Blog

Loop the Lake

A bike ride for our lakes

Our scenic Loop the Lake Bike Ride around Lake Monona features five fun stops along the way. After all, we are riding for our five favorite lakes! Join us Saturday, June 15th at Olbrich Park. Your registration will help support important lake improvement projects, water quality monitoring, and educational programs.

Loop the Lake Route
Loop the Lake route map
Loop the Lake Bike Ride
Saturday, June 15th, 2019
9 a.m. check-in | 10 a.m. start
Olbrich Park in Madison, WI
$35 per rider
FREE for kids 10 & under
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Yahara Watershed Academy - Feb 2019

Growing a new group of lake leaders

Karin Swanson

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 will bring you along on my journey through the Academy in an effort to expand our community’s knowledge and passion for the Yahara River Watershed.

The 2019 Yahara Watershed Academy (YWA) began on a very snowy February 12th. Snow started the evening of February 11th, with ten inches accumulating by the time the storm ended on the 13th. But the snow didn’t stop our group of students from learning about the Yahara River Watershed.

The YWA is made up of five day-long courses once a month, with students graduating in June. The Academy involves a partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Edgewood College. Graduates will have received the knowledge and skills to become a network of informed leaders for our watershed.

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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 scheduled for 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, but 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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Lake Explorer Camp 2018

Creating a new generation of lake enthusiasts

Lake Explorer Camp receives Evjue Foundation grant

The Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital Times Company, recently announced grants to 56 nonprofits in Dane County. The latest grant contributions bring the total awarded by the Evjue Foundation in 2018 to $2.3 million. Clean Lakes Alliance’s Lake Explorer Camp is honored to be chosen as one of the grant recipients. Clean Lakes Alliance will receive $5,000 to support its Lake Explorer Camp. The camp is an opportunity for young people to learn about our lakes and waters. Clean Lakes Alliance believes connections to nature begin to develop in childhood. Children who have educational experiences with our lakes will grow to treasure our waters.
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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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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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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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Raking

Can garbage trucks help protect our lakes?

A partnership toward leaf management

Clean Lakes Alliance is excited to partner with the City of Madison for this month’s Clean Lakes Grant. Leaf management is a crucial step toward reducing the amount of phosphorus that reaches our lakes. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, the City of Madison is working to promote leaf management and leaf-free streets. Clean Lakes Alliance has contributed $4500, which will leverage a $9300 total project budget. The City of Madison paired with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor phosphorus in the City’s storm drainage system. The study shows a direct correlation between the mass of leaves in the street and the amount of phosphorus reaching our lakes.
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back to the beach sandcastle building
Join Clean Lakes Alliance at Olbrich Park starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 29th for family-friendly beach fun! We’ll have sand, water and supplies for FREE sandcastle building, in honor of our 25 public beaches. This event is part of Clean Lakes Alliance’s Back to the Beach initiative, supported by Madison Community Foundation’s 75th anniversary Year of Giving. Learn more.  
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