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: The Statehouse at The Edgewater (The Wine Room)
Price: $10 at the door or free to Friends of Clean Lakes. Become a Friend today!


Yahara 101 is held both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting) in the Wine Room of The Statehouse at The Edgewater — our new location for the series. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy your coffee, pastries, and fruit. 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.


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Thurs., June 11 - Dr. Jake VanderZanden

“Lake Invaders: How Spiny Water Flea Have Degraded Water Quality in Our Lakes”

About our speakers:

Jake Vander Zanden

Dr. Jake Vander Zanden

Jake Vander Zanden is a Professor at the Center for Limnology and Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a third generation Wisconsinite from the Fox River Valley. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Geography (1994) and PhD in Biology (1999) from McGill University in Montreal.

Jake studies the factors that degrade freshwater ecosystems, most recently focusing on the role of aquatic invasive species. He has authored ~100 scientific studies on a wide range of topics including lake food webs, limnology, water quality, invasive species, climate change impacts, and managing sustainable fisheries.  While the primary emphasis is the study of Wisconsin’s lakes, he has also conducted research in Mongolia, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, and Mexico.  He maintains an active outreach program, and teaches courses at UW-Madison, including ‘Ecology of Fishes’,  as well as the world’s largest ‘Limnology’ course.

Jake was a David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow, A Leopold Leadership Fellow, and is recipient of many awards and honors including the IRPE Prize in Limnetic Ecology, The J.C. Stevenson Memorial Award, and the UW-Madison Chancellor’s Teaching Award. He has given invited plenary talks at conferences worldwide.

Jake Walsh


Jake Walsh is a freshwater ecologist currently working as a graduate student with Jake Vander Zanden at the UW – Center for Limnology. Jake is an enthralled observer of species’ interactions with one another, with their environments, and with us. Jake’s PhD thesis work has focused on the spiny water flea invasion into Lake Mendota, particularly on its impact on water clarity through predation on native Daphnia and what the loss of a strong Daphnia community will mean for phosphorus management in the Yahara watershed.
Jake has also worked on modeling the Lake Mendota spiny water flea population’s “sleeper cell” dynamic where a low-density, undetectable population of spiny water flea exploded in 2009, the year it was first detected, but apparently not the year it first established. Jake plans to build on this sleeper cell model to estimate the spiny water flea’s potential abundance in susceptible lakes in North America, a key step in preventing invasions into lakes vulnerable to its impact on zooplankton, like Daphnia, and water quality.

About the talk:

Daphnia, the tiny algae-grazing animals living in our lakes, have been the unsung heroes of the water quality story of Madison’s lakes. However, the invasive spiny water flea has been making Lake Mendota murkier by preying voraciously on our lakes’ Daphnia, leading to increases in algae. Jake Vander Zanden and Jake Walsh will discuss the impact that the spiny water flea has had on water quality in Lake Mendota, the key role that Daphnia have played in keeping our lakes cleaner in the face of high phosphorus, and what this will mean for the future of Madison as we continue to manage for better water quality in our lakes.

Read this Center for Limnology blog post about the research

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Thurs., July 9 - Dr. Eric Booth

 “Climate, Cities, and Farms: Challenges for Improving Water Quality”

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Thurs., August 13 - Alison Mikulyuk

“Underwater Weeds: Weird Plants in Wisconsin Lakes”

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Thurs., September 10 - Todd Stuntebeck

“Carried Away: Stream Flow and Nutrient Transport to the Lakes”

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Thurs., October 8 - Roger Bannerman

“Saving Our Urban Stormwater: The Role of Stormwater Management”

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Thurs., November 12 - Katie Van Gheem and Paul Dearlove

“LakeForecast.org: All Eyes on Lake Water Quality”

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Past Speakers: 

Read below for our past guest speakers, and follow the links to view bios, abstracts, and photos.

May 14, 2015 – Dr. Cory McDonald, “Where and When: Seasonality in Sources of Phosphorus in the Yahara River Watershed”

April 9, 2015 – Dr. Dick Lathrop, “Restoring Shallow Lakes by Reducing Carp Densities”

Mar. 12, 2015 – Dr. Ankur Desai, “Can Lakes Change the Global Climate?”

Feb. 12, 2015 – Beth Wentzel, “Stream Restoration as a Tool for Restoring Watersheds”

Jan. 8, 2015 – Bob Uphoff, “The Yahara Pride Farms farmer-led conservation model”

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

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

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

Aug. 14, 2014 – Dr. Trina McMahon, “Blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mendota: the Mystery of the Missing Nitrogen”

July 10, 2014 – Dr. Eric Booth, “Development of the Yahara 2070 scenarios”

June 12, 2014 – Dr. Calvin DeWitt, “Sustaining Yahara Lakes and Waterscapes”

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

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

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

Feb. 13, 2014 – Dennis Frame, “Manure Management and Ag Innovation”

Jan. 9, 2014 - John Magnuson, “Climate Change and the Yahara Lakes” – also see press release

Nov. 14, 2013 – William Selbig, “Leaves and Lakes: Urban Phosphorous Runoff”

Oct. 10, 2013 – Clean Lakes Alliance staff, “Work in the Watershed”

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

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

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

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

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


First Weber Foundation The human side of real estate

Yahara Lakes 101 presenting sponsor


The Edgewater Logo - Yahara Lakes 101 hosting sponsor

Yahara Lakes 101 Hosting Sponsor


Yahara Lakes 101 Production Partner

Yahara Lakes 101 Production Partner