On May 18th, 2022, more than 300 leaders throughout the Greater Madison-Dane County region met at The Edgewater on the shores of Lake Mendota. The meeting celebrated what promises to be a new era of collaboration to benefit our local waters. With a collective call to “Renew the Blue,” a 19-member coalition of organizations introduced what some might describe as a stakeholder declaration to a sold-out audience.
Article contributed by Marty Moses, Wisconsin State Coordinator for Pheasants Forever
Precision ag and conservation
Technology is bringing a new vibe to conservation efforts offered to farmers. Instead of sweeping mandates, rules, and regulations, a new data-driven method is being used to design efficient and cost-effective agricultural sustainability solutions. This precision ag and conservation approach is allowing projects to be targeted to the right place and at the right scale. In turn, farmers can achieve maximum economic and environmental impact.
Making Progress For Our Lakes
In 2019, Clean Lakes Alliance’s work was focused on actions that increased community engagement and reduced phosphorus runoff into the lakes. Keep reading to learn more about our 2019 achievements. These actions could not have been accomplished without the dedication and support of our boards, committees, donors, volunteers, staff, partners, and the community.
A shared vision for clean, safe, and accessible lakes
In August 2019, leaders from government, business, and nonprofit organizations came together with a shared vision. The vision included a future in which Greater Madison’s five Yahara lakes are clean, safe, and accessible for everyone. Together, the 19 partners and collaborators formed the Yahara CLEAN Compact and committed to sharing resources and working together to curb pollution and chart the best path forward to cleaner, healthier lakes.
Things we’re thankful for at Clean Lakes Alliance
At Clean Lakes Alliance, we’re thankful to be part of a community that is surrounded by five beautiful lakes. Our Yahara lakes provide ecological diversity, recreational opportunities, economic benefits, and endless beauty to the Greater Madison area, its residents, and guests.
All five Yahara lakes saw cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms throughout the summer of 2019. One bloom in particular on Lake Mendota was quite large, covering at least an area from Picnic Point to the Memorial Union on August 1st. The bloom was well-documented by photos from community members as having a green pea soup-like consistency.
Cyanobacteria blooms are often bright green, but can also appear in shades of brown, blue, and white. Typically, blooms are spotted on warm days with calm winds. On August 1st, Madison reported a high of 81 degrees with an average wind speed of two miles per hour.
Clean Lakes Grants support phosphorus reduction and education
With the completion of the 2018-2019 Clean Lakes Grants cycle, Clean Lakes Alliance has given out more than $1,000,000 in project support since 2011. This landmark achievement fulfills our mission of building capacity among our partner organizations and supporting on-the-ground practices for clean, healthy lakes. The Yahara River Watershed is a large and complex system and will require a community-wide effort to improve water quality.
50% phosphorus reduction needed to clean up the lakes
The Yahara Clean Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction (2012) includes 14 actions designed to meet a UW Center for Limnology recommendation for a 50% reduction in the average annual phosphorus input to each of the lakes. The recently released phosphorus report card shows total phosphorus reduction progress for 2018.
Pheasant Branch Conservancy set to grow by 160 acres
On Thursday, May 16th, Dane County announced plans to purchase 160 acres of property for conservation. The property acquisition will be the largest conservation preservation investment in the county’s history, costing nearly 10 million dollars.
This is the start of something big
A message from Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director, James Tye