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Photo courtesy Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
Lake Wingra and Henry Vilas Park
Lake Wingra and Henry Vilas Park

Henry Vilas Park (Lake Wingra)

Henry Vilas Park is one of Madison’s oldest lakeside parks, and provides a gathering place along Lake Wingra for swimming, fishing, and even ice skating when the lagoon freezes over. The park was created from a 1904 donation from Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator, William Freeman Vilas (1840-1908), to the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, an organization committed to the development of parks and scenic drives in the Madison area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vilas also served as U.S. Postmaster General and Secretary of the Department of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland. Henry Vilas Park is named in memory of William’s son who died in childhood.

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Fishing along Monona Bay

Out-of-town anglers drawn to downtown Madison lakes

Spend time walking along Lake Monona between Law Park and Brittingham Park, and you’ll notice anglers tossing lines from plenty of places. Unfortunately, there is a lack of accessible shoreline fishing locations. Folks fishing have to contend with hazards like the wall at the Monona Terrace or the railroad tracks…which are actually illegal to use for fishing. Still, the challenges of fishing on Lake Monona do not seem to stop diehard anglers from spending time doing what they love.

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UW Lifesaving Station rescue boat

An interview with University of Wisconsin Lifesaving Station staff
Article first published in the 2023 Greater Madison Lake Guide, a Clean Lakes Alliance publication

Situated on the southern shore of Lake Mendota is a very unassuming building. You may not recognize the building, but you’ve probably seen one of the boats housed here out on the lake. It’s the University of Wisconsin Lifesaving Station and its job is to help keep everyone safe on Greater Madison’s largest lake.

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tenney_lock_dam

Yahara chain of lakes: Water level orders and challenges

By John Reimer, Assistant Director of Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
Article first published in the 2023 Greater Madison Lake Guide, a Clean Lakes Alliance publication

Cascading flow

The Yahara River chain of lakes is made up of several “lakes,” including Cherokee, Mendota, Monona, Upper Mud, Waubesa, Lower Mud, and Kegonsa (see map). The Yahara River inflow enters from the north and discharges into Lake Mendota through a narrow channel at the Highway 113 bridge.

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South End Waubesa June 12, 2020

An update to Clean Lakes Alliance’s vision and mission

By Linda Nedelcoff, Clean Lakes Alliance Board Chair

In May of 2010, a small, one-day festival received a large donation from Lands’ End. The Clean Lakes Festival, run by the very popular Mad-City Ski Team put on the event with a goal of “raising money for the lakes.” Quickly, it was realized that many businesses and community members wanted to invest in the lakes more than just one day a year. Born out of that festival was Clean Lakes Alliance.

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2022 Clean Boats, Clean Waters

Overview

In 2022, Clean Lakes Alliance received a Wisconsin DNR Surface Water Grant to participate in the Clean Boats, Clean Waters (CBCW) program. CBCW is a state-wide aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention program. The program increases awareness and education to boaters, anglers, and general lake users on best practices to prevent the further spread of AIS at our local boat landings. 

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Nine days of Frozen Assets

We had so much fun throughout the nine days of Frozen Assets 2023 and we hope you did too! More than 8,000 lake enthusiasts from near and far joined us for science demonstrations, musical performances, ice skating, food and drinks, ice sculpture carving, a chance to try new winter activities, face painting, networking, a chance to run or walk in the only 5K on a frozen lake in North America, and more! We THANK YOU for supporting lakes Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa, and Kegonsa!

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Lake enthusiasts from near and far joined us at Frozen Assets 2023 for science demonstrations, music, a 5K on a frozen lake, and more!

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View of Lake Mendota looking toward Picnic Point on December 25, 2022

Frigid air temperatures, combined with cold water and low winds, helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on December 25th, 2022. The declaration came from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze five days after December 20th. December 20th is the median ice-on date for the largest lake in the Yahara River Watershed. The Christmas Day freeze date is over a month shy of January 30th – which is the latest date that ice-on has ever been declared (1/30/1932).

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KNOW program fishing experience

Clean Lakes Grants awarded to local initiatives

Since Clean Lakes Alliance’s founding in 2010, the organization has awarded more than $1.4 million in grants. The grants fund a variety of lake-related projects and practices. This year, Clean Lakes Alliance awarded $100,000 in grants to community groups around our watershed looking to make a difference for our lakes. Below is an update on how some of those organizations have used the funds.

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