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Lake

At Clean Lakes Alliance, we know keeping our lakes healthy is a community job.

Our partners at Dane County, the City of Madison, the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, and numerous local municipalities and agencies commit significant time and resources to our lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance works closely with the staff and leadership to support this work and to raise public support for healthy lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance’s work to improve water quality is fueled by the community at large. We rely on support from people like you, donations made by businesses, money raised through events and sponsorships, contributions of time, skills or, equipment, and, of course, by grants. We regularly receive grants from both local and national organizations—which allow our work to be applied beyond our immediate community.

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Lake Mendota, Don Sanford

Until last fall, most folks knew Don Sanford as one of the pack of “water rats” who raced their sleek, wind-powered craft on the waves and ice of Madison’s lakes. But with the publication of a book 12 years in the making, Sanford took on an unlikely new role: keeper of the history and lore of Lake Mendota.

“I’ve always been a sailor, never a writer,” says Sanford, an agile-looking man with a grizzled beard and sea-grey eyes behind wire rim glasses. “When I started the project, the last thing I had written was in grad school back in 1974.” Yet he dove in, driven by knowledge that Lake Mendota was too often a mystery to the people who lived along its shores. “I’d pick up friends from the Memorial Union for a boat ride, and we would start cruising down the shoreline. Without fail, somebody who’d spent their whole life in Madison would say, ‘Where the hell are we? I don’t know what this place is.’ Whenever that happened,” Sanford recalls, “it always made me think that somebody— somebody else, that is—should produce a lake guide.”

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Press release courtesy Yahara Pride Farms

Yahara Pride Farms was honored by the The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, during its fifth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards ceremony May 11 in Chicago. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose sustainable practices positively impact the health and well-being of customers, communities, animals and the environment. Yahara Pride Farms received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship.

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Harvestable Buffers with Yahara Pride Farms
If you’ve seen swathes of grass on farmland, you may be familiar with the concept of conservation buffers. These strips of vegetation slow runoff and separate farm fields from waterways, helping to keep our streams and lakes healthy. Yet with increasing urbanization and growing farms, land in our watershed is at a premium. One option, harvestable buffers, is offering many farmers in Dane County a way to reduce phosphorus runoff while keeping valuable acres in production.

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Composting grant looks to identify new tools for managing manure

MADISON, Wis. — Clean Lakes Alliance has been awarded a $60,000 two-year grant from Fund for Lake Michigan to determine whether windrow manure composting could have water quality impacts in the Yahara River watershed and beyond, including potential reductions in phosphorus runoff.

“Our lakes face serious challenges from urbanization and intensification of agriculture,” said Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Clean Lakes Alliance Deputy Director. “With its potential to manage manure, benefit soil health and protect our lakes, composting could be a big win-win.”

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When we talk about our lakes, we often end up talking about our farms. This should come as no surprise: if you walked onto a random acre of land in Dane County, chances are two times out of three you’d be looking at a farm.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, agriculture in Dane County accounts for $3.4 billion in economic activity annually. From our multi-generational dairy farms, to our land-grant university, to the Dane County’s farmer’s market, agriculture is part and parcel to our identity.

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Lake Mendota has officially frozen over, after a long warm spell that left many wondering when (and if) the lake would ever freeze.

After a cold front drove temperatures below zero over the weekend and winds died down, Lyle Anderson, office manager at the Wisconsin State Climatology Office, knew the conditions were right for “instant ice.” Residents may have noticed a “steam fog” hanging over the lakes, created when cold air moves over warmer water, also a “harbinger of freeze.”

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Project update via Peter Foy, President of the Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society

The Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society (FOLKS) has initiated what is hoped will result in a major carp removal project that will be conducted over the next two years on Lake Kegonsa. An initial carp tracking study is intended to identify times and locations where large concentrations of carp might be targeted for removal. FOLKS is working closely with Dane County, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the UW Limnology Department on this challenging project. The project will be supervised and monitored by Kurt Welke, Fisheries Manager, WDNR with support from Dr. Richard Lathrop, honorary fellow at UW-Madison Center for Limnology and retired DNR limnologist.

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