Renew the Blue - Manure processing study announcement

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi recently introduced a 2023 budget proposal that could be a game changer for our lakes. The budget proposal includes an initial $3 million investment for a proposed study for a third Dane County manure digester. If approved, the proposal will lay the groundwork for the design and siting of a regional cow manure processing facility. The proposed budget follows the release of RENEW THE BLUE: A Community Guide for Cleaner Lakes & Beaches in the Yahara Watershed.

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November 9, 2022 @ 8:00 am 9:00 am


Join us for this VIRTUAL EDITION of Clean Lakes 101 on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. Register below to receive a Zoom link through your confirmation email and watch virtually.

Register by entering your information in the box below

All Clean Lakes 101 events are free to Friends of Clean Lakes Alliance. Friends are individuals that support our lakes annually with a tax-deductible donation.

About this Talk

The Dane County Park System manages over 17,000 acres of land that staff, volunteers, and partner organizations work to protect, improve, and restore. Among that total acreage exists a scattering of robust tallgrass prairies, a critical habitat for wildlife and a water quality benefit for our lakes. Prairies are native to the state of Wisconsin and have evolved here alongside native wildlife and pollinators. Prairies perform ecosystem services like managing rainfall by increasing infiltration, which is crucial for plant growth and resupplying groundwater. Many prairie plants have long, deep roots, which prevent soil erosion that would otherwise bring nutrients like phosphorus into our lakes.

To support existing prairies and establish new ones, native seeds are in high demand. In 2021, the total collected seeds had an estimated value of well over $1,000,000 and will be used to restore hundreds of acres of land. Without the support from volunteers, this level of restoration would not be possible. This presentation will showcase the Dane County Park’s native seed program and take the audience through every step of the process from seed collection to planting and everything in between.

About our Speaker

Lars Higdon has been the Botanist/Naturalist with Dane County Parks since 2016. He enjoys working closely with a large workforce of volunteers to restore prairies, savannas, and woodlands across dozens of parks and project sites throughout the park system. Lars has worked in multiple capacities managing and restoring natural communities in Wisconsin as well as southern California. Lars holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Event Details

This event has been changed to ONLY VIRTUAL. A Zoom link will be sent to all registrants via your 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.


Panorama of the Waubesa Wetlands

Behold The Things We Cannot See

About the author: My name is Karin Swanson and I am a student of the Yahara Watershed Academy. I work for Clean Lakes Alliance as the Marketing and Communications Associate Manager and I am a Meteorologist. I am sharing my journey through the Academy in an effort to expand our community’s knowledge and passion for the Yahara River Watershed.

The forgotten and sometimes unknown pieces of our watershed

“Behold the things we cannot see.” Take a moment to think about that sentence. What does it mean? We are so plugged in these days, but there is an abundance of information we can absorb that isn’t on Google or in a text book. There are actions occurring all around us. We may not know those things are happening, but we must trust and behold those occurrences – even if we cannot see the processes happening.

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Press conference announcing Dane County's 160 acre land purchase

Pheasant Branch Conservancy set to grow by 160 acres

On Thursday, May 16th, Dane County announced plans to purchase 160 acres of property for conservation. The property acquisition will be the largest conservation preservation investment in the county’s history, costing nearly 10 million dollars.

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Cows on Farm Tour 2017

Dane County Board adopts lake-friendly ordinance

Flooding and historically large cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms last summer are symptoms of a changing climate and a harder, less resilient landscape. To address these challenges, Clean Lakes Alliance has expanded our advocacy efforts. Advocacy at both the municipal and county levels will help address flooding and slow down runoff.

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Leaf Management

Trees are good, right?

Statewide phosphorus reduction credits for leaf collection

Urban trees provide many benefits to our communities. They help us save energy, reduce noise, and improve air quality. Trees are aesthetically pleasing, can increase property value, and provide natural homes for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Trees are also an important part of the earth’s water cycle. Transpiration from plants and trees is released into the atmosphere, and later becomes precipitation. The rain and snow return valuable moisture to our crops and forests, and the cycle continues.

However, trees can cause problems for our lakes if the leaves that fall from them each autumn are not regularly removed from streets and parking lots. When leaves collect on streets, they create a phosphorus-rich “tea” whenever it rains. The rain water passes through the leaf litter, and allows phosphorus to drain from the leaves. The leaf tea washes into storm drains and flows directly into our lakes, causing water quality to deteriorate.

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Action Alert

Will you help us advocate for our lakes?

We need your help!

At our Yahara Lakes 101 presentation, on Wednesday, October 10th, we heard from Dane County Executive Joe Parisi about the proposed 2019 budget and how it will address flooding concerns and lake health. The Dane County Board is holding a budget hearing on Wednesday, October 17th. There are many initiatives in the budget that will help our lakes, and they need YOUR support! Please advocate for our lakes in the following two ways:

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