Trees are good, right?
Statewide phosphorus reduction credits for leaf collectionUrban 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.
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:
$18 million budget announcement from Dane CountyClean Lakes Alliance supports Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s proposed $18 million budget to aid flood recovery. Many of the initiatives also support water quality improvements outlined in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction. These measures will move us in the right direction to reduce runoff and increase infiltration.
Clean Lakes Alliance is working for our lakes
Over the past twelve months, the Clean Lakes Alliance Economic Impact and Policy Committee met monthly and consulted with partners and experts to craft and adopt advocacy priorities. These goals will advance Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward, our four-year strategic plan.
Flooding impacts the Yahara Watershed
Record rainfall reportedRecord rainfall hit Greater Madison this month, and its impacts are far-reaching. Ten to fifteen inches of rain fell across western Dane County in less than 24 hours. The high volume of water is now making its way downstream through the Yahara Watershed, with our lakes reaching historic high levels. See real-time lake levels here.
A busy summer for our lakesSummer 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.
Once a week during the beach season, Public Health Madison & Dane County tests our beaches for E. coli bacteria, which is an indicator for pathogens that might pose a human health risk. These tests are important, because they help to close our beaches when it isn’t safe to swim. However, the labor involved with collecting samples and processing them in the lab makes testing expensive. While water conditions may change on a daily or even hourly basis, it usually isn’t feasible to test that frequently.
Our lakes are at the center of our community, but did you know that the shoreline of Lake Mendota almost looked entirely different? Test your knowledge of the history and ecology of the five Madison lakes!
A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study of sources of phosphorus pollution to the Wisconsin River has provided more information about human impact on this much-loved waterway. Clean Lakes Alliance’s Director of Marketing & Development Adam Sodersten comments, “Most importantly it will take a transformational and cultural shift in how we approach lake health, like the societal shift to recycling and composting that took place decades ago.” The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a series of planned public meetings next month to discuss its draft study of the river between Lake Wisconsin and Vilas County. To learn more about this study, read the State Journal’s article.