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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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FOLKS Leaf Vacuum

Volunteers use leaf vacuums to protect Lake Kegonsa

A partnership toward leaf management and lake health in the Yahara River Watershed

Clean Lakes Alliance is excited to partner with the Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society (FOLKS) for one of our 2018 Clean Lakes Grants. FOLKS is a non-profit organization working to protect the environment and recreation of Lake Kegonsa and its surroundings.

Leaf management in the Yahara River Watershed is an important step toward creating healthy lakes. By following effective leaf practices, we can reduce the amount of phosphorus reaching our waters. Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element found in leaves, dirt, manure, and other organic matter and is the root cause of water quality problems in the region. When excessive amounts enter our lakes, phosphorus can fuel toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) growth which can harm people and animals.

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In the Yahara Watershed, salt applied to roads and sidewalks ultimately makes its way into our lakes and our drinking water. Road salt has been used as a deicer on streets in Dane County since the 1950s, and over the last 50 years, average concentrations of chlorides from salt in our lakes have steadily increased.

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2014 Ag Innovation Days

Did you know groundwater levels are actually rising in the northern end of the Yahara Watershed? This video by UW-Madison’s Water Sustainability and Climate Project taps into the benefits of groundwater in agriculture. How does groundwater affect yields? Can we achieve “more crops per drop”? In what ways is crop production affected by changes in weather, land use and farming practices?

Turns out the benefits of higher groundwater can outweigh the costs – and groundwater could even be dynamically managed to benefit crops. Watch the video above to learn more.

Cover Crops in the Snow

In Wisconsin the harvest is wrapping up, but a farmer’s job doesn’t stop when the crops come off. Milking, feeding and caring for animals is a constant, regardless of the season. This also means manure to manage and store.

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Farm Tour

When many of us think composting, we think about throwing a banana peel or two on the heap. But composting has a place in agriculture too – three farms in the Yahara River watershed are implementing manure composting practices and seeing major benefits.

“The initiative Yahara Pride Farms has taken shows that farmers can do the composting process,” said Andy Skwor, agriculture team leader at MSA Professional Services Inc., a Midwest-based consulting firm.

We spoke with Andy last week about this exciting project to test both the costs and environmental benefits of windrow manure composting.

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Jeff Endres Yahara Pride Farms ag innovation day 2016

Soil is a farmer’s best asset. It provides the nutrients for crops to grow and prosper. To enrich their soil, farmers use various conservation practices to ensure the vitality for generations to come. One such practice is utilizing cover crops, which are grown to improve the soil rather than for profit.

Jeff Endres, chair of Yahara Pride Farms, is doing his best to protect the soil on his farm. Endres planted a pea and barley mix in mid-August after he harvested his winter wheat this July. After he finishes harvesting his corn this fall, he will plant barley. He has found these cover crops to improve his soil and help with the future crop.

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