September 14, 2022 @ 8:00 am 9:00 am

Clean Lakes 101

Join us in-person or virtually Wednesday, September 14th from 8-9 a.m. to learn about an exciting effort to reimagine Lake Monona’s downtown shoreline. Register as an in-person attendee or to receive a Zoom link through your confirmation email and watch virtually.

About this Talk

The City of Madison has embarked on an exciting public-private partnership to re-envision the Lake Monona shoreline adjacent to downtown Madison and extending to the south side. As the first stage of this project, the City is sponsoring a design challenge in which leading national landscape design firms are competing to receive a $75,000 stipend–funded equally by the City and the nonprofit Friends of Nolen Waterfront Inc.–to prepare a conceptual master plan for a shoreline park from Machinery Row to Olin Park. Fourteen firms have responded to a Request for Qualifications. The Lake Monona Waterfront Ad Hoc Advisory committee, which is comprised of thirteen community members, will select three firms to submit conceptual master plans, from which the committee will recommend one firm to contract with the city to prepare a detailed master plan of the proposed park. Allen Arntsen, who chairs the committee, and Mike Sturm, who is the principal staff for the committee, will provide an overview of this Design Challenge effort and the Lake Monona Waterfront planning process.

About our Speakers

Allen Arntsen is the Chair of the City of Madison Lake Monona Waterfront Ad Hoc Advisory Committee, which has been charged with selecting a consultant to prepare a master plan for the Lake Monona Waterfront extending from Machinery Row to Olin Park. A retired attorney and longtime Madison resident, he has been involved in numerous civic activities over the past forty plus years, including serving on the City Council, Plan Commission, Community Development Authority Board and Alcohol License Review Committee, along with many other city committees. In addition, he has chaired the boards of several nonprofit organizations, such as Downtown Madison, Inc., the Madison Public Library Foundation, Madison Development Corporation and the Barrymore Corporation. He currently serves on the Friends of Nolen Waterfront board.

Mike Sturm is the Madison Parks Division project manager for the Lake Monona Waterfront planning initiative. He is a UW Madison graduate and registered landscape architect and has lived and worked in Madison since 1995. His previous projects include the Elizabeth Link – Peace Park renovation, State Street bus shelter competition, Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Skatepark in McPike Park, and Penn Park shelter improvements.

Event Details

This event will be held at The Edgewater hotel – grand ballroom level 5 (1001 Wisconsin Pl, Madison, WI 53703). Doors open at 7:30 a.m. The program runs from 8 – 9 a.m. A Q/A session will follow the presentation as time allows. Complimentary event parking will be available at The Edgewater parking ramp. Parking spots fill up quickly and may be limited depending on hotel capacity.

A Zoom link will be sent to all registrants via the Eventbrite confirmation email.

Clean Lakes 101 Lecture Series

Clean Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance 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 and UW-Extension Lakes, with presenting sponsors First Weber Foundation and Johnson Financial Group, hosting sponsor The Edgewater, supporting sponsor National Guardian Life Insurance Company, and media sponsor WKOW.


message from Paul Soglin

In the City of Madison, we believe that stormwater runoff and the effects associated with it directly impacts the lives of our residents and our entire community, and we work diligently to protect those resources. Often we think of stormwater as a “public works problem,” but this is not always the case.

The more we work on water quality problems, we find that drinking water, stormwater and sewer treatment are linked in real ways by our actions. While it is possible to use the traditional model, it can produce unintended consequences including increased cost.

As we talk about the lakes and water quality today, it is important that we recognize we each have a role in the creation of stormwater runoff, and each of us needs to take part in reducing the impact of our actions.

Recently, Madison Water Utility, City Engineering, and many other partners have begun to create a voluntary certification program working with road salt applicators to reduce the amount of salt applied to parking lots and roads. The goal is to apply an amount needed for safety, because chloride can impact surface waters, wells, and even the sewer treatment plant.

Solutions to this and other stormwater pollutant problems, such as the phosphorous associated with fall leaf collection, may call for some non-traditional public works solutions, including source reduction and engaging the public to help us toward those efforts. This follows a long understood idea that it is better to avoid putting something in the water than it is to try and get it out down the road.

Expect Madison to continue to lead in finding new ways to address common problems like leaf collection and salt reduction. We are all in this together.


This message was originally published in May of 2017 for the 2016 State of the Lakes Annual Report.

Mary B on Lake Mendota (1955). Photo courtesy of Jay Payton.

Restoration Efforts Underway for Historic Madison Ice Yacht

On a cold, bright day in February 2016, an iconic piece of Madison’s history came home in memorable style. As the wind freshened, the towering sails of the Mary B iceboat filled and the 39-foot craft took flight—skimming across the ice with the same grace and agility that drew crowds of cheering onlookers to Madison’s lakes more than 60 years ago. That short-but-triumphant cruise was the first of what an enthusiastic group of fans hope will be many such adventures for the venerable Mary B.

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Mayor Paul Soglin

A message from Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison, for the 2015 State of the Lakes Annual Report:

The year of 1973 is notable for a couple of firsts. The same year that I was first elected Mayor, we adopted the City’s original salt reduction resolution. Another environmental milestone was achieved ten years later, in 1983, when the City passed one of the region’s first storm water ordinances. 

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Streambank and Stormwater Projects

Nakoma Channel Before. Photo by Phil Gaebler.

Nakoma Channel Before. Photo by Phil Gaebler.

The City of Madison completed two major channel restorations in 2015, including 2,000 feet of Wingra Creek and 500 feet in the Nakoma Channel, north of Lake Wingra. The city also completed stormwater pollution prevention plans for eight public work sites, and implemented control structures at two of these sites. These include a stormwater catch basin and screen structures and separators, which trap debris and sediment from high-volume runoff.

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