Yahara Lakes 101


Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public. The series is a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences. Enjoy a presentation and questions and answers over coffee and pastries with beautiful Lake Mendota as the backdrop.

Yahara Lakes 101 is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with hosting sponsor Foley & Lardner, LLP and presenting sponsor First Weber Group.

Date: Second Thursdays each month, except December
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Location: Bluephies Café at Verex Plaza, Level B
Price: $10 at the door or free to Friends of Clean Lakes. Become a Friend today!

Yahara 101 is held both indoors and outdoors on the lake patio of the Verex Plaza building, where the offices of the Clean Lakes Alliance are located. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy your coffee on the lake patio. 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.  If you are not a Friend yet, admission is $10 per event. Registration for each event is required for all attendees.


Parking available at these locations: Butler @ Mifflin Parking Ramp, Dayton @ Pinckney Parking Ramp, 214 N. Carroll St. Parking Ramp, James Madison Park Parking Lot, two-hour street parking on East Gorham and East Johnson Streets.

Parking prohibited at these locations: Verex Plaza surface lot (on East Gilman Street) or Verex Plaza underground parking (on Butler Street).  Also, there is no street parking on East Gilman Street on Thursdays between 8 a.m. and noon.

First Weber Group

Yahara Lakes 101 is sponsored by First Weber Group.

Presentation Schedule

December – no Yahara Lakes 101

Thurs., January - Bob Uphoff on the Yahara Pride Farms farmer-led conservation model

Thurs., February 12 – Marty Melchior on the streams-lakes connection and sediment & phosphorus loading & trapping

Thurs., March 12 – Ankur Desai on climate change and the Yahara lakes

Thurs., April 9 – Dick Lathrop “Restoring shallow lakes by reducing carp densities”

Thurs., May 14 - Results from CLA Yard Care Survey; speaker TBD

Host sponsor for all events – Foley & Lardner LLP

Contributing producer – UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies


Speaker Bios & Abstracts

Thursday, November 13, 2014 – Paul Dearlove and Katie Van Gheem

“Using Citizen Monitoring and Crowdsourcing to Track and Forecast Near-Shore Lake Conditions”

katie-van-gheem_paul-dearlove_web-photoSpeaker Bios:

Paul Dearlove received his M.S. in Water Resources Management from UW-Madison in 1996. Prior to joining the Clean Lakes Alliance as its Watershed Program Manager this spring, he spent 15 years as a lake manager for the Lake Ripley Management District (Jefferson County). His responsibilities included directing resource inventories, limnological research, management planning, and the completion of a 13-year Priority Watershed Project through the Wisconsin Nonpoint Source Abatement Program. Paul recently served on the boards of Wisconsin Lakes and the Friends of Lake Wingra, and continues to stay active in community efforts to protect and manage our local surface waters.

Katie Van Gheem received her M.S. in Water Resources Management from UW-Madison in 2013. Prior to working with the Clean Lakes Alliance as its Watershed Engagement Coordinator, she worked for the WDNR/UW-Extension’s Water Action Volunteers (WAV) as a Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program Assistant. Her responsibilities included assisting with volunteer stream monitoring trainings, performing quality assurance checks, and generating sample reports. She has also previously worked with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on an Upper Yellow River Watershed Assessment Pilot Project and McMahon Laboratory sampling Lake Mendota. She strives to increase water quality awareness in the Yahara River watershed.


Lakes are dynamic and complex, and conditions can change rapidly in both time and space.  This is particularly true in near-shore areas where many people interact with our lakes.  Although near-shore conditions are constantly fluctuating, lake monitoring has traditionally involved comparatively infrequent sampling at limited locations.  Sharing results in an accessible and timely fashion has also proved difficult.  Consequently, the public is largely unaware of these dynamics and how they influence beach conditions at any given time.

This talk will challenge the audience to rethink the role of citizen monitoring and how crowdsourcing can be used to close current monitoring gaps.  Specifically, we will review the results of a two-year pilot program in the Yahara River watershed involving 44 near-shore monitors and an interactive, mobile-ready website.  The effort—which is collecting information useful in tracking and possibly forecasting blue-green algal bloom formation—has raised many interesting questions that will be explored as part of the discussion.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Dr. Ken Bradbury

“Lakes, Streams, and Groundwater in Dane County: A Single Resource”

Dr. Ken BradburySpeaker Bio:
Kenneth Bradbury received his PhD in Geology from the UW-Madison in 1982, and has been a research hydrogeologist/professor with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, University of Wisconsin-Extension, since that time. He serves as Assistant Director for Science at the Survey, and Program Leader for water and environmental programs. Ken’s current research interests include virus transport in groundwater, groundwater flow in fractured media, aquitard hydrogeology, groundwater recharge processes, wellhead protection, regional groundwater simulation, and the hydrogeology of glacial deposits. Ken is the author of numerous scientific papers and reports, is a Fellow in the Geological Society of America, has chaired the National Research Council Committee on Water Resources Research for the U.S. Geological Survey, and is a former member of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board.


Groundwater and surface water are directly connected in Dane County, and should be considered a single resource.  A new groundwater flow model for the county helps us understand these connections by quantifying groundwater exchange with the Yahara River system and showing where groundwater comes from and where it goes.  This talk will briefly describe the geology and hydrology of the Madison area, explain how groundwater discharges to lakes, springs, streams, and wetlands, and demonstrate how the new model can help inform management decisions.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Dr. Chin Wu

“Floating Bog Interceptors in Cherokee Marsh”

Dr. Chin WuSpeaker Bio:

Dr. Chin Wu is a Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Director of the Environmental/Ecological Fluid Mechanics and Coastal Sustainability Lab. Among other research interests, Dr. Wu studies wetland and lakes restoration, including hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and water quality.

About the talk:

Learn from Dr. Chin Wu about an innovative approach to wetland restoration — Floating Bog Interceptors (FBI) — and their role in protecting Lake Mendota’s Cherokee Marsh. In August, WKOW 27 featured Dane County’s use of FBIs in a short television segment, “Floating bogs to protect shrinking Cherokee Marsh.”

These raft-like structures, made of wood and coconut mat and developed by Dr. Wu and his students, are an environmentally- and cost-friendly, aesthetically-pleasing alternative to traditional concrete breakwaters. When stocked with native plants, the FBIs weaken erosive wave action and trap sediments to help protect and restore existing wetlands and improve water quality.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014 – Dr. Katherine McMahon,

“Blue-green Algae in Lake Mendota: the mystery of the missing nitrogen “

Trina McMahon Yahara Lakes 101

Speaker Bio: 

Katherine (Trina) McMahon is a Professor at UW-Madison with joint appointments in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Bacteriology. She has been studying the Madison-area lakes since she arrived here in 2003 after obtaining her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. Her research focuses on the role of microorganisms in determining water quality, in both lakes and wastewater treatment plants. Trina uses genomics and ecology to learn about how microbes cycle nutrients, interact with one another, and control important ecosystem functions. She is also currently a citizen member of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission.


The role of phosphorus in promoting the growth of “blue green algae” (cyanobacteria) in the Yahara Lakes is well documented. However, the element nitrogen seems to affect cyanobacterial bloom formation and toxicity in unexpected ways. This talk will be an overview of research on cyanobacteria that is currently underway at UW-Madison in the McMahon lab and through the North Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research program. We will discuss long-term trends in cyanobacterial diversity and abundance, mechanisms of cyanotoxin production, comparisons among the Yahara lakes with respect to their cyanobacterial species, the role of in situ monitoring via instrumented water quality buoys, and a preview of some exciting new genomics-enabled insight into Mendota’s cyanobacteria and their lifestyles.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Dr. Eric Booth, “Yahara 2070″

Photos of Research Specialist Eric Booth at the UW Arboretum taken on September 5, 2013 in Overlook Prairie. Eric’s work involves sustaining freshwater resources for the future on a national basis. As a part of his project, sensors were installed in Overlook to collect data on soil moisture.

Speaker Bio: 

Dr. Eric Booth is an Assistant Research Scientist at UW-Madison in the Departments of Agronomy and Civil & Environmental Engineering. He also collaborates with the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research site, Center for Limnology, UW Arboretum, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, and Wisconsin Energy Institute. He holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from UW-Madison (2004), MS in Hydrologic Science from UC-Davis (2006), and PhD in Limnology from UW-Madison (2011). He also worked as a student trainee in hydrology at the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center in Middleton. His research interests cut across many disciplines with water as a centerpiece; these include hydroecology, impacts of climate and land-use change, urban stormwater management, wetland/stream restoration, water quality, groundwater hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, environmental history, agroecology, remote sensing, and computer modeling.

He currently works on a project funded by the National Science Foundation looking at the future of water resources sustainability in the Yahara River watershed as it undergoes potential changes in climate, land-use, urbanization, and agriculture. The goal of the project is to develop four contrasting scenarios of the future out to 2070 that ignite a community-wide conversation about long-term decision-making in the region. These scenarios start off as narrative storylines and then are enriched using computer models that provide quantitative estimates of measures related to human well-being such as water quality, water supply, flooding, and agricultural production. Other previous research projects relevant to the Yahara include stormwater monitoring of low-impact development, assessing the effectiveness of street-sweeping practices, developing residential stormwater audits, and monitoring rain-garden performance.


Title: “Development of the Yahara 2070 scenarios: Integrating biophysical and social sciences with art and community participation to promote long-term thinking”

Yahara 2070 is an exploration of possible futures for the Yahara Watershed. Combining innovative science and public participation, the initiative is a set of scenarios intended to facilitate creative discussion about a desirable future for the region. On May 14, Yahara 2070 made its official public debut with a launch event and a website (yahara2070.org). In his talk, Dr. Booth will explain the motivation behind the project and the exciting challenge of combining environmental monitoring and computer modeling with community-driven scenarios of the future.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014 – Dr. Calvin DeWitt,
“Sustaining Yahara Lakes and Waterscapes: Functions of Their Wetland Systems above a Buried Bedrock Valley”


Speaker Bio:
Cal DeWitt is Professor of Environmental Studies Emeritus, Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is a member of the graduate faculties of Environmental and Resources, Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, Water Resources Management, and Oceanography and Limnology, a Fellow of the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy, and recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

He is a member of the Society of Wetland Scientists, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of American, recipient of the Friends of the United Nations FUNEP 500 Award, was honored with the Connie Award of the National Wildlife Federation for his work as “a world-class conservationist” and was named “Environmentalist of the Year” by the Madison Audubon Society. For over three decades he has taught his graduate course, Field Investigations in Wetland Ecology on Waubesa Wetlands in the Town of Dunn, where in the mid-1970s he served as Town Chair and helped bring his town to receive the RenewAmerica Award in 1995 and 2000.

The Yahara chain of lakes lies along the course of an ancient valley so deep that it cuts into the Eau Claire aquitard of the underlying bedrock. The Eau Claire aquitard is a hydrological confining unit that elsewhere separates our major upper and lower aquifers. Beneath our lakes it joins both of these aquifers together as one, with important consequences both for our high capacity municipal wells, and for the system of wetlands and the wetland functions it supports, including cleaning our lakes. In his presentation, Dr. DeWitt will describe the functions served by this wetland system, and the limnogeological waterscape that embraces and sustains the quality of our chain of lakes, and what is needed to sustain these functions on into the future.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 – Dr. Emily Stanley,
“Yahara Long Term Ecological Research: Trends & Patterns”


Speaker Bio:
Emily Stanley is an aquatic ecologist interested in nutrient dynamics in streams, wetlands, and lakes. She is the lead PI of the North Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research program at University of Wisconsin, and has active research projects that consider large scale and long-term changes in lake water quality and carbon cycling in streams. Dr. Stanley received her B.S. degree from Yale University in 1984 and Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 1993.  She is currently a professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Zoology and the Center for Limnology and teaches courses in Limnology, Stream and River Ecology, and Introductory Biology.

Dr. Stanley will talk about the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research Project, including the history of this program, what  the UW Center for Limnology studies  in the Madison lakes, and some representative examples of physical, chemical, and biological changes that have been unfolding in these lakes over the past and current decades.  While  the UW Center for Limnology is learning a great deal about changes in phosphorus loads to the lakes, other trends are becoming apparent that may provide additional scientific and management challenges.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014 – Dr. Doug Soldat, “Lawn Care, Soils and Water Quality”

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Doug Soldat is a Wisconsin native and an associate professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in turfgrass and urban soil management. He earned a Ph.D. at Cornell University studying how phosphorus is lost from lawns. At Wisconsin, he advises the students in the turfgrass and grounds maintenance program, and teaches three classes including “Turfgrass Nutrient and Water Management” and “Lawns, Society, and the Environment”. His research program focuses on finding ways to maintain turfgrass for optimum function using fewer inputs of nutrients, pesticides, and water.

Doug will provide information on:
  • How green lawns and clean lakes need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, dense vegetation can play an important role in protecting surface waters from nutrient runoff.
  • How soil properties and the negative consequences of over-management play a critical but often overlooked role in environmental protection and pollution.
  • The primary pathways of nutrient losses from urban environments and discuss some practical and effective strategies for keeping nutrients out of the lake.


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          Thursday, March 13, 2014 – Greg Fries, “Urban Stormwater Runoff


Speaker Bio:
Greg Fries, P.E.
Principal Engineer – Storm and Sanitary Sewer
City of Madison Engineering
Madison, Wisconsin

Greg Fries has a B.S. Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering, and a Masters Degree in Business, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the Principal Engineer for the City of Madison Engineering Storm and Sanitary Sewer.

Prior to his employment with the City of Madison, Greg worked for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and RMT Inc.  During his 23-year employment with the City of Madison, Greg has worked on City’s WPDES/EPA Stormwater Discharge Permit, stormwater quality & flood control projects, erosion control, utility reconstruction projects and the City’s Stormwater Utility.

Recently, Greg has worked on infiltration designs such as a “rain garden street” and approximately 20 other rain gardens/bio-retention projects constructed on City of Madison property treating streets and parking lots.

Greg will discuss the impacts of urban stormwater runoff and the challenges and opportunities of handling both flooding and water quality at a municipal level. Greg will provide information on: What are the primary pollutants in urban stormwater runoff? What is the City of Madison doing to reduce stormwater pollutants in runoff? What is the City of Madison doing to reduce flooding in the many flood prone areas in the City? What is the City required to do as part of our regulatory requirements and what are we doing to meet those requirements?

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Thursday, February 13, 2014 – Dennis Frame, “Manure Management and Ag Innovation”

Speaker Bio:
DennisDennis Frame was born and raised in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, milking cows, raising steers and growing crops in an area changing from agriculture to residential development. He attended the University of Wisconsin Farm and Industry Short Course in 1975 and switched to the degree program in 1976. Dennis received degrees from the UW-Madison in dairy science and animal science with a minor in agricultural economics. He did his master’s in ruminant nutrition under the direction of Neil Jorgenson on the feeding of ultra filtration permeate as a replacement for corn in dairy cattle diets.

Dennis left college and farmed in partnership on a dairy operation in northwestern Wisconsin in 1980. He joined UW-Extension in 1982 as the dairy and livestock agent in Wood County, transferring to Brown County and finally became the agriculture agent in Trempealeau County. This area has a rich conservation history and soon he became active in soil and water conservation education. When the nutrient management standard was being proposed, Dennis and a group of Trempealeau County producers looked at the impacts of these rules and regulations on this part of the state. Since 1994 he has focused his educational programming on environmental rules and regulations, developed a nutrient management training program and designed and developed the Discovery Farms program.

Dennis became the co-director of Discovery Farms program in 2001. He is involved in the day-to-day management of the program (funding, personnel, data collection and maintaining the partnerships) as well as teaching and speaking at numerous field days/workshops throughout the state and region. Dennis and his family live on a small farm in northern Trempealeau County where they maintain a herd of beef cattle and spend time fishing in western Wisconsin.

Agriculture has undergone many changes over the past 30 years and in Wisconsin, few areas have experienced as much change as the agriculture within the Yahara watershed.  In order to continue farming in this watershed, farmers have had to become much more efficient in regards to their cost of production and productivity, as well as working toward cleaner lakes.  This has driven changes in the size of farms and the number of animals on each farm.  This drive toward efficiency is also fueling strong competition for land with land values and rental rates as high here as they are anywhere in the U.S.

The tremendous competition in Dane County agriculture is also driving an awareness among the farmers in this watershed that in order to continue farming in this area, they need to work on becoming more sustainable.  Sustainability is a challenging word because everyone has their own definition.  However, most of the farmers in this watershed are aware that in order to continue farming in the Yahara watershed they need to achieve three things:

  • a respectable level of profitability,
  • have minimal negative impact on the environment, and
  • have a positive image within the community.

In Frame’s work within the Yahara watershed he talks with farmers who are trying to balance these three goals while trying to position their businesses for the future.

This presentation will focus on today’s farming systems and the tremendous variety we see within the watershed. Frame will discuss the challenges facing farmers in regards to sustainability and how many have adopted farming systems that complement their goals.  Manure is important in this watershed and farmers are experimenting with new equipment, application methods and timing to reduce the risk of runoff.  While many of us have been on farms, this presentation will try and provide an overview of how agriculture in the Yahara watershed is changing to meet the demands of the 21st century.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014 - John Magnuson, “Climate Change and the Yahara Lakes”

Speaker Bio:magnuson_photo
John J. Magnuson is an Emeritus Professor of Zoology and past Director of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. He earned his BS and MS from the University of Minnesota-St. Paul in fish and wildlife management and his Ph.D. from University of British Columbia, Canada, in zoology with a minor in oceanography. He joined the faculty in 1968 and taught Limnology and Ecology of Fishes. He was one of the co-chairs of the Waters of Wisconsin Project for the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters (2001-03) and was Co-chair of the Science Council for the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. He played a lead role in the lakes and streams portions of the 1995 and 2001 Assessments by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as the Union of Concerned Scientist’s “Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region.”

His most recent books is: Magnuson, Kratz, and Benson 2006. Long-Term Dynamics of Lakes in the Landscape. Oxford University Press. John Magnuson’s research interests are in long-term regional ecology, aquatic ecology & climate change and variability, biodiversity and invasions, and fish and fisheries ecology.

Climate change and variability is all around us. Lake ice seasonality paints a clear picture of such changes and how to view variability. Fishes have well-known temperature requirements; one species is approaching local extinction in the Madison lakes — what other changes may occur? Storms and runoff events are important to lake water quality and responsive to climate change; these events work against the goals of clean lakes. A changing climate makes the job more difficult. What is adaptation? How well can we adapt to these changes? — Magnuson

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Thursday, November 14, 2013 – William Selbig, “Leaves and Lakes: Urban Phosphorous Runoff”


Speaker Bio:
Mr. Selbig is a research hydrologist for the USGS – Wisconsin Water Science Center. He has 20 years of experience in measuring the quantity and quality of nonpoint source runoff in urban environments. The majority of Bill’s research is focused on characterizing the hydrologic and chemical response of stormwater to structural and non-structural practices designed to mitigate stormwater pollution. Much of his research is used to stimulate or amend stormwater policy within the state of Wisconsin. In the last 10 years his work has helped environmental managers quantify the water-quality benefits of street cleaners, establish criteria for successful use of rain gardens with varying soils and vegetative species, better understand the synergistic effect of green infrastructure compared to conventional curb-and-gutter construction techniques, and identify through source tracking potential “hot spots” of environmental toxicants in the urban environment.

In addition to working for the USGS, Bill currently serves on several local, state and national research groups and technical committees that focus on urban nonpoint runoff. Some of these include the American Society of Professional Engineers (ASCE) Gross Solids Pollutant Protocol Committee, Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Advisory Committee, and the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences where he serves as an expert in urban nonpoint runoff research.

Numerous studies have identified a variety of potential sources of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in urban settings. Most agree that organic detritus and particulate matter can act as a major source of P and N, especially in urban areas with dense overhead tree canopy. Particulate matter can be both a source and sink of nutrients that result from the interaction and imposition of anthropogenic/biogenic activities and urban infrastructure design practices and materials on the hydrologic cycle.

In order to meet impending regulation to reduce P loads, MS4s will require information on structural and non-structural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that target organic detritus and particulate matter. Although data on sources of P and N is extensive, few studies have quantified the water-quality benefits of their removal. For example, one way to remove organic detritus and particulate matter before it becomes entrained in runoff is to implement a citywide leaf collection, terracing or bagging of leaves, and street cleaning program. This option may be preferable to structural BMPs since most cities already conduct some level of leaf collection and street sweeping program and may receive the benefit of phosphorus removal requirements with minor changes to existing practices.

The U.S Geological Survey is working with the city of Madison to quantify the potential phosphorus reduction benefits of leaf collection. The primary objective of this project is to quantify changes in P and N concentrations and load as a result of existing or improved leaf collection practices compared to no practices. Water-quality samples will be collected from four study sites to determine if water-quality benefits are realized by a leaf collection and street cleaning program, and to what extent.

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Thursday, September 12th 2013–Jon Standridge,
“Testing the Waters: Citizen Water Quality Monitoring”

Speaker Bio:
Since January 2004 Jon Standridge has worked as a private consultant providing public/environmental health, and water microbiology expertise. Prior to 2004 he spent 31 years as the principal water microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin, State Laboratory of Hygiene. His research areas have included; developing a sensitive test for waters for detecting E. coli O157, detection of algal toxins, improving Cryptosporidium detection methods, identifying sources of pathogens in watersheds, studying the movement of microbes through soil beneath wastewater treatment facilities, developing methods for detecting endocrine disruptors in water and improving our understanding of microbial indicators of water pollution.

Abstract:Standridge photo
In May 2013, Clean Lakes Alliance launched a pilot project for its new Citizen Water Quality Monitoring program under the leadership of Friends of Clean Lakes board member Jon Standridge, a retired water research scientist from the University of Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Our belief is that citizen monitoring can be a powerful tool to raise awareness and increase citizen engagement with the lakes. Standridge will take us through the pilot program and what we’ve learned so far, as well as discussing the public health issues associated with E.coli and blue green occurrences in the Yahara chain.

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 Thursday, August 8th 2013– Alison Mikulyuk,
“They’re Not Weeds! Discovering Aquatic Plant Communities”. 

Monthly Sponsor- Spectrum Brands

Speaker Bio:
Alison Mikulyuk is a scientist in the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Research Section of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. After becoming fascinated with aquatic macrophytes during her first lake-wide plant survey in 2005, she began to design her research so that we might better understand these understudied and dynamic underwater communities. She helped develop and implement macrophyte monitoring programs that have been implemented at the state and national-wide scale. Alison helped develop the recent regulatory rule that limits the movement of aquatic invasive plants in the State of Wisconsin. While not at work with the DNR, Alison pursues her Ph. D in Limnology and Marine Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and her colleagues in Dr. Jake Vander Zanden’s research lab work together to understand inland aquatic environment.

Mikulyuk photo

Aquatic plant communities in lakes are very important to ecosystem health. Come hear scientist Alison Mikulyuk talk about these dynamic underwater forests. She will teach us about some of the different functional groups that can be found in Wisconsin, and introduce a few of the species that can be found in the Yahara Chain. She will have a collection of local live specimens, so if you have any identification questions, bring them!

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Thursday, July 11 2013– Ted Bier, “More Than Hook’n’Line: Fish of the Yahara Lakes”.

Monthly Sponsor- CUNA Mutual Foundation

Speaker Bio:
Ted Bier is a senior research scientist at the University of Wisconsin Madison Center for Limnology. For more than a decade, Bier has led the field operations for the Long Term Ecological Research on all of the Yahara lakes – Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra. His research includes an annual survey of the relative abundance of all fish species in the Yahara lakes, and he conducts bi-weekly sampling of zooplankton and of the nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as monitoring water clarity and lake productivity, which serves as an indicator of nutrient load. The data Bier has collected contribute to a long-term database that provides a broad understanding of how the lakes change over time. When Bier isn’t squeezing fish for research, you may find him free-diving and spearfishing in waters ranging from Wisconsin to the Tropics.

Ted Bier_101 copy

We all know our gamefish – bass, walleye, bluegill.  But what about the fish that don’t grace the dinner plate?  Discover those species and why they are important.  Learn the tools to identify them and how their abundance in the Yahara lakes has changed over time.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013 — Jake Vander Zanden,
“Mussels and Spines: Invasive Species and the Yahara Lakes Food Web”

Monthly Sponsor - Beyler Chiropractic

Speaker Bio:
Jake Vander Zanden is a professor at the Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin – Madison whose research interests include limnology, food webs, invasive species, benthic ecology, and conservation biology. While his research has been on inland lakes of North America, and Wisconsin in particular, he has also worked in interesting places such as Mongolia, Iceland, and Mexico. Vander Zanden received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In addition to his research, he teaches popular courses in ‘Limnology’ and ‘Ecology of Fishes’ at University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Species from the far corner of the world such as zebra mussel and spiny water flea are finding their way into Wisconsin’s lakes. What are the implications for our lakes, and water quality in particular? Vander Zanden will discuss how the ‘food web’, and invasive species in particular, can have huge effects on water quality in the Madison lakes.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013 – Doug Soldat, “Green Lawns, Green Lakes? Lawn Care and Water Quality”

Monthly Sponsor - Weed Man

Speaker Bio:
Doug Soldat is a Wisconsin native and an associate professor in the Department of Soil Science at the Universityof Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in turfgrass and urban soil management. He earned a Ph.D. at Cornell University studying how phosphorus is lost from lawns. At Wisconsin, he advises the students in the turfgrass and grounds maintenance program, and teaches three classes including “Turfgrass Nutrient and Water Management” and “Lawns, Society, and the Environment”. His research program focuses on finding ways to maintain turfgrass for optimum function using fewer inputs of nutrients, pesticides, and water.

Green lawns and clean lakes need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, dense vegetation can play an important role in protecting surface waters from nutrient runoff. However, there are negative consequences of over management and the soil properties play a critical but often overlooked role in environmental protection and pollution.In this talk, I will highlight the primary pathways of nutrient losses from urban environments and discuss some practical and effective strategies for keeping nutrients out of the lake.

Past Yahara Lakes 101 Guest Speakers: 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 – Doug Soldat, “Green Lawns, Green Lakes? Lawn Care and Water Quality”
Monthly Sponsor - Weed Man Lawn Care

Thursday, June 13, 2013 – Jake Vander Zanden, “Mussels and Spines: Invasive Species and the Yahara Lakes Food Web”
Monthly Sponsor – Beyler Chiropractic

Thursday, July 11, 2013 – Ted Bier, “More than Hook’n’Line: Fish of the Yahara Lakes” 
Monthly Sponsor- CUNA Mutual Foundation

Thursday, August 8, 2013 – Alison Mikulyuk, “They’re Not Weeds! Discovering Aquatic Plant Communities”
Monthly Sponsor- Spectrum Brands

Thursday, September 12, 2013 – Jon Standridge, “Testing the Waters: Citizen Water Quality Monitoring”

Thursday, October 10, 2013 – Clean Lakes Alliance staff, “Work in the Watershed”

Thursday, November 14, 2013 – William Selbig, “Leaves and Lakes: Urban Phosphorous Runoff”

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - John Magnuson, “Climate Change and the Yahara Lakes”

Thursday, February 13, 2014 – Dennis Frame, “Manure Management and Ag Innovation”

Thursday, March 13, 2014 – Greg Fries, “Urban Stormwater Runoff”

Thursday, April 10, 2014 – Dr. Doug Soldat, “Lawn Care, Soils and Water Quality”
Monthly Sponsor – Weed Man Lawn Care

Thursday, May 8, 2014 – Dr. Emily Stanley, “Yahara Long Term Ecological Research: Trends & Patterns”

Thursday, June 12, 2014 – Dr. Calvin DeWitt, “Sustaining Yahara Lakes and Waterscapes: Functions of Their Wetland Systems above a Buried Bedrock Valley”

Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Dr. Eric Booth, Development of the Yahara 2070 scenarios: Integrating biophysical and social sciences with art and community participation to promote long-term thinking

Thursday, August 14, 2014 – Dr. Trina McMahon, “Blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mendota”

Thursday, September 11, 2014 – Dr. Chin Wu, “Floating Bog Interceptors in Cherokee Marsh”

Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Ken Bradbury, “Lakes, Streams, and Groundwater: A Single Resource”

Thurs., November 13, 2014 – Katie Van Gheem and Paul Dearlove (CLA Staff), “Using Citizen Monitoring and Crowdsourcing to Track and Forecast Near-Shore Lake Conditions”