Blog

Action Alert

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:

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EIPC Meeting

It takes ALL of us to make a difference

Help Clean Lakes Alliance advocate for change

In Greater Madison, the time has come to put lakes at the top of our community agenda. Recent flooding and historically large cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms are symptoms of a changing climate and a harder, less resilient landscape. The Center for Climatic Research has documented southern Wisconsin’s increasingly wet climate, with more frequent heavy rain events causing flooding throughout the region. This is impacting lake water quality by bringing increased sediment and nutrient pollution to our lakes and streams. We need a change in how we manage the landscape surrounding our homes, farm fields, and city streets to accommodate a wetter climate in our region.

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Bernies Beach

Greater Madison is the lakes. With over 20 beaches and major lake access points (see map below), these gateways to our five lakes connect us to 58 miles of shoreline of which 48% is owned by YOU – the public!

Clean Lakes Alliance is working to elevate the profile of our public lakeshores, from swimming beaches and fishing piers to boat landings and waterfront parks. Please tell us about the beach you visit by taking this short (5 minutes) survey. You may take this survey for as many beaches as you’d like to comment on.

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Ag retailer network

Can working with ag retailers help our lakes?

Building an agricultural partnership to reduce phosphorus

We’re excited to partner with the Partnership for Ag Resource Management, known as PARM, for one of this year’s Clean Lakes Grants.

PARM is a project of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Institute of North America, a non-profit devoted to improving health and the environment. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, PARM is working with local agriculture retailers to increase sales of products and services to reduce phosphorus in the Yahara Watershed. Clean Lakes Alliance has contributed $8,000, which will leverage a $53,000 total project budget.

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2017 Farm Tour

Community Board signs Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes resolution

Dear Friends,

Our Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board met this morning and voted to support the eight draft recommendations proposed by Dane County’s Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes Task Force. That 14-member group was charged with developing policy proposals to reduce the impact of phosphorus runoff from agricultural activities to our five lakes. I serve on the task force along with other Clean Lakes Alliance partners.

On a parallel path, Clean Lakes Alliance’s Economic Impact and Policy Committee has also been meeting over the course of this past year, consulting with experts, scientists, and community leaders to develop advocacy goals that align with and help us achieve our Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward.

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Lake Mendota Watershed

The Yahara Watershed cuts through the middle of Dane County and drains an area of nearly 536 square miles, but few realize the northernmost tip of the watershed lies in Columbia County. This small parcel of 28 square miles is now part of the community-wide partnership effort to reduce phosphorus runoff to the lakes. Columbia County has begun a two-year service agreement with Yahara WINS and is taking impressive steps forward in the name of healthy lakes.

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Wednesday rain causes visible runoff into Lake Mendota

Controlling construction erosion

Grant Feature #1: Construction erosion inspections with Dane County

Did you know that construction erosion is a serious and ongoing threat to our lakes? Controlling construction erosion is one of 14 recommended actions to reduce algae blooms in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction. It is also one of eight focus areas in Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward, Clean Lakes Alliance’s strategic operating plan.

With every failed, missing or improperly installed erosion-control measure, the risk of dirty runoff entering our lakes rises each time it rains. Whether this leads to a muddy street or a dirt-choked storm sewer drain, a mismanaged construction project can spell big trouble for water quality.

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Joe Parisi press conference

MADISON, Wis. — On Monday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced an aggressive 2018 budget, with numerous projects aimed at diverting and removing algae-causing phosphorus from lakes in the Yahara Watershed. The multi-million dollar proposed budget calls for continuing to remove legacy sediment from streams feeding into Madison’s lakes, as well as new projects like prairie restorations and a pilot “algae pump” to remove scum from surface water.

“Our mission looks to build a community of people, businesses, organizations, and government agencies dedicated to improving and protecting water quality in the Yahara River watershed,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye. “The county executive’s lake projects are a strong step in the right direction towards cleaner and healthier lakes.”

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Foley and Lardner Volunteer Day

With 58 miles of lakeshore in our watershed, shoreline maintenance is a big job. We’re lucky to have dedicated staff and community groups working to keep our parks and beaches healthy – but sometimes, there just aren’t enough hands to get the job done. That’s where our summer volunteer groups come in!

A summer to remember

So far this season, there have been 15 Renew the Blue volunteer days, for a total of 457 volunteers and 1,481 hours maintaining our lakeshores over the season. These events serve double duty: our lakeshore parks get some much-needed TLC, and volunteers learn more about keeping our watershed healthy.

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