Frigid air temperatures, combined with cold water and low winds, helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on December 25th, 2022. The declaration came from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze five days after December 20th. December 20th is the median ice-on date for the largest lake in the Yahara River Watershed. The Christmas Day freeze date is over a month shy of January 30th – which is the latest date that ice-on has ever been declared (1/30/1932).
Clean Lakes Alliance is proud to partner with the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation, along with other local organizations, to fund and implement a lakeshore restoration along 294 feet of Lake Mendota shoreline. Located at the iconic Executive Residence, the project will replace 7,184 square feet of existing turf with 32 species of native plants, wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs. In all, a total of 3,177 native plants will be added to the shoreline area!
By Pete Jopke, Water Resources Planner with the Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
Article first published in the 2022 Greater Madison Lake Guide, a Clean Lakes Alliance publication
Aquatic plant harvesting on the Yahara lakes
The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department manages an aquatic plant harvesting program with much of the harvesting occurring on lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa. Occasionally, other smaller waterbodies are harvested to aid in recreation and invasive plant management. The program dates to the early 1980’s when five harvesters were in operation. In those years, harvests totaled over 300 tons of plant material. In 2021, the existing fleet of 12 harvesters recorded plant harvests of more than 12,000 tons!
It’s official – Lake Mendota freezes over!
Temperatures below the freezing mark, combined with cold water, helped Lake Mendota officially freeze in the early morning hours on Friday, January 7, 2022. The official declaration comes from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze 23 days shy of January 30th. The latest ice-on date ever declared was on January 30th, 1932.
Ice-on date arrives days after the new year
Air temperatures below the freezing mark throughout the last week, combined with cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Sunday, January 3rd, 2021, as declared by the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze 27 days shy of January 30th – which is the latest date that ice-on has ever been declared (1/30/1932).
Clean Lakes 101
Join us Wednesday, February 10th to learn about how some of our lake friends express their love in an underwater world.
About this Talk – Love in the Lakes
Organisms across the globe are faced with the same dilemma – how to pass on their genes to the next generation and give their youngsters the best possible chance at success. Things are no different for the creatures in the Yahara lakes. Pike, panfish, plants, and invertebrates all go to great lengths to find love, but take wildly different approaches. What makes each strategy successful, and why?
During the “Love in the Lakes” presentation, you’ll learn about the mating and reproductive strategies of several important species, which range from the heartwarming to the bizarre.
About our Speaker
Justin Chenevert (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) began his career in water resources hauling laundry baskets of invasive weeds from the muddy Charles River in Boston, MA. Despite the smell, he found he loved working with water, and moved to Madison in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in Water Resources Management from UW-Madison. Justin worked for Clean Lakes Alliance from 2014 – 2016 in several capacities, including surveying lake users, supporting the volunteer water quality monitoring program, and analyzing water quality data. He is currently employed by the Department of Natural Resources in the Water Monitoring section, where he works on a variety of projects related to lake water quality, ecology, and citizen science. In his free time, Justin enjoys ice fishing and paddling on the Madison lakes and beyond.
This event will be held online via Zoom. The online talk is free and open to the public. A link to access the talk LIVE will be sent to all registered attendees ahead of the event.
Clean Lakes 101 Lecture Series
Clean 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 and UW-Extension Lakes, with presenting sponsors First Weber Foundation and Johnson Financial Group, hosting sponsor The Edgewater, and supporting sponsor National Guardian Life Insurance Company.
Ice-on date approaches latest freeze record
Warm December and early January temperatures caused a delay in Lake Mendota’s ice-on date. However, the recent cold air temperatures combined with light winds and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Sunday, January 12th, 2020, as declared by the Wisconsin State Climatology Office.
The Mayor, The Executive, and The Secretary
Clean Lakes Alliance is pleased to announce a trifecta of speakers joining us for our Community Breakfast on Wednesday, May 8th at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall. We’ll hear from City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, and Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole about their plans for the Yahara Watershed.
At the breakfast, we’ll renew our public partnerships with the city, county, and state to align our efforts for the Yahara CLEAN Compact and to improve water quality. Join us for the beginning of a NEW united approach to lake health.
It’s Official – ICE ON for Lake Mendota!
Ice on date beats median freeze date by five days
Despite warm weather in Madison over the weekend, cool nights, light winds, and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Saturday, December 15th. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze eight days after the smallest lake in the watershed, Lake Wingra, which officially froze on December 7th. Lake Monona officially froze on December 11th.
The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over. After ice took shape this weekend, staff waited to see whether it would hold out through the warm daytime temperatures. The December 15th freeze date is 12 days ahead of last year’s December 27th freeze date, and a surprising five days ahead of the December 20th median freeze date. The latest freeze date for Lake Mendota was January 30th – which happened in the winter of 1932.
The Wisconsin State Climatology Office makes the official determination as to whether the lake is frozen. The climatologists use the same guidelines they have used for decades to determine whether the lakes are iced over. This allows for a continuity in data collection. Read more: Determining ice cover on Madison’s lakes.