Media coverage: Middleton Stormwater Utility Referendum

Clean Lakes Alliance and KEVA Sports Center held a press conference this week to support the proposed City of Middleton Stormwater Utility referendum. Read below for media coverage. See our press release for more information about the referendum.

 

Wisconsin State Journal (10/31/14) - “Middleton voters to decide Tuesday on creation of stormwater utility fee”

Excerpt:

“Fritz, of KEVA Sports Center, wanted residents to know he supports a city referendum on Tuesday’s ballot that would create a stormwater utility in Middleton.

‘It’s good for families, it’s good for children,’ Fritz said Wednesday, standing near a large “Vote Yes” sign at the sports center”

“If approved by Middleton voters, the stormwater utility would provide a dedicated funding source to maintain the storm sewers, stormwater detention ponds, infiltration basins and other water pollution treatment mechanisms the city already has in place.”

WKOW (10/29/14) - “Water utility referendum on Middleton ballot” (with video)

Excerpt:

“On election day, Middleton voters will decide whether to create a storm water utility for the city.

The Keva sports complex, along with the Clean Lakes Alliance, threw their support behind the idea, saying it would reduce phosphorus and sediment in the city’s waterways, which are important recreational assets for the city and Dane county.

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, with the Clean Lakes Alliance says, “The impacts reach beyond Middleton the impacts reach to Lake Mendota and to the entire Yahara chain of lakes. Middleton is situated at the north end of our watershed and so what happens upstream then impacts flow downstream.”

NBC15 (10/29/14) – “Would you pay more for cleaner lakes?” (with video)

Excerpt:

“‘We want our kids to enjoy the waters,’ said Fritz.

A small fee, with a large pay-off. An investment Fritz doesn’t want floating away.

‘We’re trying to protect the assets that make Madison, Middleton and Dane County a greater place to live,’ said Fritz.”

Wisconsin Public Radio (10/29/14) - “Dane County Community Will Vote on Creating Stormwater Utility Next Week”

by Shamame Mills

Excerpt:

“The ballot for the Nov. 4 election in one Dane County community contains a referendum on water quality.

Wisconsin law allows municipalities to create stormwater utilities to raise revenue to address flooding and pollution, something that more than 80 communities have availed themselves of.

Now Middleton, a city just west of Madison, is asking voters to create an annual fee to maintain storm sewers, detention ponds and other pollution treatment practices.”

Media coverage – 2014 Ag Innovation Days

 

2014 Ag Innovation Days emergency manure spill response demonstration

Ag Innovation Days attendees watch an emergency manure spill response demonstration.

On October 21st and 23rd, Yahara Pride Farms, CLA’s agricultural affiliate, hosted the second annual Ag Innovation Days in Waunakee and DeForest. The demonstration days brought in experts from all over the Midwest and beyond to share knowledge and demonstrate new technologies. Over 200 producers, implement dealers, government workers and other pertinent stakeholders attended.

Local news outlets covered the event, and we would like to share the media coverage with you. Read below to learn more about Yahara Pride Farms and the important work that the Clean Lakes Alliance is doing in the watershed.

 

Post-event coverage:

  • Cover Crops as conservation tools - The Wisconsin State Farmer

    “Yahara Pride Farms, an affiliate of the Clean Lakes Alliance, is looking for ways to help protect the Yahara watershed and the Madison lakes that it drains into.

    At their second annual agricultural innovation field day event, Yahara Pride Farms showed farmers how to contain and clean up a manure spill (See related story) and showed how farmers are using cover crops to keep nutrients on their fields. making those nutrients available for the next year’s crops.

    The first of two field days was held high on a hill north of Waunakee where Lonnie Hahn decided to use cover crops for the first time…”

  • Battling Green Slime, Wisconsin builds ‘Farm Pride’ – Chris Bentley, Beacon Reader”The farmers in Dane County, Wisconsin aren’t in [the Lake Eerie] basin, but they’re part of a novel approach to reduce phosphorus runoff in the Yahara River watershed that could be a model for communities across the Midwest.

    Manure is a great thing when it stays where it’s supposed to be,” said Scott Maier, a dairy farmer from Vienna, Wisconsin who looks after 600 cows. He’s on the board of the Yahara Pride Farm Conservation Team, one of the organizations who put together today’s events. A nonprofit collective of about 50 farmers in South-central Wisconsin, the group formed in 2011 to share best management practices for reducing phosphorus runoff.

    Through attending events like today’s Agriculture Innovation Days, which the farm group puts on several times each year, Maier has learned about cover cropping—planting restorative crops during the off-season to promote soil health—and said winter rye has helped improve the quality of his farm’s soil. The new crop has also saved him money and kept more phosphorus in his soil, where it’s supposed to stay. But before Yaraha Farm Pride Group showed him how cover cropping would work, and even shared the cost of a trial run, he was reluctant to take any risks.”

 

Pre-event coverage:

  • Farms to show off conservation practices – The Waunakee Tribune
    “Waunakee area farmers are implementing more conservation minded practices to keep phosphorous out of the Lake Mendota watershed, and at a special event next they’ll share those new innovations.Through techniques such as planting cover crops, vertical manure injection and conservation tillage, the farmers are helping to improve the quality of the Yahara Lakes…”

 

  • Yahara Pride Farms showcases local ag innovation – Agri-view

    “Yahara Pride Farms, the agricultural affiliate of the Clean Lakes Alliance, is a farmer-led non-profit organization devoted to improving soil and water quality in the Yahara watershed.

    ‘These 2 days really shine the spotlight on the advancements in conservation in Dane County and the proactive approach our farmers are taking to protect our lakes,’ says Don Heilman, director of Yahara Pride Farms and president of the Clean Lakes Alliance.

    Ag Innovation Days showcases local innovation in agriculture, including hands-on demonstrations of conservation technologies and exhibits by area agri-businesses and professionals…”

 

Earlier this year:

  • Taking pride in conservation: farmer-led group trying innovative approaches to limit phosphorus runoff – The Country Today”South-central Wisconsin farmers in the Yahara Watershed know they have a lot to lose if they are reactive rather than proactive in what they do to prevent phosphorus from running off their farms and entering the waterways.To tackle the challenge head-on, about 50 farmers have formed an organization known as Yahara Pride Farms. The nonprofit group works on projects to improve the soil and water quality in the Yahara Watershed, which includes land in Columbia, Dane and Rock counties.Since the group was formed in 2011, it has promoted the use of new tillage and manure-injection practices and implemented a fall cover-crop program. The organization is also putting together a farmer-certification program they believe could provide financial benefits to farmers…”

KEVA to make business case for Middleton stormwater utility

What: Clean Lakes Alliance press conference:

Eric Fritz, Chief Entertainment Officer for KEVA Sports Center, will make the business case for supporting the City of Middleton Stormwater Utility referendum. Middleton residents will have the opportunity to pass the referendum at the polls on Tuesday, November 4th.

Media and interested stakeholders are invited to attend.

When & Where: 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at KEVA Sports Center
8312 Forsythia Street
Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
Why: The City of Middleton referendum poses a fair funding mechanism to achieve cleaner waters through creation of a stormwater utility, which would secure a dedicated funding source to maintain the City’s existing stormwater facilities.

By supporting regular, scheduled maintenance, a stormwater utility would reduce phosphorus and sediment loading to the City of Middleton’s waterways, as well as help improve water quality in the City of Middleton, the Pheasant Branch Creek watershed, and the Yahara watershed as a whole.

Who: Eric Fritz, Chief Entertainment Officer for KEVA Sports Center:

KEVA Sports Center opened in 1999 and welcomes over 350,000 participants and visitors each year. Besides organizing recreational sports for youth and adults, KEVA shows leadership in the community by creating learning opportunities, organizing fundraising events, and providing support for important causes.

Fritz views the increased cost to his business that a stormwater utility would bring as a smart investment in the lakes, the community, and Middleton’s economy.

Contact: Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Director of Policy and Communications
Clean Lakes Alliance
elizabeth@cleanlakesalliance.com
Office: (608) 255 – 1000

Lake-O-Gram Vol. IV, Issue 7 :: “What’s leaves got to do with it?”

Healthy Lakes Yard Tour

What do fallen leaves have to do with lake health? When leaves on our streets and terraces steep in rainwater, they create a nutrient-rich tea that enters the lakes via storm drains and fuels excess plant and algae growth.

Each year, our urban communities contribute about 30% of the total phosphorus that enters lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa, and Wingra. That’s about 27,000 pounds of phosphorus from leaves, soil, and other urban runoff.

Fortunately, our community has an action plan and is working to prioritize and implement projects in the watershed. If you have a moment—and perhaps a rake—you can help. Here are three ways to start:

  • Make a personal pledge to keep the leaves on your property away from the streets, where they are most at risk for leeching into stormwater.
  • Take three minutes to complete our resident yard care survey, created in partnership with local municipalities. We want to know how you already manage your yard and stormwater, and how we can make leaf management easier for you.
  • Attend our Healthy Lakes Yard Tour this Friday, October 17th to learn how to site a rain garden, or install and use a rain barrel, then teach your neighbors!

Read on for more information and other ways that you can help.

In partnership,

The CLA Team

Contents
CLA yard care survey
Lake-friendly leaf management

Healthy lakes yard tour
What’s phosphorus?
Love your lakes, don’t leaf them!
Join CLA @ the Arb!

 

Yard Care Survey

The Clean Lakes Alliance is partnering with local municipalities to learn how you deal with fall leaves and stormwater.

Please take a few minutes to complete a brief yard care survey by clicking the button below. Your feedback will guide future efforts to protect our lakes and streams. Those who complete the survey will be eligible for the following prizes, donated by our sponsors:

  1. A free lawn consultation and $25 off the cost of a Fall 2014 or Spring 2015 lawn aeration from Weed Man™ (new customers only).
  2. Entry into a prize drawing for $400 in lawn care services from Weed Man™.
  3. A special coupon code for $25 off the price of any rain barrel or compost bin from RainReserve™.

I’M READY! TAKE ME TO THE SURVEY.

These efforts are made possible through generous support, including a stormwater grant from the Village of Deforest and a C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to support CLA’s leaf management initiatives.

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How-to: lake-friendly leaf management

This fall, show your love for our lakes by using the leaves that fall on your property to improve the health and beauty of your yard.

Clean Lakes Alliance - storm drain stamp

To maximize protection of our lakes, keep your leaves off the curb. When used correctly, leaves can be an inexpensive alternative to traditional yard-care practices.

How to keep it local:

  1. Mulch fallen leaves into your lawn with a lawnmower – your lawn will love it!
  2. Use leaves to mulch around trees, shrubs, and gardens.
  3. Consider making leaf mold, an inexpensive substitute for peat moss that can increase water-holding capacity of soils by fifty percent. All you need is an out-of-the-way corner of your yard and a little bit of patience.

If you have more leaves than you can use, be sure to dispose of them correctly. By doing so, you help keep our lakes clean and healthy.

How to dispose of leaves:

  1. Check your municipality’s website for leaf pick-up schedules (if applicable).
  2. Time your raking to minimize leaves’ time on the curb waiting for pick-up.
  3. Consider clearing fallen leaves out of your street gutters and storm drains where the risk of phosphorus-leaching is highest. Use common sense and please take safety precautions.
  4. Visit cleanlakesalliance.com/renew-the-blue/ for more citizen action tips.

Through the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Plan for Phosphorus Reduction, our community has set the goal of preventing 4,100 pounds of phosphorus runoff into our lakes through urban leaf management by 2025. With one pound of phosphorus capable of producing 500 pounds of algae, urban leaf management could have a huge impact on our lakes.

CLA and our partners are working to promote better leaf management, and make lake-friendly yard care more convenient to residents. Through our citizen action initiatives, we hope to help residents make decisions and create habits that benefit our lakes. For more information, please contact our watershed program manager, Paul Dearlove, at paul@cleanlakesalliance.com.

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Healthy Lakes Yard Tour

On Friday, October 17th from 3 – 5 p.m., CLA will present a showcase of lake-friendly yard practices hosted on a local homeowner’s lawn. The event will highlight the direct actions that residents can take to help protect and improve our local waters, and will include a C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant award presentation by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to support CLA’s leaf management initiatives.

Events include:

  • How to install and use a rain barrel by RainReserve.
  • Composting 101 by RainReserve.
  • City of Madison leaf collection by George Dreckman, City of Madison recycling coordinator.
  • Tips for managing fall leaves by David Thompson, Friends of Lake Wingra board member.
  • Rethinking roof and gutter downspouts by Clean Lakes Alliance staff.
  • Healthy turf for healthy lakes by Weed Man Lawn Care.
  • How to site a rain garden by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Earth Partnership for Schools.
  • C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant award presentation by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to support CLA’s leaf management initiatives.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin logo

Refreshments will be donated by Steep & Brew Coffee and special help will be provided by Boy Scout Troop 16. Join CLA for a discovery tour of simple actions that can transform any lawn into a beautiful, lake-friendly yard.

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What is phosphorus?

Phosphorus is the nutrient found in manure, leaves, soil, and lake sediments that fertilizes plant and algae growth in the lakes.  One pound of phosphorus can promote the growth of 500 pounds of algae.

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Love your lakes, don’t leaf them

adapted from an article by the Office of Lakes & Watersheds

If you love the abundance of water resources we have been blessed with here in Dane County, don’t leaf the lakes! Preliminary results from a four-year federal and state research project in our area show that phosphorus concentrations in runoff are much higher in fall in areas where municipalities do not conduct leaf pickup or street sweeping programs. Leaf removal from municipal streets is therefore a critical element in our phosphorus reduction work.

To show your love for our lakes and support for leaf management initiatives, display your very own “Love Your Lakes, Don’t Leaf Them” yard sign. For more information or to obtain yard signs, visit myfairlakes.com or call (608) 224-3764. Visit your local town, village, or city hall and inquire about helpful tips, flyers, and signs that emphasize the importance of preventing algae-feeding nutrients from entering storm drains.

Love your lakes, don't leaf them. Rock River Coalition

No matter how far we live from the water’s edge, our storm drains or ditches lead to the nearest lake or stream, so each of us shares the responsibility of limiting nutrient growth in our lakes by keeping leaves out of the street.

The Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership (MAMSWaP) is working with the Rock River Stormwater Group to reduce the amount of pollution making its way to our lakes and streams. Both the Yahara chain of lakes and the Yahara River ultimately drain to the Rock River. Thank you for helping to Renew the Rock by reducing stormwater pollution. Learn more at www.myfairlakes.com and www.renewtherock.com.

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Join CLA @ the Arb!

Renew the Blue volunteer day

Join CLA at the UW-Madison Arboretum Wingra Oak Savannah on November 1st for the last Renew the Blue volunteer day of the season! Volunteers will help remove invasive woody shrubs and perform other lakeshore restoration tasks. Visit our website to learn more and RSVP. Supplies and refreshments provided.

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Let’s Get Social

#crazy4lakes!

#crazy4lakes!

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and let’s connect!

Having fun on the lakes? Tag your post or picture with #crazy4lakes!

See someone doing good for the lakes? Use #renewtheblue – we may repost or retweet you!

 

Healthy Lakes Yard Tour

Healthy Lakes Yard Tour

What: Media and interested stakeholders are invited to attend the Healthy Lakes Yard Tour presented by the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). Join us for a discovery tour of simple actions that can transform any lawn into a beautiful, lake-friendly yard.
When: Friday, October 17th from 3 – 5 p.m.
Where: 4137 N. Sunset Court, Madison
Just off Mineral Point Road near the Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish.
Why: By practicing lake-friendly yard care, residents of the watershed can engage in direct actions that will help protect and improve our local waters.
Activities include:
  • How to install and use a rain barrel by RainReserve.
  • Composting 101 by RainReserve.
  • City of Madison leaf collection by George Dreckman, City of Madison recycling coordinator.
  • Tips for managing fall leaves by David Thompson, retired conservation professor for UW-Washington County.
  • Rethinking roof and gutter downspouts by Clean Lakes Alliance staff.
  • Healthy turf for healthy lakes by Weed Man Lawn Care.
  • How to site a rain garden by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Earth Partnership for Schools.
  • C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant award presentation by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to support CLA’s leaf management initiatives.
Who: Produced by Clean Lakes Alliance.Support provided by the City of Madison; grant award provided by Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin; exhibits provided by RainReserve, Weed Man Lawn Care, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Earth Partnership; refreshments donated by Steep & Brew Coffee; and special help provided by Boy Scout Troop 16.
Contact: Paul Dearlove, CLA Watershed Program Managerpaul@cleanlakesalliance.comOffice: (608) 255 – 1000

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Media Alert

Healthy Lakes Yard Tour

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.

Abstract:

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.

Letter of Support for Dane County Executive’s 2015 Budget

Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) works towards accomplishing our goals through strong partnerships with a diversity of stakeholders across the Yahara watershed. One of our strongest partnerships is with our county government, and we are thrilled to have a County Executive who has the lakes as one of his top priorities.

On September 29, 2014 Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the 2015 county budget, and we commend him for including more than 10 million dollars to help protect and improve the waterways of the Yahara watershed.

CLA is devoted to improving the water quality of the Yahara River watershed, with a specific focus on reducing phosphorus inputs to our lakes.  We’ve got a plan to reduce phosphorus by 50% by 2025, and we’re working towards that goal by implementing the 14 urban and agricultural actions laid out in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan. Our County Executive is committed to making progress toward these goals, and his budget reflects those values.

Pictured above: A grassed waterway that retains nutrients & protects Lake Waubesa on a local farm.

Pictured above: A grassed waterway that retains nutrients & protects Lake Waubesa on a local farm.

County Executive Parisi announced seven key projects that would be funded in 2015 to help reduce phosphorus and improve our lakes, and CLA stands in strong support behind them.

The County Executive proposes:

  • Adding an additional $500,000 to help farmers store manure, which will keep it off the land during most critical times of the year with Community Manure storage grants.
  • New technology to accomplish 100% elimination of phosphorus from manure.
  • New soil conservationists to collaborate with farmers to reduce high-priority phosphorus pollution from agricultural runoff. This is a new partnership with the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.
  • Putting $750,000 into the Yahara CLEAN Fund for grants to establish new conservation practices with our agricultural partners on farms.
  • $1 million in new Urban Water Quality Grants to share the cost of technology to address pollution from outflows (manmade and natural) into the lakes.
  • Sand County Foundation will contribute $60,000 in resources to compile and prioritize information critical to aid future efforts to effectively clean up the lakes.
  • A new $60,000 pilot project evaluating the effectiveness of removing phosphorus-laden sediments in the highest concentration areas.
In addition to voicing our support of the County Executive’s proposed budget initiatives, we are also proud to be working in collaboration with Dane County on its proposed sediment removal efforts. Through the work of our Strategic Implementation Committee over the last year, CLA was instrumental in garnering interest and support for prioritizing phosphorus-reduction efforts in the Dorn Creek watershed. This area, located north of Lake Mendota, will be the area of focus for the County’s proposed $60,000 sediment removal pilot project, and CLA is happy to announce that we are committing an additional $25,000 to work in this area.

Dane County is fortunate to have an Executive who cares so much about our lakes.  CLA looks forward to working with the County on the Dorn Creek projects, and also to collaborating on implementation of Yahara CLEAN phosphorus-reduction efforts throughout the watershed with the county and other partners like Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Sand County Foundation.  Partnerships like these are critical to ensuring the health of Madison’s lakes.

We commend County Executive Parisi for a strong budget and a strong commitment to partnerships and to the lakes, and we urge you to contact your County Supervisor with support for these important initiatives.

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The 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. Through community support, advocacy and education, CLA is working to restore and protect our lakes for future generations.

 

to become a Friend of Clean Lakes!

Yahara Pride Farms showcases local ag innovation

Yahara Pride Farms Ag Innovation Days 2014

What: Media and the general public are invited to attend the 2nd Annual Ag Innovation Days presented by Yahara Pride Farms, which showcases local ag innovation through hands-on demonstrations of conservation technologies and exhibits by area agribusinesses and agriprofessionals.
When & Where: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21 (rain date Oct. 22): Lonny Hahn’s field on east side of Schumacher Rd. between Cuba Valley Rd. Activities will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23 (rain date Oct. 24): Blue Star Dairy field, east of Daley Rd. and County Hwy I intersection. Activities will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Visit www.yaharapridefarms.org for map of field locations, schedules, and more information.
Why: Ag Innovation Days seek to promote and expand the use of technologies and practices that retain soil nutrients on local farm acreage and reduce phosphorus loading into the watershed.
Activities include: Tuesday, October 21:10:15 – 11:15 a.m.; 1 – 2 p.m. vertical manure injection demonstration

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.; 12:15 – 12:30 p.m.; 1:45 – 2 p.m. cover crop test plot overview and dig

11 a.m. – 12 p.m. live action manure spill response demo

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. exhibits open (see list of exhibitors below); food by Lodi Sausage Co. & Meat Market

Thursday, October 23:

10 – 11 a.m.; 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. vertical manure injection demonstration

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.; 12:15 – 12:30 p.m.; 1:45 – 2 p.m. cover crop test plot overview and dig

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; 12:45 – 1:45 conservation tillage demonstrations

11:30 – 11:50 a.m.; 1 – 1:20 p.m. soil health and conservation technologies

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. exhibits open (see list of exhibitors below); food by Lodi Sausage Co. & Meat Market

Who: Produced by Yahara Pride Farms and Clean Lakes Alliance; sponsored by Badgerland Financial and MSA Professional Services, Inc.; grant support provided by Organic Valley, Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Village of Deforest.Event exhibitors include: Carl F. Statz and Sons Inc., Crop IMS, Dane County Land Conservation Division, Dane County University of Wisconsin-Extension, Diamond t Ag LLC, GYPSOIL, Kalscheur Implement Co. Inc., Partners in Production, VTI (Vertical Till Injector) LLC, Wipp Brothers Ag Services, and Ziegler Ag Equipment.
Contact: Don Heilman, Director – Yahara Pride Farms; don@yaharapridefarms.org; (608) 255 – 1000

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Yahara Pride Farms (YPF), the agricultural affiliate of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA), is dedicated to improving soil and water quality in the Yahara watershed through the implementation of agricultural conservation practices and technologies.

The 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 River watershed.

 

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Yahara Pride Farms Ag Innovation Days 2014

Waves in the Watershed – Volume I, Issue 4

 

Renew the Blue Volunteer Days Clean Lakes Alliance

Thompson Investment Management volunteers collect native plant seeds at the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve as part of Clean Lakes Alliance’s Renew the Blue Volunteer Days. This summer, companies including Spectrum Brands, Lands’ End, American Family Insurance, Filament Games, CUNA Mutual Group, and Thermo Fisher Scientific helped to protect our waterways by improving our lakeshores.

Thank you for your investment in clean lakes through your support of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). We appreciate the time you take as a donor to read Waves in the Watershed to stay up-to-date on our latest efforts to protect and improve water quality in the Yahara watershed.

Fall is a season for shifting gears. We are wrapping up summer initiatives and programs, and beginning to plan ahead for 2015. We invite you to attend our 2014 Ag Innovation Days (October 21st and 23rd), and our upcoming Renew the Blue volunteer day (November 1st). Read below for more information about these and other initiatives, as well as important updates on progress and projects in our watershed.

We appreciate your support of our organization and our mission.

In Partnership,

The CLA Team

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Table of Contents

CLA to speak at North American Lake Management Society
Strategic Implementation Committee update
Rural Initiatives update
2014 Ag Innovation Days
Conservation Practice Cost-Share Program
Blue Star Dairy Farm Tour Recap
Yahara Pride Farm-Certification Program
Friends of Clean Lakes update
Watershed Engagement update
Citizen Lake Monitoring & Mobile-ready Website
Renew the Blue Volunteer Days
Lake-Friendly Yard Care and Leaf Management
Economic Impact & Policy Committee update
Nominating Committee Update
Thank you

CLA to speak at North American Lake Management Society

NALMS_logo

The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) is an international organization working to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs. CLA staff was selected to present at the 2014 NALMS international symposium this November on three topics that showcase the collaborative and innovative work being done in our community:

    • James Tye will present on Citizen Science and Monitoring: “Using citizen monitoring and crowd-sourced data in near-shore water quality tracking and algal bloom research.”
    • Don Heilman will present on Innovative Watershed Strategies for Nutrient Control: “Reducing watershed-wide phosphorus loading through a farmer-led model.”
    • Elizabeth Katt-Reinders will present on Lake Management Case Studies: “Public-private partnerships offer model of watershed-scale lake management.”

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PROJECTS 

Early autumn view of Lake Wingra and the UW-Madison Arboretum. Photo by Jen Bloesch.

Early autumn view of Lake Wingra and the UW-Madison Arboretum. Photo by Jen Bloesch.

Strategic Implementation Committee update

In August, the CLA Strategic Implementation Committee (SIC) hosted two presentations on the Upper and Lower Dorn Creek Wetlands by Dr. Ken Potter and Dr. Eric Booth from the University of Wisconsin. The focus on this wetland area stems from a study conducted by Potter’s Water Resource Management Practicum and its location in the heart of the Yahara WINs Adaptive Management pilot area north of Lake Mendota.

Initial findings for Upper Dorn Creek Wetland suggest that a scrape or dredge of phosphorus-laden sediment that has accumulated over the past 100 years of runoff would restore the viability of the marsh and its ability to retain and refresh rainwater on its way to the lakes. This project has the potential to prevent an estimated 1000 to 3000 pounds of phosphorus loading to Lake Mendota. Additional discussions will take place in September and a SIC project leader will be assigned.

The Lower Dorn Creek has seen significant changes in the last couple of decades as floods have detoured the creek off track and into a ditch line that runs straight along a farm field edge before reentering the creek bed several thousand feet to the east. This has caused the waterway to lose its meandering way and nutrient-sequestering effect. In addition, a delta of phosphorus-laden sediment has accumulated at the reentry point and is poised to wash into the lake under the stress of a significant rain event. SIC member Greg Searle of Wisconsin DNR has taken the lead on this project.

The SIC has also discussed the need for mapping the potential “at risk” areas of concern for phosphorus runoff. Aaron Ruesch and Theresa Nelson of Wisconsin DNR have developed a GIS mapping program called EVAAL, which utilizes LiDAR (“light radar”) detection supplied by Dane County to show potential erosion areas. The findings for Six Mile Creek Watershed will be presented at the September committee meeting.

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Rural Initiatives update

CLA has been busy supporting conservation practices on our local farm fields through our work with Yahara Pride Farms. Yahara Pride Farms is the agricultural affiliate organization of the Clean Lakes Alliance, led by area farmers and supported by CLA staff. Conservation practices promote healthy soil and healthy crops, and, by reducing phosphorus runoff, help to promote healthy lakes. See below for updates and ways to get involved.

Second Annual Ag Innovation Days

2013_fall-field-demonstration-days_reduced-enhancedWhether you are a local producer, farm implement dealer, or are simply ag-curious, we encourage you to sign up to attend our 2014 Ag Innovation Days! Events will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on local farm fields, and will address the soil, water quality, and economic benefits of utilizing conservation practices.

The Tuesday, October 21st event (rain date Oct. 22nd) will feature vertical manure injection demonstrations, cover crop test strips, a cover crop dig to look at root growth of the various cover crop seed type/seed type combinations, educational videos about composting, and exhibits from field experts. You’ll want to see the live action manure spill response demonstration! The Thursday, October 23rd (rain date Oct. 24th) event will focus on conservation tillage, with strip till runs, vertical manure injection demonstrations, and educational composting videos. Exhibits and demonstrations will help illustrate the connection between conservation practices on farms and water quality improvements in our lakes.

Visit www.yaharapridefarms.org for directions, schedules, and more information.

Thank you to our 2014 Ag Innovation Days supporters. We appreciate the time and in-kind contributions of our exhibitors, Carl F. Statz and Sons Inc., Crop IMS, Dane County Land Conservation Division, Dane County University of Wisconsin-Extension, Diamond t Ag LLC, GYPSOIL, Kalscheur Implement Co. Inc., Partners in Production, VTI (Vertical Till Injector) LLC, Wipp Brothers Ag Services, and Ziegler Ag Equipment. Ag Innovation Days is also made possible by our generous sponsors, Badgerland Financial, and MSA Professional Services, Inc.; and through the grants received from Organic Valley, Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Village of Deforest.

Conservation practice cost-share program

farm-by-water

In August, Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) sent a mailing summarizing our 2014 cost-share offerings to determine local farmers’ interest in implementing fall conservation practices. So far, we have registered interest for 24 farms, 5,708 acres of cover crops, 1,050 acres of tillage, and 140 acres of vertical manure injection. Most of these acres of conservation practices will be covered under YPF cost-share, and many farmers will also implement conservation practices above and beyond the acreage we cover, all of which will benefit water quality in our lakes. We appreciate the growing interest in our cost-share program and the innovation and expertise of our local agricultural professionals.

Blue Star Dairy Farm Tour update

2014_yahara-pride-farms_blue-star-dairy-farm-tour_2-enhanced

A diverse group of community members attended the Blue Star Dairy farm tour on Tuesday, August 26th, including county employees, community officials, Yahara Pride Farms and CLA sponsors and donors, and other interested stakeholders. Attendees learned how Blue Star Dairy’s operations benefit soil and water quality through the use of field conservation practices, manure management methods, and nutrient management plans. YPF intern Ben Stacer wrote a recap of the farm tour from a non-farmer perspective; read it here. Our next farms tours will be scheduled for summer 2015.

Yahara Pride Farm-Certification Program

Yahara Pride Farms certified farm

Our Conservation Resource Managers continue to meet with farmers to go through the Yahara Pride Farms certification process, promote our cost-share program, and recruit new members and gauge interest in becoming Yahara Pride Certified. The certification process measures field, land and stream conservation; crop and soil fertility; and assesses facilities to evaluate environmental risks and beneficial practices. Farms must achieve at least 80% of the available points to become certified. We have 11 certified member operations with 7 more in progress. The program is designed to recognize good conservation practices already in place, and to identify areas where additional, alternative, or improved practices will benefit soil quality, crop yield, and ultimately reduce phosphorus inputs to our waterways. Visit the Yahara Pride Farms website for more information about our farm certification program.

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DEVELOPMENT

Friends of Clean Lakes update

Friends of Clean Lakes is progressing steadily towards our 2014 goal of $100,000 in individual donations. See below for a summary of individual friendships to date. As of the end of August, we have raised $77,108.92, or 77% of our goal. Thank you to our generous donors for your investment in clean lakes!

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WATERSHED ENGAGEMENT

Citizen Action Committee update


This summer season was full of citizen action to benefit our watershed. We are lucky to have such a dedicated and engaged local citizenry that invests hundreds of volunteer hours in our lakes.

Citizen Lake Monitoring & Mobile-ready Beach Website

Clean Lakes Alliance Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program

Thanks to our many dedicated volunteers, our 2014 citizen water-monitoring season was a great success! During the 2014 season, 44 CLA volunteers completed:

  • over 150 total phosphorus samples
  • 67 E. coli samples
  • over 900 water quality data collections.

Monitors used a new mobile-ready website interface to report and share their water quality information. Tools like these help us achieve the goal of our citizen monitoring program: to better track changing beach and near-shore lake conditions while providing timely water quality and algal-bloom information to the public. We are excited to see our vision for the program becoming a reality!

Join us for Yahara Lakes 101 on Thursday, November 13th to hear results of the 2014 season from CLA watershed engagement staff members Paul Dearlove and Katie Van Gheem.

Renew the Blue Volunteer Days

Clean Lakes Alliance Renew the blue volunteer day

CLA has partnered with 8 businesses and 7 site hosts to date for our Renew the Blue Volunteer Days, for a total of 267 participating individuals and 11 cleanup and restoration events throughout the watershed. Volunteer days will continue into the fall, including an event that will be open to the public.

      • Please join us on Saturday, November 1st, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.mfor a Volunteer Day at UW-Madison Arboretum, held at Wingra Oak Savanna. Volunteers will assist with seed collection and invasive woody shrub removal.

Lake-Friendly Yard Care & Leaf Management

Clean Lakes Alliance - storm drain stamp

CLA is currently reaching out to municipalities throughout the Yahara watershed to partner on the administration of a citizen actions survey. The main purpose of the survey is to document current stormwater and leaf-management practices among residents to establish a baseline against which we can measure the success of future education programs. The survey will also assess factors that are driving current yard-care decisions. In 2015, CLA will begin a program to advise and educate residents on best lake-friendly practices for lawn care.

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POLICY

Economic Impact & Policy Committee update

View of Madison captured at Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy of Middleton on Fredrick's Hill. Photo by Peter Patau.

View of Madison captured at Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy of Middleton on Fredrick’s Hill. Photo by Peter Patau.

The purpose of CLA’s Economic Impact and Policy Committee (EIPC) is to assess the economic value of our area lakes to the community, and to identify and provide guidance on policy issues related to cleaning up the lakes.

The lake user survey, which is part of a larger effort by CLA and partners to assess the economic value of the Yahara lakes to our community, wrapped up on Labor Day. Nearly 30 trained volunteers and five part-time interns completed several hundred hours of surveying and 1,500 face-to-face interviews. Each of the 52 sites – boat landings, beaches, boating clubs, lakeside parks, and private access points across all five Yahara lakes– received multiple visits at various times of the day. All survey data have been compiled and are currently being analyzed, with a final report to be prepared later this fall.

In August, Dane County Board of Supervisors chair, Sharon Corrigan, attended the EIPC meeting to speak about the county budget process, explain water-related provisions in last year’s budget, and help us understand the role of relevant County committees and commissions and how their processes impact the water provisions in the budget.

In September, Nick Zavos, Governmental Relations Officer for the City of Madison, attended the EIPC meeting to discuss the City of Madison’s proposal to change the governance structure of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) through state legislation. Committee questions focused on how proposed changes might impact CLA’s clean lakes efforts. In October and November, we will host Dane County Executive Office’s Melissa Malott, and MMSD’s Director, Michael Mucha. After hearing from these three community partners, the EIPC will summarize information and offer a recommendation to the Community Board at a future meeting on whether and how the CLA should weigh in on the policy issue, based on relevance to and impact on our mission and goals.

In September, EIPC also discussed CLA’s partnership with Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy in efforts to pass a referendum in Middleton this fall that will create a stormwater utility. A stormwater utility will create this dedicated funding source to maintain the facilities in which the city has already invested. These storm sewers, stormwater detention ponds, infiltration basins and other pollution treatment practices require money and regular maintenance in order to be effective. A stormwater utility will provide reliable funds that will reduce phosphorus and sediment loading to our waterways, and thereby protecting and improving water quality in the Pheasant Branch Creek and Lake Mendota watersheds.

To learn more about the need for a stormwater utility or to donate to help fund efforts to pass the referendum, please visit: http://www.cleanlakesalliance.com/middleton/.

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NOMINATING COMMITTEE UPDATE

Executive board nomination & appointment process

The Nominating Committee is charged with soliciting and vetting candidates for the CLA Community Board and Executive Board of Directors, and has been working to develop processes for nomination and appointment. A thorough nominating process will ensure that we have broad community representation and a breadth of strengths on our boards. The committee has created an Executive Board nomination & appointment process, which was distributed and reviewed at the September 16th Community Board session. Vacancies on the Executive Board were announced, and community board members were invited to submit names for potential nominees for the vacant seats. Annually, Executive Board appointments will occur on a January schedule and Community Board appointments will occur on a May schedule. The committee will address the Community Board nomination & appointment process next.

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THANK YOU

Thank you for being a donor to the Clean Lakes Alliance. We value your contribution – big or small. Please know that thanks to your support we are able to protect and improve our lakes through phosphorus reduction projects and practices, engage the community through volunteer and educational opportunities, and advocate for common-sense policies that are good for our lakes. Thank you for your support – we hope to see you on the lakes!

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Waves in the Watershed :: Volume I, Issue 4

The 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. Through community support, advocacy and education, CLA is working to restore and protect the lakes for future generations. 

Waves in the Watershed, our e-newsletter for donors, is published every two months and details the progress that CLA is making toward our goal of reducing phosphorus in the Yahara watershed by 50% by 2025 and in engaging the community in our efforts. Our monthly Lake-O-Gram e-newsletter is sent to all 9,000+ individuals who have expressed an interest in CLA’s initiatives and events. The Lake-O-Gram is a brief digest that promotes upcoming events and volunteer opportunities and includes highlights of lake efforts in the watershed. 

Dr. Wu: “Floating Bog Interceptors in Cherokee Marsh”

Watch Dr. Wu’s Yahara Lakes 101 presentation about the use of Floating Bog Interceptors (FBIs) to protect Cherokee Marsh.

Floating Bog Interceptors are raft-like structures made of wood and coconut mat that were developed by Dr. Wu and his students. FBIs are an environmentally- and cost-friendly, aesthetically-pleasing alternative to traditional concrete breakwaters. Better yet, they can be hand-made directly by the communities that use them. In August, WKOW 27 featured Dane County’s use of FBIs in a short television segment, watch here: http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/%7Echinwu/Floating_bogs.mp4.

In his presentation, Dr. Wu first addressed the environmental challenges that the FBIs were designed to address, such as waves, wind, winter, and changing water levels. We greatly enjoyed the viewer-friendly animations that went along with these slides. Then, Dr. Wu presented how well the FBIs stood up to these challenges in the field, and shared results of the first two years of use.

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.

Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public that offers local residents a chance to learn more about the science behind lake issues. Each month we feature a different expert and invite community members to enjoy a presentation and Q&A over coffee and pastries with beautiful Lake Mendota as the backdrop.

Dr. Wu at Yahara Lakes 101