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Water Quality Monitoring

Overview

In 2019 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 during the monitoring season, which runs from May to September. 

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Yahara Pride Farms: Collaborating for farm sustainability and water quality

Join us at Yahara Lakes 101 to learn about important issues impacting our lakes!

About the talk

Agricultural areas represent the majority of the Yahara Watershed and the largest potential for phosphorus reduction. So what is being done in rural areas to help our lakes?

Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) is a farmer-led nonprofit organization working to improve soil and water quality. Since 2012, farmers in YPF programs have documented nearly 68,000 pounds of phosphorus that have remained on farm fields and out of rivers and streams by embracing farming practices promoted by the group. In this month’s Yahara Lakes 101 talk, we’ll hear from Yahara Pride Farms Chair Jeff Endres about the organization’s strategic urban-rural partnerships and how farmers are investing in lake health.

About our speaker

Jeff Endres is co-owner of Endres Berryridge Farms LLC in Waunakee, together with his brothers, Randy and Steve. He has 26 years of experience in field management, machinery operation and repairs, and overall day-to-day dairy operation management. The Endres family has farmed with a conservation mindset for multiple generations and was one of the first farms in Wisconsin to have an official nutrient management plan.

In 2012, Jeff teamed up with other farmers to create Yahara Pride Farms, with the mission to promote agricultural stewardship. The group focuses on the Yahara River Watershed, which covers one of the most populated and agriculturally productive areas in southern Wisconsin. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled the Yahara River, which connects several Madison-area lakes, as an impaired waterway and since that time, Yahara Pride Farms has been working on solutions. Today, the organization’s purpose is to inform agriculturists about water quality issues, reward farmers for environmental stewardship efforts, advance new strategies to improve water quality, and connect with the public to show agriculture’s commitment to protecting natural resources.

Event Details

This event is at The Edgewater. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy your coffee, pastries, and fruit. The program begins at 8 a.m., and class is dismissed by 9 a.m. Complimentary event parking will be available at The Edgewater.

Admission is FREE for Friends of Clean Lakes. If you are not a Friend, admission is $10 per event. Registration for each event is requested for all attendees.

Yahara Lakes 101 Science Café

Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues that affect our lakes. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences.

The series is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with presenting sponsors First Weber Foundation and Johnson Financial Group, hosting sponsor The Edgewater Madison, supporting sponsor National Guardian Life Insurance Company, and media partner the Isthmus. 

Yahara Lakes 101 Sponsors

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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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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Water Quality Monitoring

2017 monitoring season

What started in 2013 as a handful of Clean Lakes Alliance board members testing the water has now grown into a network of over 70 volunteers doing weekly water quality monitoring on all five lakes.

Each week this summer, our team of monitors gathered data on water clarity and temperature. They also made visual observations on beach conditions and identified potentially harmful cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms. And what a summer it was!

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Jeremy Balousek with Dane County Land and Water Resources

About the talk

Dane County’s Science-based Approach to Regulating Construction Site Erosion

Since 1995 Dane County has implemented performance and science based erosion control standards on construction sites. Jeremy Balousek will discuss the advantages of using performance based requirements and how the county uses factors such as rainfall energy, soil types, slopes, and other site conditions to model the potential soil loss from construction sites. He will show how Dane County sets and implements performance standards based on the potential soil loss to limit the amount of soil that may leave a construction site. Examples of the success and lessons learned from this approach will be presented.

About our speaker

Jeremy Balousek, P.E., is the Water Resource Engineering Division Manager for the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department in Madison, Wisconsin. In his position he is responsible for leading the implementation of the countywide erosion control and stormwater management programs. Mr. Balousek received his B.S. and M.S in Soil and Water Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Jeremy is a licensed Professional Engineer and also on the Board of Directors of the North American Stormwater and Erosion Control Association (NASECA).

About the series

Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues that affect our lakes. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences. Yahara Lakes 101 is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with hosting sponsor The Edgewater, presenting sponsor First Weber Group, supporting sponsor The Evjue Foundation, and media sponsor The Isthmus.

Yahara 101 is held both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting) at The Edgewater. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy your coffee, pastries, and fruit. The program begins at 8 a.m., and class is dismissed by 9 a.m.

If you already are a Friend of Clean Lakes (minimum $35 donation/year), then admission is free. Become a Friend today. If you are not a Friend yet, admission is $10 per event. Registration for each event is requested for all attendees. Special event parking will be available at The Edgewater.