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MMSD chlorides flyer - keep water fresh

Emily Jones, Pollution Prevention Specialist, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

Next time you’re at Camp Randall Stadium, take a look around and picture twenty 50-pound bags of water softener salt stacked on top of each of the 80,321 seats. That’s about how much salt makes its way down the drain and to Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s wastewater treatment plant every year.

But the salt doesn’t stop there. The treatment plant isn’t designed to remove salt, so salt passes through the plant into local streams, where it can threaten freshwater life. Removing salt at the treatment plant would be expensive and energy-intensive, so MMSD is working to protect water more efficiently by reducing the salt that goes down the drain.

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Zebra mussels Madison lakes

Zebra mussels, a native of Europe and Asia, have recently established a reproducing population in lakes Mendota and Monona. These little filter-feeding organisms can negatively impact native lake ecosystems. Although they might increase water clarity by feeding on zooplankton, green algae and other debris, zebra mussels do not eat blue-green algae. This means they can deplete the water of important fish food and natural algae grazers. Zebra mussels may also damage boat hulls and engines and cut the feet of swimmers. Zebra mussels are difficult to eradicate once established in a water body.

Clean Lakes Alliance is working with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and UW-Madison Center For Limnology to track zebra mussel population establishment and expansion in the Yahara chain of lakes and could use your help!

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Jeff Endres Yahara Pride Farms ag innovation day 2016

Soil is a farmer’s best asset. It provides the nutrients for crops to grow and prosper. To enrich their soil, farmers use various conservation practices to ensure the vitality for generations to come. One such practice is utilizing cover crops, which are grown to improve the soil rather than for profit.

Jeff Endres, chair of Yahara Pride Farms, is doing his best to protect the soil on his farm. Endres planted a pea and barley mix in mid-August after he harvested his winter wheat this July. After he finishes harvesting his corn this fall, he will plant barley. He has found these cover crops to improve his soil and help with the future crop.

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Lake

At Clean Lakes Alliance, we know keeping our lakes healthy is a community job.

Our partners at Dane County, the City of Madison, the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, and numerous local municipalities and agencies commit significant time and resources to our lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance works closely with the staff and leadership to support this work and to raise public support for healthy lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance’s work to improve water quality is fueled by the community at large. We rely on support from people like you, donations made by businesses, money raised through events and sponsorships, contributions of time, skills or, equipment, and, of course, by grants. We regularly receive grants from both local and national organizations—which allow our work to be applied beyond our immediate community.

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Mary B on Lake Mendota (1955). Photo courtesy of Jay Payton.

Restoration Efforts Underway for Historic Madison Ice Yacht

On a cold, bright day in February 2016, an iconic piece of Madison’s history came home in memorable style. As the wind freshened, the towering sails of the Mary B iceboat filled and the 39-foot craft took flight—skimming across the ice with the same grace and agility that drew crowds of cheering onlookers to Madison’s lakes more than 60 years ago. That short-but-triumphant cruise was the first of what an enthusiastic group of fans hope will be many such adventures for the venerable Mary B.

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Lake Mendota, Don Sanford

Until last fall, most folks knew Don Sanford as one of the pack of “water rats” who raced their sleek, wind-powered craft on the waves and ice of Madison’s lakes. But with the publication of a book 12 years in the making, Sanford took on an unlikely new role: keeper of the history and lore of Lake Mendota.

“I’ve always been a sailor, never a writer,” says Sanford, an agile-looking man with a grizzled beard and sea-grey eyes behind wire rim glasses. “When I started the project, the last thing I had written was in grad school back in 1974.” Yet he dove in, driven by knowledge that Lake Mendota was too often a mystery to the people who lived along its shores. “I’d pick up friends from the Memorial Union for a boat ride, and we would start cruising down the shoreline. Without fail, somebody who’d spent their whole life in Madison would say, ‘Where the hell are we? I don’t know what this place is.’ Whenever that happened,” Sanford recalls, “it always made me think that somebody— somebody else, that is—should produce a lake guide.”

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Lake Monona and Downtown Madison

In Madison, Wisconsin, you can’t “say it all” until you’ve said Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa and Kegonsa. These five lakes are an integral part of our culture, and one of the major reasons Madison ranks as a “most livable” city year after year. Their waters entice us to visit, work or study here, and often to stay. When our lakes are healthy, our communities can flourish. That is the philosophy behind our work: Healthy Lakes. Healthy Communities.

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You can’t see it— but more than a third of Dane County cropland has one. It’s considered one of the best practices farmers can use to prevent water quality issues due to nutrient runoff. And this practice is growing: by more than 11% in Wisconsin from 2014 to 2015 alone. Learn more about farm nutrient management planning.

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