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Welcome to the first Lake-o-Gram of 2014!

Snowmelt season is upon us, and spring is right around the corner! As we wrap up a [very long] season of enjoying our frozen lakes with cross country skiing, ice skating and ice fishing, we’re excited to look ahead to the thaw. Here at Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA), we’re gearing up for spring programming and projects, and we hope you get involved. Read on for more on these opportunities.

In Partnership,

The Clean Lakes Alliance Team

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Welcome to Waves in the Watershed, an in-depth newsletter for donors of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). Waves in the Watershed will come out every two months and will detail the progress that the CLA is making toward our goal of reducing phosphorus in the Yahara watershed by 50% by 2025 and in engaging the community in our efforts.

Please note – the Lake-o-Gram will continue to be delivered to the inboxes of over 7000 individuals who have expressed a general interest in the CLA’s initiatives and events. The Lake-o-Gram is a brief digest that promotes upcoming events and volunteer opportunities and includes highlights and snapshots of what we’re working on. 

In Partnership,

The Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Team
Don Heilman, James Tye and Elizabeth Katt-Reinders

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What do leaves in the streets have to do with algae in the lakes? Rainfall and stormwater that run through streets and gutters leach phosphorus from fallen leaves and carry the nutrient-rich “tea” down the storm drains and straight to the lakes. Phosphorus is the nutrient that drives algae growth; so let’s do our part to stop leaf litter leaching!

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The seasons are changing, and so is the focus of the Clean Lakes Alliance! For our first two and half years as an organization, we have focused on building an alliance of community partners and strategically planning and prioritizing the work of lake improvement and protection. Three years in, we are now transitioning from the planning phase to implementation and community engagement.

While we continue to expand our educational and fundraising events, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, collaborating with our partners at the County, the University, the farming community, and many others across the watershed to lay the foundation for practices and projects that will reduce phosphorus loading to the lakes. We will continue to move these projects forward and share the good news as progress unfolds.

Please visit our website to view our 2012 Annual Report, which features details on the progress we’ve made and what lies ahead in the year to come. Read on below for this month’s updates.

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612699 is the grand prize winner of the raffle for Loop the Lake participants.  See below for details.

Even though it was one of the coldest summer days on record, we had a huge crowd at the Clean Lakes Festival this past Saturday! We want to extend a big thank you to all who attended the Festival and our Loop the Lake ride. 

We had a great turnout for our inaugural community bike ride, Loop the Lake, around Lake Monona with over 150 riders crossing the finish line. Along the ride, participants learned about local lake ecology and tried their hands at citizen water quality monitoring while staying hydrated.

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Did you see these two paddle boarders on Lake Mendota this week?

Summer’s off to a big start.  We’ve had a lot of rain recently.  If you want more information on lake levels, click here.

Our pilot programs in beach and citizen water quality monitoring continue to be successful.  We are testing James Madison Beach Monday through Friday and we have citizen volunteers testing on the four major lakes.  If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact us.

For you app-lovers out there, we suggest you get the free Lake Mendota Buoy app.  It provides live data on wind speed and direction, water temperature, and other factors to consider when going out on the lakes.  Available for iPhone and Android.

The Yahara Pride Farms certification program also continues to move forward.  We are out on the farms working to prevent runoff to our lakes.

This Lake-O-Gram focuses on ways for you to get out on the lakes this summer.

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Happy Start-of-Summer from the Clean Lakes Alliance! We are geared up and ready for a busy summer packed full with opportunities for you to engage with the lakes and Clean Lakes Alliance.

Yahara Lakes 101

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Pilot Program

Renew the Blue Volunteer Days

More Cow Power = Cleaner Lakes

Volunteer of the Year

Clean Lakes Alliance’s New Policy & Program Director

Upcoming Events

Last month, Clean Lakes Alliance kicked off our brand new Yahara Lakes 101 speaker series with a fantastic program on the relationship between lawn care and water quality by UW Madison Department of Soil Science professor, Dr. Doug Soldat. Our kickoff event was a great success with a full house and an abundance of positive feedback, and we thank our Monthly Sponsor Weed Man Lawn Care. We have a line-up of stellar scientists scheduled well into the fall to speak to us all about the science behind the issues that affect our beloved lakes. Come for a coffee and light breakfast on the beautiful lake patio here at the Verex Plaza, and learn about your lakes with Mendota as our backdrop.

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June 13, 2012
Public Health – Madison & Dane County
For Immediate Release Contact:
Jeff Golden 608 243 0302

Summer is Blue-Green Algae Season
Avoiding Contact is Best Way to Avoid Problems

MADISON, Wis. — Based on recent news reports and Public Health beach closing notices, this year´s blue-green algae season has clearly begun. The safest response when you see a bloom is to keep yourself, your children, and your pets out of the water and avoid all contact.

While blue-green algae often occurs intermittently throughout the summer season, the dry, hot, and sunny weather forecasted for the next seven to ten days may create favorable conditions for increased blue-green algae blooms on area waterways.

Blue-green algae are actually not algae, but photosynthetic bacteria (sunlight-loving) known as cyanobacteria.  Some of these bacteria are capable of producing toxins. Exposure to these toxins can produce a range of reactions, from rashes and lip blistering to negative effects on the liver and nervous system.  It can include sore throats, headaches, muscular and joint pain and asthmatic and gastro-intestinal symptoms.  Dogs swimming in or drinking water covered with a bloom can suffer near fatal or fatal consequences.

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And….we’re back!

Greetings Lake Fans! Hope everyone had a great summer. We sure did – lots of activities and even more meetings! Our momentum is almost breathtaking. So much to share…so little room. We’ll have more summer fun updates next month.

Sincere thanks for your continued support.

Dane County Water Champion Awards

In early June, the Clean Lakes Alliance hosted an awards reception at the Edgewater Hotel. This is the second year we have hosted the event, and we were happy to be part of the special awards going to Kathleen Falk and Dave Cieslewicz for their support and love of our lakes. Great lake friends, and fun fare – culminating in a sweet thunderstorm rolling across Lake Mendota.

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Science Forum yields Big Ideas

The first Yahara Lakes Science Forum, sponsored by Thermo Fisher was very successful… and enlightening. Many of the participants were among the initial authors of the Yahara CLEAN report and have significant knowledge about our watershed. Add to that a new mix of private sector minds and it made for great atmosphere for everyone. Thanks to the following people for their participation:

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