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Ice cover tour of Madison's lakes with Wisconsin State Climatology Office

“Ice off” declaration from Wisconsin State Climatology Office

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office declared “ice off” for Lake Mendota and Lake Monona on Sunday, March 31, 2019. Lake Wingra’s “ice off” was declared on March 28, 2019. Lake Mendota recorded 86 days of ice during the winter of 2018/19, while Lake Monona had 97 days of ice and Lake Wingra had 111 days of ice cover.

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Flooded pier on Lake Mendota

Clean Lakes Alliance Statement to Dane County Lake Level Task Force

This statement was presented by Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye to the Dane County Lake Level Task Force on March 5, 2019.

Clean Lakes Alliance applauds the leadership of the Dane County Board and the Dane County Executive in putting $12 million toward flood recovery and lake improvement projects in the 2019 budget, and in creating the Technical Work Group and task force to address recent flooding around the Yahara Chain of Lakes. We believe these initiatives help move us toward becoming a more resilient community. But we need to work together as a community to address the increasing volume of water and runoff BEFORE it enters our lakes and waterways.

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2018 Flooding

Yahara Lakes Water Quality Monitoring – 2018 Results

Overview

From May to September, volunteers at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes 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 were asked to log condition reports at a twice weekly minimum on our website, Lakeforecast.org, where all data are updated 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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Madison FUN Lake Explorers

Connecting children with our Yahara Watershed

Grant Feature #7: Madison Friends of Urban Nature (FUN)

American author, scientist, and conservationist Aldo Leopold once said, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Clean Lakes Alliance knows connections to the land and to our waters begin to develop in childhood. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, Madison Friends of Urban Nature (FUN) is connecting families and children to nature and our Yahara Lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance contributed $1,250 to the effort, helping to expand outdoor learning opportunities that can lead to future generations of caring and knowledgeable lake stewards.
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On March 7, The Wisconsin State Climatology Office declared ice was off both Lake Mendota and Monona. Channel 3000 discusses what this early ice-off date means for the lakes with Paul Dearlove, the watershed program director of the Clean Lakes Alliance: “An early ice-off date, a fast spring melt and a rainy spring means runoff could cause more issues for lake health throughout the summer. The more runoff that reaches the lakes, the higher chance we have for summer algae blooms and other lake clarity issues.” Check out the full article here.

WKOW, together with Adam Sodersten of Clean Lakes Alliance, discuss the state of the ice on Lake Mendota and Monona. Though they conclude the ice on Mendota is not yet thick enough to walk on, Sodersten has hope it will freeze: “Here’s the good news, in the 165 years they’ve been keeping track of the lake, it’s always frozen — it has never not frozen — so if history’s on our side, Lake Mendota will freeze eventually.” Watch the coverage here!