Lakes?"

October 13, 2016 - Joe Parisi, "Impacts of Conservation and Legacy Sediment on Water Quality within the Dorn Creek Watershed"

September 8, 2016 - Cassie Goodwin & Gary Brown, "UW-Madison Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Runoff to Lake Mendota"

August 11, 2016 - Dane County and Clean Fuel Partners, "The Future of Digesters in Dane County"

July 14, 2016 - Dr. Jake Walsh, "The past, present, and future of invasive species in Madison’s lakes"

June 9, 2016 - Dr. Rebecca Larson, "Managing manure to reduce water quality impacts"

May 12, 2016 - Amy Barrilleaux, "One Water: The critical need for water conservation in a 'water-rich' city"

April 14, 2016 - Dr. Ken Potter, "Climate change, lake levels, and flooding"

March 10, 2016 - Dr. Steve Carpenter, "Water quality in the Yahara 2070 scenarios"

February 11, 2016 - Kathy Lake, "When there is no away: preventing pollution for cleaner waters"

January 14, 2016 - Dr. John Magnuson, "What lake ice tells us about climate change and variability: An update on Mendota and lakes around the world."

November 12, 2015 - Katie Nicholas, James Tye, Jordan Barrette - “LakeForecast.org: All Eyes on Lake Water Quality”

October 8, 2015 - Roger Bannerman - "Saving Our Urban Waterways: The Role of Stormwater Management"

September 10, 2015 - Todd Stuntebeck - "Carried Away: Stream Flow and Nutrient Transport to the Lakes"

August 13, 2015 - Alison Mikulyuk, “Weird Wisconsin Weeds: Getting to Know the World of Underwater Plants”

July 9, 2015 - Dr. Eric Booth, "Climate, Cities, and Farms: Challenges for Improving Water Quality”

June 11, 2015 - Dr. Vander Zanden and Jake Walsh, "Lake invaders: How invasive spiny water flea have degraded water quality in our lakes"

May 14, 2015 - Dr. Cory McDonald, "Where and When: Seasonality in Sources of Phosphorus in the Yahara River Watershed"

April 9, 2015 - Dr. Dick Lathrop, "Restoring Shallow Lakes by Reducing Carp Densities"

March 12, 2015 - Dr. Ankur Desai, "Can Lakes Change the Global Climate?"

February 12, 2015 - Beth Wentzel, "Stream Restoration as a Tool for Restoring Watersheds"

January 8, 2015 - Bob Uphoff, "The Yahara Pride Farms farmer-led conservation model"

November 13, 2014 - Katie Van Gheem and Paul Dearlove (CLA Staff), "Citizen Monitoring and Crowdsourcing to Track and Forecast Near-Shore Lake Conditions"

October 9, 2014 - Ken Bradbury, "Lakes, Streams, and Groundwater: A Single Resource"

September 11, 2014 - Dr. Chin Wu, "Floating Bog Interceptors in Cherokee Marsh"

August 14, 2014 - Dr. Trina McMahon, "Blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mendota: the Mystery of the Missing Nitrogen"

July 10, 2014 - Dr. Eric Booth, "Development of the Yahara 2070 Scenarios"

June 12, 2014 - Dr. Calvin DeWitt, "Sustaining Yahara Lakes and Waterscapes"

May 8, 2014 - Dr. Emily Stanley, "Yahara Long Term Ecological Research: Trends & Patterns"

April 10, 2014 - Dr. Doug Soldat, "Lawn Care, Soils and Water Quality"
Monthly Sponsor - Weed Man Lawn Care

March 13, 2014 - Greg Fries, "Urban Stormwater Runoff"

February 13, 2014 - Dennis Frame, "Manure Management and Ag Innovation"

January 9, 2014 - John Magnuson, "Climate Change and the Yahara Lakes"

Nov. 14, 2013 – William Selbig, "Leaves and Lakes: Urban Phosphorous Runoff"

Oct. 10, 2013 - Clean Lakes Alliance staff, "Work in the Watershed"

Sept. 12, 2013 – Jon Standridge, "Testing the Waters: Citizen Water Quality Monitoring"

Aug. 8, 2013 – Alison Mikulyuk, "They're Not Weeds! Discovering Aquatic Plant Communities"
Monthly Sponsor- Spectrum Brands

July 11, 2013 – Ted Bier, "More than Hook'n'Line: Fish of the Yahara Lakes" 
Monthly Sponsor- CUNA Mutual Foundation

June 13, 2013 – Jake Vander Zanden, "Mussels and Spines: Invasive Species and the Yahara Lakes Food Web"
Monthly Sponsor - Beyler Chiropractic

May 9, 2013 – Doug Soldat, "Green Lawns, Green Lakes? Lawn Care and Water Quality"
Monthly Sponsor - Weed Man Lawn Care


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