Learn to Row with Mendota Rowing Club!

Celebrate the Club’s 40th birthday and Bernard Boathouse’s 100th birthday on Saturday, June 6, 2015


We’d like to share a special event coming up from our friends at the Mendota Rowing Club.

The Club is celebrating its 40th birthday (founded in 1975), and the historic, recently restored Bernard Boathouse is turning 100!

Enjoy fun for the whole family, including boathouse history presentation, visiting dignitaries, art fun, rowing basics instructions and short excursions in an eight-oared shell with experienced rowers.

All ages are welcome, although children younger than 12 will not be permitted to row in a boat. As space allows, children under twelve may be able to ride in the coaching launch while a family member learns to row. There will be other on-land activities for younger children.

Date: Saturday June 6th, 8 a.m. to noon

Location: Bernard Boathouse in James Madison Park

For more information and to reserve your spot to learn to row, visit the rowing club’s webpage. Pre-registration opens on May 1st.

Why rowing? (From Mendota Rowing Club)

Rowing is a sport that spans the lifetime. It is low impact and benefits the entire body. A rower can develop fitness in the entire aerobic—anaerobic spectrum. Emphasis on efficient technique and synchronous teamwork fosters continual learning, adaptability, and sensitivity to teammates. Rowing permits connection to the outdoors in lake and river environments. The boats are hydrodynamic in the extreme and command a rower’s full attention and body awareness.

Because the sport involves boats that range from the eight-person sweep (one oar per rower) boats to the single scull (two oars) it can be both a rewarding team activity and a sport for focused individual performance. Rowing is also a place to develop leadership. The roles of coxswain (a team boat’s steersman) and coach require communication and relationship skills that can be applied to great advantage in off-the-water organizations.

mendota rowing club

Yahara Lakes 101 with Dr. Richard Lathrop

Thursday, April 9, 2015 – Dr. Richard Lathrop

“Restoring Shallow Lakes by Reducing Carp Densities”

Dr. richard "dick" lathrop

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Richard Lathrop has worked foremost on Yahara lake water quality issues since arriving in Madison in 1975. In 1977, Dick began a 33-year career as a limnologist in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources until retiring in late 2010. Besides conducting research on the Yahara lakes, Dick was the lead scientist on other successful lake restoration projects that included removing phosphorus by bottom water withdrawal from Devil’s Lake and removing carp from Lake Wingra. To this day, Dick continues to work and volunteer on various water-related projects, including the UW’s North-Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research project through his Honorary Fellowship appointment at the UW Center for Limnology.


Carp are amazingly efficient ecological engineers that frequently degrade aquatic ecosystems.  This presentation will: (1) showcase the early history of carp management in the Yahara lakes, (2) review the impact of carp in lake ecosystems, (3) summarize the successful carp removal project in Lake Wingra, and (4) discuss potential carp removal projects to improve water quality and fisheries in other Dane County shallow water bodies including Lake Kegonsa.

Learn more about Yahara Lakes 101 and RSVP

Welcome to our new Community Board Members

This March, nine new members were selected for the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board with terms to begin in April. These individuals are all leaders in the community and bring unique strengths to our organization. Please join us in welcoming our new board members:


Timothy Baker – not pictured

Director, Friends of Cherokee Marsh

Biography forthcoming.



Roger Bannerman

Board member, Friends of Lake Wingra; member of CLA Citizen Action Committee

Roger has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for over 40 years.
For most of that time he has directed research projects investigating the solutions to problems caused by urban runoff. Some topics addressed by the different studies are: 1) the quality of urban streams, 2) identification of problem pollutants in stormwater, 3) toxicity of stormwater pollutants, 4) effectiveness of different stormwater control practices, 5) sources of stormwater pollutants, 6) selection of cost-effective control practices, and 7) benefits of low impact development. These results have been applied to the development of technical standards, administrative rules, and the calibration of the WinSLAMM. Roger’s ongoing research projects will continue to be used to increase the effectiveness of Wisconsin’s stormwater management efforts.


Peter Foy

Peter Foy

President, Friends of Lake Kegonsa

Peter lives on Lake Kegonsa and is President of the Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society, Inc. (FOLKS) and has been involved with lake issues for many years. The purpose of FOLKS is to protect, maintain and enhance environmental and recreational value of Lake Kegonsa and its surroundings. FOLKS focuses on activities intended to maintain or improve the ecology, water quality, fishing and recreational use of Lake Kegonsa.

FOLKS also supports Clean Lakes Alliance both financially and with volunteers in an effort to reduce phosphorus runoff throughout the Yahara River watershed.

Peter did his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin and received his Master’s Degree from DePaul University.


Matt Frank

Matt Frank

Attorney, Murphy Desmond; former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; member of CLA Economic Impact & Policy Committee

Matt Frank is a shareholder at Murphy Desmond, S.C., where he practices environmental and energy law. Prior to joining Murphy Desmond, Matt had a 30 year career in public service, first serving as an Assistant Attorney General at the Wisconsin Department of Justice and later serving as Secretary of two state agencies- the Department of Corrections and the Department of Natural Resources.

Accomplishments of the DNR under Matt’s leadership included: the beginning of a multi-year clean-up of PCB’s in the Fox River; new rules to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 90%; passage of the Great Lakes Compact; expansion of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund; and a new regulatory approach to reduce phosphorous in Wisconsin’s lakes and streams, emphasizing adaptive management within watersheds. As DNR Secretary Matt supported collaborative efforts to clean up Madison lakes through the Yahara Clean partnership as well expanded use of biodigesters in Dane County.

Growing up in Cross Plains, Matt fished the Black Earth Creek. He and his wife raised three boys in Middleton, spending time in the summer enjoying boating, water skiing, fishing, and kayaking. Their boys learned to sail at UW Hoofers, and in the winter played hockey on the lake.

“Our family has many happy memories enjoying Madison’s lakes. We all have a stake in protecting and preserving them for everyone.” Matt likes CLA’s emphasis on citizen engagement and outreach, as well as its commitment to bringing diverse stakeholders together, including farmers and businesses, by setting measurable goals and finding ways to work together to accomplish them.



Robert (Bob) Karls

Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board

Biography forthcoming.


Woody Kneppreth

Woody Kneppreth

Board member, Lake Waubesa Conservation Association; CLA citizen monitor

Woody is on the board of the Lake Waubesa Convervation Association and has been active with the organization for the past three years. The LWCA promotes the well being of the lake as well as the entire watershed. He has lived on Lake Waubesa for the past 19 years and enjoys all activities on or in the lake.

Woody received a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin here in Madison in 1971. After spending a few years doing research at the university he decided to change direction and opened the Fess Hotel Restaurant with two other partners in 1975. This kept him busy until 1995 when the building was sold to what is now the Great Dane Pub. The next 16 years were devoted to computer software development and consulting. Woody retired in 2011.


dea larsen converse

Dea Larsen Converse

Co-Chair, Friends of Starkweather Creek; CLA citizen monitor, CLA science writer

Dea Larsen Converse has over 20 years of experience as a science writer, editor, policy analyst and grant manager. Her writing experience includes national and state policy strategies and studies, educational and outreach documents, and speeches for various Wisconsin governors at coastal management outreach events. As an editor, she has worked for the Water Resources Management graduate program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and at Plenum Publishing in New York City. Dea has policy experience from the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Dea has been working with Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) since 2012. She was the lead author for the CLA’s first State of the Yahara Lakes report card and has written them every year since. She also wrote, in collaboration with the CLA’s Strategic Direction Committee, the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction.

Dea earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in biology and liberal arts from the University of Texas at Austin. Dea is co-chair of the Friends of Starkweather Creek and was recently appointed to the CLA Community Board. She lives with her kids, crazy dog, and husband in a beautiful old house near the shores of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin.



Scott Smith

Director of Regulatory Affairs, Alliant Energy; member of Economic Impact & Policy Committee

Scott Smith is a Director of Regulatory Affairs for Alliant Energy, focusing on issues related to FERC, MISO and the company’s Wisconsin based utility, Wisconsin Power and Light. Before joining Alliant Energy, Smith served as the Executive Assistant to a former Chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the state agency responsible for regulating Wisconsin’s telecommunication, water, gas, and electric utilities. Prior to his appointment, Smith was the Commission’s Administrator of the division of Water, Compliance, and Consumer Affairs. Smith has also served as former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson’s Deputy Communications Director, and Deputy Director of the Wisconsin state office in Washington, DC.  Before joining state service, Scott served as a Legislative Assistant to former Congressman Steve Gunderson.

Smith grew up on the shores of Lake Mendota, skied with the Capitol City Ski Team on Lake Monona, and now lives downstream on Lake Waubesa where he continues to enjoy the lakes throughout the seasons.



Amy Supple

Chief Operating Officer, The Edgewater

Amy Supple is a Senior Vice President and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Edgewater Hotel Company overseeing strategic planning, brand development and financial management for the company.

Prior to joining The Edgewater, Supple was a Senior Vice President of Development at Hammes Company, a national real estate development and services firm. Notably, Supple served as the Project Director for The Edgewater, leading the pre-development efforts including being involved in shaping the vision and strategy to open The Edgewater’s lakefront as a public place and community asset for Madison’s residents and visitors.

Supple developed a deep love for inland lakes growing up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Preserving and growing a healthy, vibrant and accessible lake culture in Madison is a goal for her work at The Edgewater and now on the CLA Community Board.


Schooling for Cleaner Lakes returns!

Free community art project with ecosystem theme

Schooling for Cleaner Lakes 2015 cover

Madison, Wis. – Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) and American Family Insurance have announced the return of their popular “Schooling for Cleaner Lakes” community art project.

In 2014, after an exhibit at American Family Insurance DreamBank identified “clean lakes” as a top priority for the Madison community, CLA and American Family Insurance teamed up to help the community ‘school’ for cleaner lakes. Schools and community groups decorated over 1,000 life-sized cutouts of fish, which were then displayed in a giant mobile at CLA’s annual Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast.

Due to popular demand, the fish kits are back. Each kit includes 16 foamboard cutouts of local fish and other lake critters, and is accompanied by instructions and an educational brochure. This year, the focus is on the ecosystem: groups are encouraged to create their own mobiles that illustrate the lake ecosystem. Groups that share a photo of their mobile with CLA will be eligible for cash prizes, set at $250 for the winning kit in each of the Grade School, Middle/High School, and Community Group categories.

The three winning submissions will be displayed at CLA’s Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Groups will keep their mobiles for display at their respective schools and community centers.

Schools and community groups can pick up their art kits from DreamBank, 1 N Pinckney St in Madison, starting on Friday, March 20, 2015; CLA will be available for interview on and near the launch date. Photos of decorated mobiles must be submitted to CLA by Monday, April 27, 2015 for prize consideration.

Visit www.cleanlakesalliance.com/schooling-for-cleaner-lakes for official rules and full instructions. Visit www.cleanlakesalliance.com/breakfast to purchase tickets for the 2015 Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast, where CLA will share our plans for a watershed year.


Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and protection of the lakes, streams and wetlands in the Yahara Watershed.


Schooling for Cleaner Lakes returns!

Press release, sent March 16, 2015

Farmers, agribusinesses, other partners gather to learn about nutrient management, precision ag

watershed-wide conference

Attendees listen to a presentation

The 3rd Annual Watershed-Wide Conference presented by Yahara Pride Farms was a huge success with a full room of over 100 attendees learning about nutrient management and precision agriculture. Read below for highlights from our speakers’ presentations.

USGS Data Findings from 2014

Todd Stuntebeck, physical scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, shared take-home points from 2014 based on water quality monitoring data. One interesting point is that USGS found that more than half of the total phosphorus entering the Yahara Watershed in 2014 was delivered in 12 days during early-spring snowmelt. Todd recommended using the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast (www.manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov/app/runoffrisk), which can help farmers plan ahead to avoid spreading during times like these when risk is high. The tool shows the 10-day risk of runoff occurring based on precipitation, soil moisture, and individual basin characteristics.

Yahara Pride Farms Year in Review

YPF’s Conservation Resource Manager, Dennis Frame, shared the achievements of our 2014 cost-share and certification programs. See page 3 for our 2014 program results. Dennis emphasized how important it is for farmers to speak up in the discussion on water quality. The agriculture community has ideas to share and can be a positive voice.

What’s Next for the Yahara WINs Pilot Project

Dave Taylor, Director of Ecosystem Services at the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Director of Special Projects for Yahara WINs, who also serves on the YPF Conservation Board, shared what will be coming next for Yahara WINs as the pilot project wraps up. Yahara WINs is a collaborative approach to reducing phosphorus runoff and a major funding source for cost-share practices, led by MMSD. During the 2016 transition year, Yahara WINs will continue to fund conservation practices as usual. By 2017, it is expected that the full-scale adaptive management project will be in place throughout the watershed, with expanded funding.

New County Harvestable Buffer Cost-share Program

Kevin Connors, Director of the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, announced a new harvestable buffer cost-share program that will be available to area farmers in 2015. Croplands located in the Yahara and Badfish Creek Watershed that are adjacent to perennial or intermittent streams are eligible. Buffers can be 30 to 120 feet wide, and can qualify for a $400-450 per acre payment each year depending on the contract length. Contact the Dane County Land Conservation Division for more information at (608) 224-3730.

YPF Cover Crop Test Plot Research Results

Heidi Johnson, Crop and Soils Agent at UW-Madison, provided a report on the economic findings of the 2013-2014 YPF Cover Crop Test Plot. When analyzing the data, Heidi focused on identifying cover crops that paid for themselves both in the short and long run. For more in-depth information on the results of the Cover Crop Test Plot research, please see this month’s Forward Farmer cover article.

WinField’s R7 Satellite Imagery Tool

Wrapping up the conference was Wendall Boehlje, Agriculture Technology Specialist at WinField, a division of Land O’ Lakes. Wendall presented information on a satellite imagery tool called the R7 that helps farmers detect field data. Through this technology, farmers are able increase their efficiency by using zone maps generated by field data to place crop hybrids where they will perform best.

Thank you for helping make the 3rd Annual Watershed-wide Conference a valuable learning opportunity. We especially want to thank our speakers, the farmers who attended, and our generous sponsors: Badgerland Financial, Dairy Business Association, Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Digested Organics, Carl F. Statz & Sons, Wagner Insurance, Willy Street Co-op, and Yahara WINs.

The room was full

The room was full


Yahara Lakes 101 with Dr. Ankur Desai

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – Dr. Ankur Desai

“Can lakes change the global climate?”


Speaker Bio:

Ankur R Desai is Associate Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison and Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Climatic Research, Nelson Institute and the UW Freshwater and Marine Sciences Program. Desai teaches and researchers on topics related to how climate variability and land use influences biological organisms and on the flip side, how terrestrial ecosystems and land surfaces modify weather and climate.


Inland waters cover only a small fraction of Earth’s surface. And though we are all aware of how lakes can modify local weather, it seems preposterous to claim they have any significant influence on the global climate system. Rather, we focus more on how climate change is changing lake ecosystems. However, a number of recent studies have suggested that indeed lakes and streams around the world have a greater influence on weather and climate than we think. I will discuss a couple of these studies and the work my lab and collaborators at the University of Wisconsin North Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research site have done to test these hypotheses.

CLA featured in Madison Magazine business column

Image via Madison Magazine.

Image via Madison Magazine.

CLA was featured in Madison Magazine’s business column for “blazing the trail in rebooting and rebranding community causes,” with a special mention for last year’s Schooling for Cleaner Lakes-themed Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast.

We’re very excited about the theme (to be launched soon) for this year’s breakfast, so save the date for Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 — we’ll see you at 7:30 a.m.!

Read more:

Local groups re-tooling strategies to stand out

With fierce competition for audiences and funding, local groups are upping the ante on their promotional strategies

Published On: Feb 20 2015 12:00:00 AM CST

Wisconsin State Journal – Free winter festival hoping to attract a crowd to the Edgewater

Wisconsin State Journal (2/6/15) – “Free winter festival hoping to attract a crowd to The Edgewater” 


“The Frozen Assets Festival is a partnership between the Clean Lakes Alliance and the Edgewater and will take place at the newly renovated hotel and on the lakefront directly behind it.

“One way to get people to love the lakes more is to get them to use them, right?” said James Tye, executive director of Clean Lakes Alliance. “And a lot of people who live in Madison have never walked out on a frozen lake.”

Tye calls the Frozen Assets Festival a bookend to the group’s summertime Clean Lakes Festival, which has taken place for seven years…”

Read more: http://host.madison.com/lifestyles/recreation/free-winter-festival-hoping-to-attract-a-crowd-to-the/article_eb80a32a-e82c-51f4-bbb6-204a38eaa172.html#ixzz3S28mfi85

Yahara Lakes 101 with Beth Wentzel

Beth Wentzel, PE

“Stream Restoration as a Tool for Restoring Watersheds”


Speaker Bio:

Beth recognized early that she preferred “problem solving rather than memorizing.” Today, she thrives on investigative fieldwork. “I love detective work,” she says. “I like figuring out what a place used to be like and comparing it to what’s going on now.”

With a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, she has a solid understanding of river protection laws and regulations. And as a former Peace Corp volunteer teaching math in West Africa, she gained a unique perspective on worldwide water issues.

She landed at Inter-Fluve in 2010, and contributes expertise in hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, stormwater management system design and monitoring, and river and wetland restoration design. “I like the spirit of collaboration [at Inter-Fluve],” she says. “There’s a respect for what everyone brings to the table regardless of their background.”

When work is done, time with family and friends takes priority, with hockey, canoeing, and cross-county skiing filling the hours left in the day.


Watershed health and stream health are linked. The water quality of lakes and other receiving waterbodies is dependent on the water quality of the streams and rivers draining into them. Stream restoration, if done in combination with landuse modification, can speed up the recovery process by reducing sediment and nutrient loading. However, some sediment transport is a normal part of river process. This talk will examine the processes of river systems and the landforms they create (known technically as “fluvial geomorphology”), and will discuss what is normal and what is abnormal erosion. We’ll look at stream restoration efforts nationwide, and some of the practices that can be used to restore streams and watersheds.

Yahara Watershed partners bring in $1.6 million federal grant

CLA policy director Elizabeth Katt-Reinders speaks about CLA's role in the project at the County Executive's press conference to announce the $1.6 million grant award.

CLA policy director Elizabeth Katt-Reinders speaks about CLA’s role in the project at the County Executive’s press conference to announce the $1.6 million grant award.

This week, the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded $1.6 million to the Dane County Land & Water Resources Department through a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). CLA is a partner on the project, along with Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Sand County Foundation, UW-Madison, and Yahara WINs. CLA policy director Elizabeth Katt-Reinders and Rural Program Manager Rachel Fossum worked with Dane County and partners to craft and write the successful proposal, which aims to build capacity for a watershed-wide approach to reducing phosphorus and reaching water quality goals.

Highlights of the proposal include the pairing of traditional agricultural conservation practices with new practices and technologies to reduce phosphorus and sediment runoff to lakes, rivers and streams; and with innovative approaches to engaging and supporting farmers throughout the watershed. Roofed feedlots, zero tillage, harvestable buffers, in-stream legacy sediment removal, and a regional community manure processing and storage site will all play a role in this collaborative effort to clean up the lakes and meet water quality standards.

Partners are providing cash and in-kind matches to the $1.6 million from NRCS. Katt-Reinders explains that the project allows partners to play to their strengths and leverage each other’s resources “to accomplish more together than any of us could accomplish by working alone. We’re all in this together to make sure that Dane County farms remain economically strong while operating in a way that helps clean up the lakes and reach our water quality goals.”

The grant process was highly competitive, with 600 proposals submitted nationally, and only 100 awarded across the U.S. The diversity of the public-private partnerships in the Dane County grant, as well as the established relationships and past successes among partners were integral to the proposal’s success.