July 17, 2012                               University of Wisconsin Madison News The strikingly blue algae that afflicted the Madison lakes last week hardly needs a danger sign to warn of its toxicity. But this stuff could, in the next days or weeks, be followed by blue-green algae that are much more toxic, says Katherine McMahon, an expert on lake ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Surprisingly, the more dangerous algae — technically called cyanobacteria — may not produce slimy gooey mats, but still may contain toxins that attack the liver or nervous system. Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic bacteria that live in colonies. They look like algae, which are floating organisms with a much closer relationship to plants. Toxic cyanobacteria occur in “eutrophic” lakes that suffer overgrowth of plants and other organisms due to high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus caused by runoff of manure and fertilizer. McMahon, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, says graduate student Lucas Beversdorf has noticed a transition during June or early July that shows “a switch from cyanobacteria that are not so nasty, to the sudden kickoff of some really nasty ones.” Read more at the University of Wisconsin 

From our friends at the University of Wisconsin – Center for Limnology UW Limnology Open House June 22
You are probably already aware of the world-class freshwater research going on right here in Madison. But we are hoping to spread the word by inviting the public to Hasler Lab’s first-ever open house! We would be honored if you could join us to learn about the Madison lakes, the history of limnology in North America, and the research we’re doing across the world. Weather permitting, we will offer short trips aboard our research boat, the Limnos, where passengers can try their hand at using various research tools (seating will be limited). We are also planning a number of children’s’ activities and interactive exhibits that will let people get acquainted with the plants and animals living in Madison’s lakes. Limnologists will be on hand to answer questions about one of Wisconsin’s most valuable resources – water!
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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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MADISON, Wis. — A new report by the Clean Lakes Alliance, the State of the Yahara Lakes Report, released in conjunction with the first annual Save Our Lakes Summit, highlighted ways (or metrics) to evaluate conditions in the Yahara Lakes during the summer of 2011.   The report details information about water clarity, phosphorus levels, beach closures, and more.  For the first time the State of the Yahara Lakes Report pulls together information from a variety of scientific and government sources including Public Health Madison and Dane County, Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds, and the University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology. Water clarity, as measured by a black and white Secchi disk, did increase in 2011 in three of the four Yahara Lakes (Mendota, Monona, and Kegonsa).  Water clarity is linked in part to the amount of phosphorus entering the lakes from the Yahara Watershed, as high-levels of phosphorus contribute to fertile growing conditions for algae.  Drought-like conditions in 2011 reduced the input of phosphorus and sediment that entered the lakes thus reducing their concentrations of phosphorus.
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January 2012 Board and Committee Meeting Reports On January 20, 2012 the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board and its committees met to set priorities for the year.  Below are the committee reports.  Any questions or comments can be referred to Economic Impact and Resources As a committee of the Clean Lakes Alliance, the Economic Impact and Resources Committee (EIRC) will focus on two tasks: (1) assessing the economic value to the local community and the State of Wisconsin of the Madison area lakes and the value of cleaning up the lakes; and (2) researching methods for obtaining funding or implementing policies to clean up the Madison area lakes. Task 1 will primarily consist of researching for existing economic valuations of the lakes and/or locating and hiring an economic consulting group that can estimate the monetary benefits associated with cleaning up the Madison area lakes. Task 2 will primarily involve researching ways of obtaining local, state or federal funding or implementing policy initiatives that will ultimately either pay for, or lead to, the cleanup actions identified in the Strand report.
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January 16, 2012 CONTACT: James Tye, Director of Development and External Affairs Clean Lakes Alliance Cell: (608) 628-6655 or

Mendota Freeze Contest Names a Winner!

Waunakee Woman Wins Grand Prize of Cross-Country Ski Package

MADISON, Wis. — The Clean Lakes Alliance is pleased to announce that Beverly Miller, of Waunakee, has won the first annual Mendota Freeze Contest by guessing correctly that Lake Mendota would freeze for the first time this winter on January 14. “I am surprised and very excited,” Miller said, when she was notified today about the contest results. She added that she had entered the contest at the urging of her son, who saw it reported on WMTV-TV in Madison. Don Heilman, Clean Lakes Alliance president, said the lakes later-than-average freezing date resulted in even more people entering the contest than he had expected. The Mendota Freeze Contest opened on December 1st and ran until Saturday, when the Wisconsin State Climatology Office announced that the lake had officially frozen over,” he said. “We had fantastic participation from the public and great support from our sponsors, and I think everyone had a lot of fun with it.”
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December 1, 2011 CONTACT: James Tye, Director of Development and External Affairs Clean Lakes Alliance Cell: (608) 628-6655 or

Mendota Freeze Contest Begins December 1

Entrants Can Win Prizes by Guessing When Lake Mendota Will Freeze

MADISON, Wis. — Think you know when Lake Mendota will freeze this year? Enter the Mendota Freeze Contest and you could win a prize for your correct guess! The free, online Mendota Freeze Contest is now open for entries. The contest is sponsored by the Clean Lakes Alliance and, a division of Weather Central LP. Madison Magazine is serving as a media sponsor and Erehwon Mountain Outfitter is donating the grand prize. Don Heilman, president of the Clean Lakes Alliance, says his organization works to engage the public in efforts to protect and enhance the water quality in area lakes. He is pleased that the contest will call attention to the starring role Dane County lakes play in many types of winter recreation.
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November 8, 2011 CONTACT: Don Heilman, president, Clean Lakes Alliance (608) 836-6973;

Clean Lakes Alliance Supports Edgewater Development

Organization Lauds Plans to Create Better Public Access to Lakeshore

MADISON, Wis. — The Clean Lakes Alliance today issued a statement in support of the Edgewater development project. The Alliance specifically lauded the projects plan to improve public access to the waterfront as part of the development. Every year, thousands of people enjoy spending time on the water at events sponsored by the Clean Lakes Alliance, said the Alliance’s president, Don Heilman. From our annual Clean Lakes Festival to Aquapalooza, we see how much people here love getting out on the water. We are very pleased that the Edgewater development includes plans not only for more public access but also for better public access to the downtown shore of Lake Mendota. Heilman also noted that the project includes measures to mitigate storm water run-off and help protect the water quality of Lake Mendota. Plans call for minimizing the amount of sediment, oil and grease that enters the lake both during and after construction, he said. This will be an improvement over where we are now, because storm water currently runs untreated directly into the lake.
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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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 21, 2011 Contact: Kim M. Straka or 608.772.7207

AquaPalooza 2011 Partners with Clean Lake Alliance and Skipper Buds for a Fun Lake Party with a Cause in Mind!

MADISON, Wis. — AquaPalooza is a celebration on Lake Mendota bringing boaters, sun and fun together for a great on-the-water party. This year the event is hosted by both Skipper Buds and Clean Lake Alliance on Sunday, July 31st, 2011 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the shore of Picnic Point. AquaPalooza is a series of on-water celebrations held during the last two weekends in July at more than 100 locations around the world. Originally created by Sea Ray Boats, AquaPalooza is free and open to all boaters and non-boaters. This year music will be provided by MidLife Crisis on a floating barge. See a video from last year. There will be various games and fun activities for family and friends of all ages. As a new partner to the event, Clean Lake Alliance will be providing lake water education information and taking donations to protect and improve the lakes, streams and wetlands in the Yahara Watershed.
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