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Educating kids is a top priority for Clean Lakes Alliance

World Water Day kicks of campaign to raise money, expand youth educational tools

All water is connected. In Greater Madison, drinking water pulled from groundwater aquifers is linked to surface waters. Whether it’s the lakes or drinking water, what happens on the land determines the quality of our water. Educating kids with this “one water” message is why Clean Lakes Alliance is launching educational tools to promote healthy water now and into the future.

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November 13, 2019 @ 2:00 am 3:00 am

2019-11_Yahara Lakes 101 Header

Yahara Pride Farms: Collaborating for farm sustainability and water quality

Join us at Yahara Lakes 101 to learn about important issues impacting our lakes!

About the talk

Agricultural areas represent the majority of the Yahara Watershed and the largest potential for phosphorus reduction. So what is being done in rural areas to help our lakes?

Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) is a farmer-led nonprofit organization working to improve soil and water quality. Since 2012, farmers in YPF programs have documented nearly 68,000 pounds of phosphorus that have remained on farm fields and out of rivers and streams by embracing farming practices promoted by the group. In this month’s Yahara Lakes 101 talk, we’ll hear from Yahara Pride Farms Chair Jeff Endres about the organization’s strategic urban-rural partnerships and how farmers are investing in lake health.

About our speaker

Jeff Endres is co-owner of Endres Berryridge Farms LLC in Waunakee, together with his brothers, Randy and Steve. He has 26 years of experience in field management, machinery operation and repairs, and overall day-to-day dairy operation management. The Endres family has farmed with a conservation mindset for multiple generations and was one of the first farms in Wisconsin to have an official nutrient management plan.

In 2012, Jeff teamed up with other farmers to create Yahara Pride Farms, with the mission to promote agricultural stewardship. The group focuses on the Yahara River Watershed, which covers one of the most populated and agriculturally productive areas in southern Wisconsin. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled the Yahara River, which connects several Madison-area lakes, as an impaired waterway and since that time, Yahara Pride Farms has been working on solutions. Today, the organization’s purpose is to inform agriculturists about water quality issues, reward farmers for environmental stewardship efforts, advance new strategies to improve water quality, and connect with the public to show agriculture’s commitment to protecting natural resources.

Event Details

This event is at The Edgewater. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy your coffee, pastries, and fruit. The program begins at 8 a.m., and class is dismissed by 9 a.m. Complimentary event parking will be available at The Edgewater.

Admission is FREE for Friends of Clean Lakes. If you are not a Friend, admission is $10 per event. Registration for each event is requested for all attendees.

Yahara Lakes 101 Science Café

Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues that affect our lakes. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences.

The series is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with presenting sponsors First Weber Foundation and Johnson Financial Group, hosting sponsor The Edgewater Madison, supporting sponsor National Guardian Life Insurance Company, and media partner the Isthmus. 

Yahara Lakes 101 Sponsors


November 13, 2019
2:00 am – 3:00 am
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Clean Lakes Alliance
(608) 255-1000
View Organizer Website

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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Nutrient Concentration System

Dear Friends of Clean Lakes,

Clean Lakes Alliance is very proud of the progress our community has made towards enacting the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Reducing Phosphorus. Dane County has been a leader in supporting clean water since the start. Just this past year, a $12-million, county-funded initiative to remove phosphorus-laced sediment from 33 miles of Yahara streams over five years helped further our common goal of healthy lakes.

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2014 Ag Innovation Days

Did you know groundwater levels are actually rising in the northern end of the Yahara Watershed? This video by UW-Madison’s Water Sustainability and Climate Project taps into the benefits of groundwater in agriculture. How does groundwater affect yields? Can we achieve “more crops per drop”? In what ways is crop production affected by changes in weather, land use and farming practices?

Turns out the benefits of higher groundwater can outweigh the costs – and groundwater could even be dynamically managed to benefit crops. Watch the video above to learn more.

Cover Crops in the Snow

In Wisconsin the harvest is wrapping up, but a farmer’s job doesn’t stop when the crops come off. Milking, feeding and caring for animals is a constant, regardless of the season. This also means manure to manage and store.

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Farm Tour

When many of us think composting, we think about throwing a banana peel or two on the heap. But composting has a place in agriculture too – three farms in the Yahara River watershed are implementing manure composting practices and seeing major benefits.

“The initiative Yahara Pride Farms has taken shows that farmers can do the composting process,” said Andy Skwor, agriculture team leader at MSA Professional Services Inc., a Midwest-based consulting firm.

We spoke with Andy last week about this exciting project to test both the costs and environmental benefits of windrow manure composting.

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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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Join us to learn about manure management and water quality impacts with Dr. Rebecca Larson, Manure Management Systems Specialist with UW-Madison Biological Systems Engineering.