Lake Ecology

Understanding lake ecology

Lake ecology has a big impact on lake health. Native and invasive species can interact in complex ways, even impacting water clarity and our economy.

Learn more about key topics:

The following organisms are present in the Madison lakes and can have a big impact on water quality.

About the lakes

The 62-mile long Yahara River connects lakes Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa, and Kegonsa in a chain that winds through south-central Wisconsin. Learn more about each lake, and follow the links to lake-by-lake pages with annual updates on water quality conditions.

Lake Mendota - Union - Thomas Klingele

Lake Mendota is the first and largest lake in the Yahara chain – learn more about Lake Mendota.

Katie Wheeler - Lake Monona

Lake Monona is the second lake in the Yahara chain – learn more about Lake Monona.

Lake Wingra

Lake Wingra is the smallest Yahara lake, connected to Lake Monona via Wingra Creek – learn more about Lake Wingra.

Aquatic Plant Harvesting on Lake Waubesa

Lake Waubesa is third lake in the Yahara chain – learn more about Lake Waubesa.

Ice Boats on Lake Kegonsa

Lake Kegonsa is the fourth lake in the Yahara chain – learn more about Lake Kegonsa.

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