Lake-O-Gram Vol. III Issue 6

The seasons are changing, and so is the focus of the Clean Lakes Alliance! For our first two and half years as an organization, we have focused on building an alliance of community partners and strategically planning and prioritizing the work of lake improvement and protection. Three years in, we are now transitioning from the planning phase to implementation and community engagement.

While we continue to expand our educational and fundraising events, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, collaborating with our partners at the County, the University, the farming community, and many others across the watershed to lay the foundation for practices and projects that will reduce phosphorus loading to the lakes. We will continue to move these projects forward and share the good news as progress unfolds.

Please visit our website to view our 2012 Annual Report, which features details on the progress we’ve made and what lies ahead in the year to come. Read on below for this month’s updates.

Citizen Water Monitoring Pilot Program
Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament 
Yahara Pride Farms Updates
Yahara Lakes 101
Frozen Assets

This Labor Day weekend, Clean Lakes Alliance wrapped up a summer of testing the waters in our pilot Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Project. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, interns stepped out of the office five days a week and headed down to James Madison Park Beach where they waded into Lake Mendota to observe water clarity, temperature and take a water sample for E.coli testing.

Phosphorus tests were sampled once a month. These samples contributed data to the once-a-week testing done by the city of Madison, providing information that led to three additional beach closings this summer, suggesting that more frequent monitoring could protect public health and get more residents to the beach on good days by ensuring that water quality statuses are up to date. Plans for 2014 include expanding the beach monitoring project to more beaches on the Yahara lakes.

Citizen Monitors on Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa continued to sample for water temperature, clarity and monthly phosphorus concentrations throughout the month of September. We want to offer our thanks to those volunteers who worked with us to launch the pilot from their own piers. Stay tuned for results and findings of our summer of sampling in the next few months!

It was a great turnout last Friday, September 20th at the Friends of Clean Lakes inaugural Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament! We want to thank everyone who came out – it was a huge success and we could not have done it without you. A special thanks to our sponsors and prize donors for your financial support and for making the tournament fun and successful.

Eighty-six golfers competed against one another in hopes of becoming the Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament champions. Team Johnson Bank rose to the top winning the tournament as well as bringing home the trophy and champion jackets. We are excited to have met new faces and looking forward to continuing these partnerships for future events to come.

The Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament brought in a net profit of over $20,000 that will go towards the Clean Lakes Alliance’s current and future projects to continue improving water quality in the Yahara watershed.

Blackhawk Country Club was the perfect host for this lake friendly event due to its commitment to sustainable practices and reducing stormwater runoff into Lake Mendota. Blackhawk did an amazing job assisting attendees and staff.

Huge thanks are due to all the volunteers’ involvement and time invested in this event. We could not have asked for better partners.

We’re already looking forward to next year and hope to see you at our second annual Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament!

The Clean Lakes Alliance rural action component – is making its presence felt in the watershed with the roll-out of two significant initiatives.

Farm Certification Program
With the hiring of two farm resources managers — Dennis Frame of UW Discovery Farms and Joe Connors, a retired agronomist — the organization has taken a dramatic step to build relationships and work directly with farm producers to identify the best conservation practices on a field-by-field basis. 

As each farm is analyzed for field, nutrient, and facility management, a Certification Checklist is completed and suggestions are documented for further review. The purpose is to raise awareness and provide guidance to help our great conservation-minded farmers take a look at their own operation through a different and friendly set of eyes.
The goal is to have 20 farms certified by year-end.

New Technologies in Field Preparation
This fall, farm producers in the Yahara Watershed will be testing and implementing new techniques in agriculture, thanks to the support of organizations such as Yahara WINs, a community coalition that is working to reduce phosphorus through a unique approach called Adaptive Management that involves spending money in the most cost-effective way for the overall environment. Other sponsors include The Soybean Association, Pioneer Seed, and local dealers Carl F Statz and Kalscheur Implement. 

New techniques include:

  • Strip tillage machines to reduce runoff and increase soil-holding residue.
  • Vertical Manure Injection – to apply manure under the surface with minimal soil disturbance and lower risk of runoff.
  • Cover Crops – 2375 acres will be planted this fall to help keep soil and water in its place during the crucial winter and spring runoff periods. 

Tremendous Impact
It is estimated that each of these practices will reduce phosphorus runoff to our lakes at the rate of one pound per acre. With nearly 3000 acres protected by one of these techniques, and an estimated 500 pounds of algae produced from each pound of phosphorus, these practices have the potential to eliminate over 1.5 million pounds of algae growth. Holy Cow!

Clean Lakes Alliance’s Citizen Monitoring lead, retired microbiologist Jon Standridge, presented on the pilot program at September’s Yahara Lakes 101, teaching attendees about water-borne illnesses, public health, and water quality. He shared preliminary results from this summer’s sampling, and thanked our pilot project citizen volunteers for testing the waters. 

Please mark your calendars for the October 10th Yahara Lakes 101. As the leaves begin to turn colors, let’s turn our attention to residential leaf management. Bill Selbig of the United States Geological Survey will be our October speaker, sharing an update on the on-going leaf management study and teaching attendees about the water quality impacts of phosphorus leaching out of fallen leaves. 

For more information and to register –

The 3rd Annual Frozen Assets is just around the corner, 130 days, 12 hours and counting! 

Tickets will go on sale FIRST to Friends of Clean Lakes’ 2013 Donors. You can be a friend/donor for as little as $35CLICK HERE

 Don’t be left out in the cold for a ticket…

Oktoberfest is coming up, and starting on October 1st, Yelp! is joining
the Clean Lakes Alliance in raising money towards improving water quality in the Yahara watershed.

Yelp! will be promoting its first ever Yelp! Beer: Yelp! Bursting Red Ale. Pints of Yelp’s Bursting Red Ale will cost $5 five dollars a piece at the twelve locations participating in the Madison area. For every pint purchased, businesses are donating $1 to Clean Lakes Alliance.

Yahara Lakes 101 – 2013
October 10, 2013
November 14, 2013
December 12, 2013

Mendota Freeze Contest
December 1, 2013

Yahara Lakes 101 – 2014
Second Thursday every month

Frozen Assets 2014
February 8, 2014

World Water Week
March 21 – March 28, 2014

Save Our Lakes Breakfast
April 25, 2014

Crazy 4 Lakes Run/Walk Team
(part of CrazyLegs Run/Walk)
April 27, 2014

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring
Memorial Day – Labor Day

Paddle & Portage
July 19, 2014

Loop the Lake
July 26, 2014

Clean Lakes Festival
July 26, 2014

July 27, 2014

Madison Area Antique & Classic Boat Show
August 1 – August 2, 2014

Don Heilman
, President, don@cleanlakesalliance.com

James Tye, Vice President, james@cleanlakesalliance.com

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Policy & Program Director, elizabeth@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rachel Fossum, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rachel@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rebecca Krumholz, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rebecca@cleanlakesalliance.com


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