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Get Involved with Our Lakes

CG Schmidt Volunteer Day

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

Clean Lakes Alliance Community Breakfast
Presented by Foley & Lardner LLP

Wednesday, May 8th; 7:30 – 9:15a.m.
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall
$1,000 per table | $100 per seat
Government, nonprofit, educational, & student discounts available Reserve your seat today!

Secretary Preston D. Cole - Wisconsin DNR

This year, we’ll hear from Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole about water initiatives for Madison and the State of Wisconsin.


Get involved by watching the lake and beaches forecast on your phone

2. Watch water quality

Before you pack your beach bag, check lakeforecast.org for real-time updates on water quality conditions on all five lakes. Add it to your mobile home screen so you never miss an update. 

Our network of more than 70 volunteer citizen monitors will launch the season with our community-wide dip-in on Thursday, May 23rd! 


yahara-lakes-101 2017 education recap
Q&A during a Yahara Lakes 101 education recap session

3. Learn about lake issues at Yahara Lakes 101

Learn about the science behind our lakes at our monthly Yahara Lakes 101 talks! This educational series is a great chance for you to dive deeper into the issues that impact our lakes, and network with other lake enthusiasts in the community.  Admission is FREE for Friends of Clean Lakes and Lake Partners, and $10 for everyone else.


Anna & Jesse Ganz are Madison residents who built a rain garden
Anna & Jesse Ganz are Madison residents who built their own rain garden

4. Increase infiltration at home

There are many things you can do around your home to help minimize the impacts of flooding and improve water quality. Creating a rain garden, harvesting rainwater, and laying porous pavement are a few ways to increase how much rainwater gets absorbed into the ground. Learn how you can take action at home today.

Loop-the-lake participants
More than 900 riders participated in the 2018 Loop the Lake

5. Bike for better water

Cruise around Lake Monona with family and friends! On Saturday, June 15th the community will come together to rally around our lakes for the 7th Annual Loop the Lake Bike Ride! The 12-mile route on Madison and Monona’s scenic “Lake Loop” features family-friendly stops along the way with beachside fun at the finish line. Loop the Lake Bike Ride
Saturday, June 15th; 10 a.m.
Olbrich Park in Madison, WI
$35 per rider, kids 10 & under ride FREE

All riders receive a super soft event t-shirt and picnic lunch. As always, your registration benefits work to protect and improve our lakes.


Kayaks and paddles at Brittingham Boats in front of Lake Monona

6. Paddle for a Purpose with Madison Boats

Support our lakes while you have fun on the water! Visit Brittingham Boats, Wingra Boats, or Marshall Boats on Monday nights this summer and 20% of your rental fee will support Clean Lakes Alliance. Any rental with a paddle is fair game – try kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding. Paddle for a Purpose runs from 4-8 p.m. every Monday, starting June 3rd. Visit our website to learn more!

Spend your summer on the water! Madison Boats is currently hiring boathouse crew members. Learn more and apply on their website.


Conservation buffer strip in rural Dane County.
Conservation buffer strip in rural Dane County. Buffer strips act like a sponge to absorb sediment and harmful phosphorus that would otherwise flow into our waterways. Help us plant more!

7. Invest in buffer strips

Clean Lakes Alliance is raising $50,000 in 2019 to purchase conservation buffer strip easements on farms north of Lake Mendota, in Columbia County. You can donate directly to this cause through our new Protect, Restore, Preserve Fund.

What are buffer strips? Conservation buffer strips are a protective zone of permanent vegetation between a farm field and waterway that protects water quality. Buffer strips act like a sponge to absorb sediment and excess phosphorus that would otherwise flow into our waterways. Learn more about buffer strips on our website.


Participants from Shoreline Swim

8. Swim for healthy lakes

Jump into Lake Monona on Saturday, July 27th for Big Swell Madison! Clean Lakes Alliance’s annual Shoreline Swim is now part of the Big Swell Swim Series, and has a new name. It’s still the same GREAT race in Lake Monona with a portion of your registration going directly to our lakes. Sign up now!


Waubesa Surf 'n Turf two men golfing near water

9. Spend a day golfing and fishing

What says summer better than a morning game of golf and an afternoon of fishing? Join us at Waubesa Surf ‘n Turf for a day of friendly competition to support out waters. The day includes 18 holes of golf in teams of three and a fishing tournament with dinner at Christy’s Landing. 

Waubesa Surf ‘n Turf Challenge
Thursday, July 11th; 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Legend at Bergamont & Lake Waubesa
$165 per player | $495 per team of three

Join us on Thursday, July 11th at The Legend at Bergamont and Lake Waubesa for a day of lake fun. Register your team of three today!


Intern working with the public

10. Intern with the alliance

Clean Lakes Alliance is now accepting applications for our summer internships! Our interns gain valuable experience in watershed engagement, business, marketing, and event planning. Apply today to help protect our lakes this summer!


Get involved by helping at a Renew the Blue Volunteer Day 
(Baker Tilly Volunteer Day)
Baker Tilly Volunteer Day

11. Become a Friend and join the community

Clean Lakes Alliance is raising $1 MILLION for our lakes in 2019 and we need all of our Friends on board! Starting at $35, you can become a Friend of Clean Lakes and support important phosphorus reduction and community engagement projects that will take place throughout the year.


12. Volunteer at a Clean Lakes Alliance event

Our event volunteers are essential to helping community members engage with our lakes. Sign up to help out at one of our upcoming events!

Get involved by volunteering at Loop the Lake

Loop the Lake

Saturday, June 15th
Olbrich Park & Lake Loop
Help with registration, course support, and event set up


Volunteers at the community breakfast

Community Breakfast

Wednesday, May 8th
Alliant Energy Center
Help with registration
and greeting guests


Lake-O-Gram Fish Collage

13. Buy art, drink beer, & benefit our lakes

Clean Lakes Alliance is honored to be the beneficiary of an event with Stick Vega, Delta Beer Lab, and The Waypoint Public House on Thursday, April 18th! This free event will feature a special “Beer Guppies” art collection and LIVE explosion art demo at 7 p.m. All Stick Vega art sales and 10% of Waypoint Public House sales will benefit our ongoing lake improvement efforts.

Stay updated on our Facebook event page! Art pieces will be released for sale the morning of the show, last year’s collection sold out in 30 minutes!


Get involved by sharing your photos of the lakes.
(Sailboat on Lake Mendota)

14. Send in your lake photos

Do you have some great photos of Lakes Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa, or Kegonsa? Whether it’s a lakeside sunset, aquatic wildlife, or your family enjoying the water, we would love to include your pictures in one of our upcoming publications! Send us your photos with a brief caption today.

Thank you Lake Partners
Lake Partners

15. Thank a Lake Partner (or become one!)

We believe the best way to improve our lakes is to get EVERYONE involved. Starting at $75, your business or organization can join our list of Lake Partners  by making an annual donation independent of events or sponsorships.

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