Blog

EIPC Meeting

It takes ALL of us to make a difference

Help Clean Lakes Alliance advocate for change

In Greater Madison, the time has come to put lakes at the top of our community agenda. Recent flooding and historically large cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms are symptoms of a changing climate and a harder, less resilient landscape. The Center for Climatic Research has documented southern Wisconsin’s increasingly wet climate, with more frequent heavy rain events causing flooding throughout the region. This is impacting lake water quality by bringing increased sediment and nutrient pollution to our lakes and streams. We need a change in how we manage the landscape surrounding our homes, farm fields, and city streets to accommodate a wetter climate in our region.

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Friends of Clean Lakes sign at Shoreline Swim

A busy summer for our lakes

Summer in Madison would not be the same without our lakes. This year, especially, we’ve seen our lakes at their best and their worst due to record rain events, cyanobacteria blooms, and beach closures. Here at Clean Lakes Alliance, the summer is a time to get out and enjoy our lakes while also doubling down on our efforts to protect them. From innovative grant projects, to county policy recommendations, to record-setting engagement, we’ve been hard at work for our lakes this summer, and so have you! Let’s take a look back at some highlights from this lake season.
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Raking

Can garbage trucks help protect our lakes?

A partnership toward leaf management

Clean Lakes Alliance is excited to partner with the City of Madison for this month’s Clean Lakes Grant. Leaf management is a crucial step toward reducing the amount of phosphorus that reaches our lakes. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, the City of Madison is working to promote leaf management and leaf-free streets. Clean Lakes Alliance has contributed $4500, which will leverage a $9300 total project budget. The City of Madison paired with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor phosphorus in the City’s storm drainage system. The study shows a direct correlation between the mass of leaves in the street and the amount of phosphorus reaching our lakes.
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Bernies Beach
Greater Madison is the lakes. With over 20 beaches and major lake access points (see map below), these gateways to our five lakes connect us to 58 miles of shoreline of which 48% is owned by YOU – the public! Clean Lakes Alliance is working to elevate the profile of our public lakeshores, from swimming beaches and fishing piers to boat landings and waterfront parks. Please tell us about the beach you visit by taking this short (5 minutes) survey. You may take this survey for as many beaches as you’d like to comment on.
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Bubble barriers project
This summer, the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy are testing the feasibility of a carp barrier in Pheasant Creek – thanks in part to support from a Clean Lakes Grant. We highlighted the grant award for the bubble barriers concept earlier in the summer and we’re very excited to share their progress!
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Ag retailer network

Can working with ag retailers help our lakes?

Building an agricultural partnership to reduce phosphorus

We’re excited to partner with the Partnership for Ag Resource Management, known as PARM, for one of this year’s Clean Lakes Grants. PARM is a project of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Institute of North America, a non-profit devoted to improving health and the environment. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, PARM is working with local agriculture retailers to increase sales of products and services to reduce phosphorus in the Yahara Watershed. Clean Lakes Alliance has contributed $8,000, which will leverage a $53,000 total project budget.
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2017 Farm Tour

Community Board signs Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes resolution

Dear Friends, Our Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board met this morning and voted to support the eight draft recommendations proposed by Dane County’s Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes Task Force. That 14-member group was charged with developing policy proposals to reduce the impact of phosphorus runoff from agricultural activities to our five lakes. I serve on the task force along with other Clean Lakes Alliance partners. On a parallel path, Clean Lakes Alliance’s Economic Impact and Policy Committee has also been meeting over the course of this past year, consulting with experts, scientists, and community leaders to develop advocacy goals that align with and help us achieve our Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward.
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Volunteers test beaches for E. coli
Once a week during the beach season, Public Health Madison & Dane County tests our beaches for E. coli bacteria, which is an indicator for pathogens that might pose a human health risk. These tests are important, because they help to close our beaches when it isn’t safe to swim. However, the labor involved with collecting samples and processing them in the lab makes testing expensive. While water conditions may change on a daily or even hourly basis, it usually isn’t feasible to test that frequently.
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