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2018 Flooding

Yahara Lakes 2018 Water Quality Monitoring Results

Overview

From May to September of 2018, water quality monitoring took place at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes. Volunteers measured near-shore water clarity, air and water temperature, and noted several visual observations. Visual observations included presence of algal blooms (green/blue-green), floating plant debris, swimmers, waterfowl, wave intensity, and general water appearance. Volunteers report conditions on our website, Lakeforecast.org. The website displays updated data in real time.

Highlights

  • 79 near-shore and 7 offshore monitoring stations on all five Yahara lakes (Figure 1)
  • Weekly off-shore measurement of Secchi depth on all five lakes
  • Measured temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles on all five lakes (seven sites total)
  • Weekly monitoring continued at all 25 public beaches
  • 44% increase in number of condition reports from 2017 (Table 1)
  • Collected continuous near-shore temperature measurements at 17 sites on lakes Mendota, Monona, and Waubesa, and Kegonsa
  • Implemented E. coli sampling and cyanobacteria toxin testing pilots
  • Averaged 2.3 condition reports per site each week across all sites
  • Continued weekly Weekend Lake Reports with over 77,000 views on social media
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Volunteers test beaches for E. coli

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.

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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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