On Sunday, September 9th, the Wisconsin State Journal published an editorial that stressed the importance of the Madison lakes to the area. The editorial begins:

Nearly 3,000 athletes from around the world will plunge into Lake Monona today for the 12th annual Ironman triathlon.

The weather should be nice. And, more important, the water should be relatively clean.
That’s good news for those brave souls who will swim 2.4 miles (then bicycle 112 miles and run a marathon — whew!). Tens of thousands of fans are expected to cheer them on.

The event helps highlight how important clean lakes are to the Madison region’s economy, image and quality of life.

You can read the article on the Wisconsin State Journal’s website.

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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