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Frozen Assets on Land

Clean Lakes Alliance’s Frozen Assets Festival is ON!

Lake Mendota ice activities moved on land February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd

Madison’s favorite winter festival is moving forward with a full slate of activities during the first weekend of February at The Edgewater. Warm temperatures and a virtually snowless winter have left Lake Mendota’s ice cover in question for the February Frozen Assets Festival, presented by Lands’ End. But even if the ice is off, the FESTIVAL IS ON!

“Our number one goal every year is safety,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye. “We of course always want to be able to use Lake Mendota – our largest ‘frozen asset’ – for our festival. We have a great partnership with The Edgewater allowing us to hold events even if a changing climate takes away our ice.”

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2018 Flooding

Yahara Lakes 2018 Water Quality Monitoring Results

Overview

From May to September of 2018, water quality monitoring took place at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes. Volunteers measured near-shore water clarity, air and water temperature, and noted several visual observations. Visual observations included presence of algal blooms (green/blue-green), floating plant debris, swimmers, waterfowl, wave intensity, and general water appearance. Volunteers report conditions on our website, Lakeforecast.org. The website displays updated data in real time.

Highlights

  • 79 near-shore and 7 offshore monitoring stations on all five Yahara lakes (Figure 1)
  • Weekly off-shore measurement of Secchi depth on all five lakes
  • Measured temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles on all five lakes (seven sites total)
  • Weekly monitoring continued at all 25 public beaches
  • 44% increase in number of condition reports from 2017 (Table 1)
  • Collected continuous near-shore temperature measurements at 17 sites on lakes Mendota, Monona, and Waubesa, and Kegonsa
  • Implemented E. coli sampling and cyanobacteria toxin testing pilots
  • Averaged 2.3 condition reports per site each week across all sites
  • Continued weekly Weekend Lake Reports with over 77,000 views on social media
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Lake Mendota Frozen Dec 2018

It’s Official – ICE ON for Lake Mendota!

Ice on date beats median freeze date by five days

Despite warm weather in Madison over the weekend, cool nights, light winds, and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Saturday, December 15th. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze eight days after the smallest lake in the watershed, Lake Wingra, which officially froze on December 7th. Lake Monona officially froze on December 11th.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over. After ice took shape this weekend, staff waited to see whether it would hold out through the warm daytime temperatures. The December 15th freeze date is 12 days ahead of last year’s December 27th freeze date, and a surprising five days ahead of the December 20th median freeze date. The latest freeze date for Lake Mendota was January 30th – which happened in the winter of 1932.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office makes the official determination as to whether the lake is frozen. The climatologists use the same guidelines they have used for decades to determine whether the lakes are iced over. This allows for a continuity in data collection. Read more: Determining ice cover on Madison’s lakes.

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Volunteer Day

Volunteers remain loyal to our lakes

It was a year of obstacles for our lakes, but volunteers are dedicated to improving our waters

From cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms, to elevated bacteria (E. coli) levels, to flooding, our lakes have had a tough season. With our lakes facing so many obstacles, it makes Clean Lakes Alliance even more appreciative of its volunteers.

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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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Running-Michigan-Runner-Girl

America’s only 5K on a frozen lake

Join Clean Lakes Alliance for our Frozen Assets 5K, America’s only run entirely on a frozen lake!

Take a break from the hilly pavement and bring your stride to the ice. In this 5K race, participants will run or walk across the ice on iconic Lake Mendota for beautiful views of downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The course will start and end at The Edgewater. Medals will be awarded to our top finishers. Best of all, your registration supports work to protect and improve water quality in our lakes!

Online registration ends Wednesday, January 31st. Walk-ups welcome! Register at the start line at 9 a.m. the day of the race.

Click here to register

Contact Clean Lakes Alliance at info@cleanlakesalliance.org or 608-255- 1000 if your organization would like to get involved by becoming a sponsor.

Learn more about the Frozen Assets Festival: cleanlakesalliance.org/frozen-assets

Frozen Assets Fat Bike Race

Compete on Frozen Lake Mendota!

Join Clean Lakes Alliance for our second annual Frozen Assets Fat Bike Race on Lake Mendota!

In this night race, participants will cruise across the ice on iconic Lake Mendota and pass by downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The race will start and end at the Edgewater. Choose from a single lap, 4.25 mile course or a three lap, 12.75 mile course. Top finishers will receive medals. Best of all, your registration supports work to protect and improve water quality in our lakes!

Online registration is open until Wednesday, January 31st. Walk-ups welcome! Register by 5:30 p.m. the day of the race by the start line.

Click here to register

Contact Clean Lakes Alliance at info@cleanlakesalliance.org or 608-255- 1000 if your organization would like to get involved by hosting an activity or becoming a sponsor.

Learn more about the Frozen Assets Festival: cleanlakesalliance.org/frozen-assets

Meet us on Lake Mendota for the Frozen Assets Festival

Every year, the Frozen Assets Festival highlights the status of our lakes as one of our community’s biggest assets. This event has raised more than half a million dollars for our lakes since 2012! You’re invited to our fourth annual family-friendly outdoor winter festival at The Edgewater and on frozen Lake Mendota.

Join us for FREE activities all weekend long, including ice skating, sleigh rides, pond hockey, snowshoeing, ice science, figure and speed skating demos. Warm up with complimentary s’mores and hot cocoa!

Contact Clean Lakes Alliance at info@cleanlakesalliance.org or 608-255- 1000 if your organization would like to get involved by hosting an activity or becoming a sponsor.

Learn more: cleanlakesalliance.org/frozen-assets

James Madison Park Lake and Fog

Lake Mendota is the largest of the lakes in the Yahara chain. The watershed surrounding the lake is primarily agricultural, including many fourth and fifth generation dairy farms to the north, but is experiencing rapid urban growth.

Phosphorus that enters Lake Mendota from its tributaries are carried down the chain of lakes via the Yahara River and represent the largest sources of excess nutrients in the lower lakes. To improve water quality in the chain of lakes, we need to make improvements in the land surrounding Lake Mendota.

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