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$100,000 commitment for work on farmland

Thanks to the support of donors like you, Clean Lakes Alliance is able to contribute $100,000 per year to fund phosphorus reduction practices through watershed adaptive management. Learn more about how this cooperative approach is helping our community meet its water quality goals.

From pilot to full-scale

In 2016, the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, known as Yahara WINs, transitioned to a 20-year full-scale watershed adaptive management project. This builds on an already successful four-year pilot.

Adaptive management is a cooperative approach where all sources of phosphorus, including agricultural producers, municipalities, wastewater treatment plants and others, work together to improve water quality.

This approach allows our community to find the most cost-effective ways to reduce phosphorus runoff, and address pollution upstream before it reaches our lakes, using a mix of rural and urban reduction practices.

Partnering for cleaner water

Municipal participants in Yahara WINs include cities, villages, towns, wastewater treatment plants and others that have signed an intergovernmental agreement to work collaboratively to address phosphorus. This includes providing funding to support phosphorus reduction efforts. The amount contributed by participants is based on the phosphorus reduction needed to meet their phosphorus allocation under the Rock River Recovery plan.

Collectively, Yahara WINs participants contribute $1.4 million annually to this effort. Clean Lakes Alliance contributes an additional $100,000 per year, which will fund more phosphorus reduction practices.

These contributions are leveraged by funds provided by others, including Dane County, United State Geological Survey, state and federal programs, the MG&E Foundation, grants administered by Yahara Pride Farms, and investments made by individual agricultural producers.

Buffer Strips
Harvestable buffer strip

How $100,000 can help

Yahara WINs uses funds contributed by Clean Lakes Alliance to build upon ongoing efforts to reduce phosphorus at the source.

The funds have been allocated to support three promising projects:

  1. Harvestable buffer extensions covering 5 acres north of Lake Mendota.
    These agreements will extend 10 year leases to 15 years and provide additional buffer between farm fields and nearby waterways. Clean Lakes Alliance’s support has fully funded these lease extensions. Read more about buffer strips.
  2. Low disturbance manure injection equipment
    Yahara WINs has purchased low-disturbance manure injection equipment in partnership with Yahara Pride Farms and Dane County. This specialized equipment will be available at a low rental cost. The equipment will allow farmers to inject manure under the soil surface with minimal disturbance. Clean Lakes Alliance’s support has covered half of the cost via Yahara WINs, with a matching grant by Dane County. Read more in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Wisconsin Farmer.
  3. Aerial seeding of cover crops
    The Dane County Lands and Water Resources department is offering bonuses to farmers who sign up to have cover crops seeded by plane (“aerial seeding”). This is a three-year commitment that builds on work to encourage long-term use of cover crops on the same field. Clean Lakes Alliance’s support has fully funded these bonuses.

These projects are steps in the right direction to reach our community goal to cut phosphorus to our lakes in half by the year 2025.

You can be part of this work! Donate to become a Friend of Clean Lakes today.

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