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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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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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