Waves in the Watershed – Volume I, Issue 1

witws 111Welcome to Waves in the Watershed, an in-depth newsletter for donors of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). Waves in the Watershed will come out every two months and will detail the progress that the 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.

Please note – the Lake-o-Gram will continue to be delivered to the inboxes of over 7000 individuals who have expressed a general interest in the CLA’s initiatives and events. The Lake-o-Gram is a brief digest that promotes upcoming events and volunteer opportunities and includes highlights and snapshots of what we’re working on. 

In Partnership,

The Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Team
Don Heilman, James Tye and Elizabeth Katt-Reinders

Watershed Engagement

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring ProgramDSC_0551

In mid-December, the CLA sent summaries of data collected between May and September of 2013 to the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program volunteers. The pilot year was a great success; we trained and equipped nine volunteer teams stationed on four lakes. These volunteers — along with the CLA team and WE Badger volunteers — collected and recorded data 276 times during the season. These included 23 phosphorus samples and 50 E. coli samples, three of which resulted in additional beach closures that would have otherwise gone undetected. The teams also recorded observations from the color of the water to the presence of weeds, wildlife, and swimmers.

The program is more than just an exercise in watershed engagement; the data plug into a central database where they are available for the use of regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Natural Resources.  The volunteer data provide an enhanced view of the water quality of our lakes and can help improve the quality of decisions made.

We were fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers for our pilot year. When asked, “What got you interested in being a citizen monitor?” one volunteer team wrote, “We are new to living on a lake. I was interested in the changes we see.” Another team wrote “We are interested in any projects that can help identify…ways to improve the lake quality.” Others simply expressed their excitement about the program and desire to support it through being a monitor. All responders replied that they would recommend the program to others.

To our volunteers and partners, including Public Health of Madison & Dane County, City of Madison Parks, the Friends of Clean Lakes and scientists Dr. Richard Lathrop and Jon Standridge who provided their time and expertise, and to our donors— thank you!


In 2013, 290 volunteers donated over 2800 hours to the CLA. Our Renew the Blue initiative, which includes water quality monitoring, trash pick ups along the lakeshore, clearing invasive species and planting native seeds, was especially popular. Lands’ End, Thermo Fisher, Spectrum Brands and American Family Insurance each participated by turning out large groups of employees to spend a work day for the lakes. To schedule a Renew the Blue volunteer day and participate in a meaningful cleanup and beautification project on the lakeshore, contact volunteer@cleanlakesalliance.com or call 608-255-1000.

Frozen Assets Volunteers needed

snowtrain 22Frozen Assets :: Snow Train is a cocktail party benefiting the Yahara Lakes by raising funds for the CLA and our endowment at the Madison Community Foundation. The event is produced by Friends of Clean Lakes, a volunteer auxiliary organization that supports the CLA. Frozen Assets will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 2014 at the downtown US Bank Building on the Capitol Square, East Washington Avenue entrance.

Tickets are available for purchase on our website.

We are still looking for additional volunteers for Frozen Assets to greet guests, check in guests and check coats, and to help facilitate our live auction and end of night wrap up. We will need six volunteers to help out from 4:45 p.m. – midnight and 19 volunteers for the 6:30 p.m. – midnight slot. A meeting will be held prior to the start of each time slot to go over duties. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided during the event.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact our Watershed Engagement Coordinator, Katie Van Gheem at volunteer@cleanlakesalliance.com with “Frozen Assets Volunteer” in the subject line. Please include the following first & last name, shirt size, email and phone number. Please also include the names of friends you will be volunteering with, if applicable. Please sign up to volunteer (and experience Frozen Assets :: Snow Train for free) by Friday, January 31, 2014.

Yahara Lakes 10111857724946_08d1f75c70_b

Since the inception of Yahara Lakes 101 in May of 2013, our science cafe series has brought in eight speakers and over 300 attendees. The audiences have engaged with topics from lawn care and urban phosphorus runoff to fish, aquatic plants and invasive species. The event is produced in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with Foley & Lardner LLP generously serving as hosting sponsor. Our expert presenters have hailed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the United States Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

On January 9th, 2014, Dr. John Magnuson’s presentation attracted one of the largest audiences to date, filling the Bluephies cafe at the Verex Plaza. He addressed the effects of climate change on Dane County lakes, including impacts on ice cover, fishes and water quality.YL101-logo-new

We learned that ice breakup now occurs two weeks earlier than in 1852, and that ice freeze now occurs about two weeks later than in 1853. That is 18 days shorter ice duration per 100 years. We also heard about the temperature preferences of fishes present in the Yahara lakes. Fish that have a cooler temperature preference face pressure from climate change; some are being sandwiched in between cooler depths that are low in oxygen, and water closer to the surface that provides oxygen but is too warm. We learned that the fish most likely to go extinct in our lifetimes from climate change and excess nutrients in Lake Mendota and Monona is the Cisco, or Lake Herring.

Dr. Magnuson also addressed the question, “How do we deal with change and variability as a community?” Events like snow kiting festivals, for example, are no longer being held in Madison since we cannot know in advance whether the date chosen can promise a frozen lake. Since winter is part of our sense of place, “loss of winter” impacts recreation and the economy.

If you have yet to attend a Yahara Lakes 101 presentation, please join us for Dennis Frame’s presentation on manure management and innovation in agriculture on February 13th. Meet and greet begins at 7:30 a.m. with the presentation at 8 a.m. in the Bluephies cafe at the Verex Plaza, 150 East Gilman Street. Please pre-register on the CLA’s website; admission to one event is $10 for the general public and free to all 2014 CLA donors. Coffee, pastries and fruit are provided.

Project Implementation

Fall Field Demonstration DaysDSC_0166

In late October, the CLA hosted its first annual Fall Field Demonstration Days with our agricultural affiliate organization, Yahara Pride Farms (YPF). The demonstrations, held in Waunakee and Springfield, brought together over 230 producers, implement dealers, government workers and other stakeholders. While the in-field demonstrations were the main purpose, the event was also a great chance for attendees to network and connect with each other through informal conversation.

The demonstrations showcased four main conservation practices: cover crops, strip tillage, vertical tillage and vertical manure injection. This fall alone, YPF members have used these practices on 2,955 acres of land, which has the potential to prevent nearly 1.5 million pounds of algae from growing our lakes. Given the positive response of demonstration attendees, we expect to see these numbers increase in coming seasons.

This event and others like it help the CLA advance its goal of cutting the Yahara watershed phosphorus load in half by 2025— thank you to all who helped make it a success.

National Wildlife Federation grant

Yahara Pride Farms Logo

In January of 2014, the National Wildlife Federation awarded the CLA a grant and recognized Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) as an outreach cover crop champion and YPF’s chair, Jeff Endres, as a farmer cover crop champion. The award targets local and regional cover crop leaders who can provide region-specific information and farming knowledge to farmers and crop advisors. It also gives YPF access to a network of agricultural professionals and outreach organizations in the Mississippi River Basin and provides resources for outreach efforts.

Not only do the grant and titles give YPF new resources to move forward, but they also provide recognition for what we have accomplished.  The grant recognizes the value of our efforts — cover crop cost share programs since 2011, collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Extension for the cover crop test plot, demonstration days, watershed-wide conferences, and other outreach events and endeavors. We are proud to call ourselves Cover Crop Champions!

Completion of Lake Kegonsa project


In fall of 2013, the CLA played a role in the completion of a major Lake Kegonsa project targeting storm water runoff.  Thanks to the involvement of partners including the Friends of Lake Kegonsa, Yahara Pride Farms, Dane County, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and the landowner, a major runoff problem was identified and quickly resolved. A strong farmer-to-farmer network was key to the speedy action of all partners, which means that the benefits to the community – improved water quality — were delivered with minimal delay. We hope to see this project serving as a model for similar projects in the future.

In the news

Did you see the January 8th cover story in the Capital Times? The CLA’s agricultural affiliate, Yahara Pride Farms, was featured in a story highlighting the phosphorus reduction efforts of YPF’s more than 80 members and their involvement in the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, and it raised the profile on Wisconsin’s innovative adaptive management practices. The hard work and dedication of everyone involved deserves this recognition; please take a moment to read the article online for a great introduction to the issue and highlights of YPF’s work.

We are also proud that the Wisconsin State Journal has included the lakes on its editorial agenda for 2012, 2013 and 2014, due in part to the attention the CLA has brought to the issue. Thank you to our local media for keeping the lakes in the spotlight!

Urban Efforts

The CLA’s Citizen Action Committee convened for the first time on May 8th, 2013. The committee exists to motivate and support citizens to take actions that protect and preserve water quality, in order to advance the goals outlined in the “Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction”.

The committee is currently working on initiatives to be implemented in 2014 in multiple neighborhoods across the watershed to address urban phosphorus reduction. The initiatives will include partnerships throughout the community to address leaf management and storm water control, as well as erosion on residential and commercial properties. Stay tuned for more updates in future issues of Waves in the Watershed.



Earlier this month, the CLA responded to concerns and questions about spills at the Waunakee manure biodigester and potential impacts on the lakes. Please visit our website to read our response and other position statements on policy issues impacting the Yahara watershed.

Legislative update

New legislation has been recently introduced to the state legislature regarding phosphorus reduction compliance in Wisconsin. The CLA has been working with stakeholders and lawmakers to address our concerns for impacts on the Yahara watershed, and we will keep you updated with any progress or updates on this legislation. Please contact the CLA’s Policy & Communications Director Elizabeth Katt-Reinders with any questions.

Welcome to new Community Board Members

This January, five new board members were selected for the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board, further strengthening and diversifying the board. We are pleased to welcome Lauren Azar, Fred Klancnik, Paul Robbins, Eric Schmidt and Robert Weber, and to feature their biographies, photos, and of course their favorite thing about our lakes below.



Until early September 2013, Lauren Azar served as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the United States Department of Energy (DOE).  After the DOE, Azar opened her own law firm, Azar Law LLC, where she is providing a variety of services including business, regulatory and policy advice as well as traditional legal services.

Serving as the DOE Secretary’s Senior Advisor from 2011 to 2013, Azar worked closely with and advised the Secretary on the electric industry and on the institutional barriers to developing the Nation’s electric infrastructure. Among other things, Azar co-led the negotiations among nine federal agencies to overhaul their evaluation of transmission projects of regional and national significance. She represented the DOE in President Obama’s initiative to streamline federal permitting. Azar regularly engaged with state public utility commissioners on issues of mutual interest.

From 2007-2011, Azar was a Commissioner at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW). As a Commissioner, she regulated the electric, natural gas, telecom and water industries in Wisconsin. As the first President and co-founder of the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council, Azar organized the states and Canadian provinces east of the Rockies and obtained a $14 million grant for the Council to jointly spearhead the planning efforts over the entire Eastern Transmission Interconnection. In 2009, Azar served as President of the Organization of MISO states a non-profit organization of representatives from each state that is included in the Midwest Independent System Operator.

Prior to her appointment to the PSCW, Azar was a partner in a corporate law firm where she practiced for 13 years in the area of electric and water utilities, representing both ratepayers and utilities.  While representing utilities, among other things, Azar helped to create the nation’s first stand-alone transmission company, to site a 210-mile extra-high voltage line in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and to purchase a nuclear power plant. She also practiced environmental law focusing on water law and contaminated properties.

Azar speaks throughout the nation on the issue of electric infrastructure development. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2007 in the area of energy law. As a Commissioner, Azar led the development of and co-authored Harnessing Wisconsin’s Energy Resources: an Initial Investigation into Great Lakes Wind Development. She co-edited and co-authored the Wisconsin Environmental Law Handbook, Fourth Edition, July 2007. She has authored several articles for the National Business Institute.

Azar received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers College and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Northwestern University. She also has a Master of Science in Water Resources Management and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Klancnik_Corporate 2013Fred Klancnik is the Founder and Principal Engineer of Capstone Engineering Design, LLC providing advisory, planning and preliminary engineering design services to clients on land and waterfront development projects. He is currently serving as a senior advisor and technical consultant on the Hoakalei Resort development, a 700-acre mixed-use community located just west of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Klancnik is also an Adjunct Professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, serving as a lecturer for the coastal engineering course, participating on research projects and mentoring a senior capstone project focused on the rehabilitation of a 100 acre lake on the grounds of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Soring Green, Wisconsin.  He has also served as a course instructor at the UW Department of Engineering Professional Development this past year, leading a one-day Marina Design Course and lecturing on master planning waterfronts along our nation’s rivers and lakes for a Shoreline Protection Course.  He will be leading a one-day Marina Design Course at the international Marina and Boatyard Conference in Fort Lauderdale at the end of January and will speak on the subject of harbor revitalization at the World Marina Conference in Istanbul in June, 2014.

Klancnik began working as a Principal Engineer with JJR and SmithGroup, Inc. in December of 1985 and was elected President of JJR in 1999. As JJR’s first Civil Engineer, he worked closely with his partners in achieving significant growth as an inter-disciplinary firm and received national recognition for integrated design and engineering excellence. Prior to joining JJR in 1986, Klancnik was the Chief Civil Engineer and Director of Project Management of Warzyn Engineering, Inc., a 200-person consulting engineering firm located in Madison, Wisconsin.

What’s the best thing about our area lakes?

“I love both the long view of the sunrise over Lake Mendota from our deck (Middleton Hills) and watching all of the water recreational activities while walking along the UW Lakeshore Path and the Downtown Lake Monona shoreline path from Law Park to Olin Park.”


Robbins_Paul_hs12_3981Dr. Paul Robbins is the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he guides the institute in serving as a world leader in addressing rapid global environmental change. He has a depth of research experience in environmental policy and issues and leads current Nelson research and outreach efforts in Yahara lakes water quality.

Dr. Robbins has years of experience as a researcher and educator, specializing in human interactions with nature and the politics of natural resource management. His research addresses questions spanning conservation conflicts, urban ecology, and environment and health interactions. He has done extensive fieldwork in rural India, where he has focused his work on the politics surrounding forestry and wildlife conservation in Rajasthan, India, as well as recent research examining the wealth of biodiversity (frogs, birds and mammals) in commercial coffee and rubber plantations throughout south India.

Dr. Robbins has also led national studies of consumer chemical risk behaviors in America, including research on the abiding passion of Americans for their lawns and mosquito management policies in the Southwest. He is author of the foundational textbook Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction and numerous research articles in publications that address conservation science, social science, and the humanities. His book Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are is recognized as one of the most accessible books on the environmental politics of daily life.

Dr. Robbins previously led the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona, which he helped establish and served for two years as director. A University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, he also holds a master’s degree and doctorate in geography, both from Clark University. He was raised in Denver, Colorado.

What’s the best thing about our area lakes?

“As a UW alum, who lived away for decades, it was surely the lakes that brought me back. Watching a pack of coyotes traversing the lake ice, just before dawn the other morning, to hunt rabbits in my yard, I was struck with how much I love the way the lake is ever-changing, from day-to-day and season-to-season. The light changes every time I look, along with the seasonal denizens. But what’s the BEST thing about our area lakes? That they are the PEOPLE’S lakes. Ice fishers, paddlers, luxury boats, inflatable rafts, Hoofers, brave-if-foolhardy swimmers, students, skaters, researchers, Hmong fishermen… coyotes. These lakes are so much more Everyone’s than any of the lakes I know around the country and the world. And to have them be the people’s lakes here, in the heart of a bustling city, an urban center, that’s all the more special. I love these lakes.”


Schmidt, Eric

Eric Schmidt, M.B.A., is an Owner and Managing Director of CG Schmidt.  He is the youngest of 10 children, and has been involved with the family business since 1991 where he worked as a laborer on construction crews.  He has continued to move up through the company, managing their toughest projects ranging from the world-renowned Milwaukee Art Museum to $100 Million Hospital Campus Master Plans.  In 2011, Schmidt moved to Madison area to manage the company’s local operations, and to lead CG Schmidt’s Geographic Expansion Initiative.

Schmidt holds a Bachelors of Science, Construction Administration degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He has served on University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee EMBA Board of Directors, he is an advisor to the Board at Marquette University High School, and is a Trustee for the Madison Country Day School.

Schmidt lives in Madison with his wife Karie, a Nurse Practitioner at UW Clinics, and his two children Madelyn (5 years old) and Zachary (8 months old).

What’s the best thing about our area lakes?

“The best thing about our area lakes is that we have them! They are a defining characteristic of our greater Madison Community and Dane County. Many metropolitan areas struggle to create a lasting identity. Madison is blessed in that we have these incredible geographic features that allows us to recreate and enjoy their beauty all year round! Not to mention the economic and environmental advantages that they bring to us. I cannot think of Madison without immediately thinking about our lakes.”



Robert Weber began his real estate career just out of college in 1983. Weber Realty was operated by his brother Tom. Due to Tom’s illness Robert was abruptly thrown into management and he’s never looked back. He was named president of Weber Realty in 1990. In 1996 Weber Realty and First Realty Group merged to create First Weber Group and Weber has served as president since.

Although Weber’s initial interest in real estate was driven by the uniqueness of the product, he has stayed because of the people. In his role he has been a coach and mentor to hundreds of agents throughout Wisconsin. He loves seeing the spirit and passion of a Realtor when meeting challenges relating to real estate transactions.

Weber is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, with a Business Administration Degree. He also earned the Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager designation. In addition to serving of various local boards over the years, he was named Chairman of the Board for the Wisconsin Realtors Association in 2002-2003.

Weber is a founding Director and Treasurer of the First Weber Group Charitable Foundation and for 25 years he has served as a VIP for Easter Seals of Wisconsin where he was named “Outstanding Fundraiser” for his years of service.

He married his high school sweetheart, Mary, and they live in Oregon, Wisconsin. They have two sons, Bradley and Alex.

What’s the best thing about our area lakes?

“Our lakes are the centerpiece of the greater Madison area. Beauty, recreation, and a lasting image make these jewels memorable and invaluable to the lifelong resident and the newcomer alike. The fact that they are unique is what I like the best about them.”

In the Community

The City of Madison’s Planning Division is hosting a meeting this Thursday, January 30th at 6:30pm to continue the discussion regarding the Yahara River Corridor. The purpose of the meeting will be to review the community input from the September meeting and further explore implementation of previous planning efforts. It will be held at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa Street.

This event is a great opportunity to get more involved with the Yahara lakes and meet others who are working to protect the lakes.

Dr. John Magnuson to address climate change impacts on Yahara lakes


Monday, Dec. 30, 2013
James Tye, Co-founder/Vice President
Clean Lakes Alliance
150 East Gilman St Suite 2600
Madison, WI 53703
P 608-255-1000, M 608-628-6655

Dr. John Magnuson to address climate change impacts on Yahara lakes in Jan. 9 talk

MADISON, Wis.— The Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) announces a guest presentation by John J. Magnuson, Emeritus Professor of Zoology and former Director of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He will be presenting “Climate Change and the Yahara Lakes” at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, as part of the CLA’s Yahara Lakes 101 (YL101) science café series at Bluephies Café in the Verex Plaza.

Dr. Magnuson will paint a clear picture of the variability that Madison lakes face by discussing climate change and lake ice seasonality. He will highlight how climate change affects the Yahara watershed’s fish species, lake water quality and how well our lakes can adapt to the changes. This talk will interest those who have heard about decreases in average lake ice duration, and are wondering what other impacts warming has on the quality of the Madison lakes.

Dr. Magnuson played a lead role in the lakes and streams portions of the 1995 and 2001 assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and in 2005 published “Long-Term Dynamics of Lakes in the Landscape” based on twenty years of ecological research on north temperate lakes. He is also a former co-chair of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts.

YL101 is a monthly educational series open to the public. The events provide an opportunity for residents of the Yahara watershed to get involved with the lakes by learning more about the science behind the issues. All presentations are co-produced by CLA and UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with hosting sponsorship by Foley & Lardner, LLC. YL101 is held at Bluephies Café in the Verex Plaza, 150 E. Gilman St., Lower Level B, with coffee, fruit and pastries provided. Admission is $10 per event and free for Friends of Clean Lakes. The meet-and-greet starts at 7:30 a.m., the program begins at 8 a.m. and the event concludes at 9 a.m. with an additional 30 minutes for informal questions and networking. Registration for each event is required online at www.cleanlakesalliance.com.

Become a Friend of Clean Lakes at a minimum $35 donation per year and receive free admission to all YL101 events. The CLA is a not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the water quality of the lakes, streams, and wetlands of the Yahara River watershed.


Rain, Leaves and Lakes Don’t Mix

leaves6 part b

Keep leaves out of the streets!

What do leaves in the streets have to do with algae in the lakes? Rainfall and stormwater that run through streets and gutters leach phosphorus from fallen leaves and carry the nutrient-rich “tea” down the storm drains and straight to the lakes. Phosphorus is the nutrient that drives algae growth; so let’s do our part to stop leaf litter leaching!

storm draining stamp leaves

 What you can do: 

  1. Mulch fallen leaves into your lawn with a lawnmower.

  2. Gather fallen leaves out of the street and storm drains and onto the terrace.

  3. Check your municipality’s website for leaf pick-up dates and time your raking to minimize leaves’ time on the curb.

This fall, we can all do our part to reduce urban phosphorus runoff to our treasured lakes. Through the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Plan for Phosphorus Reduction, our community has set the goal of reducing 4100 pounds of phosphorus loading through urban leaf management.  With one pound of phosphorus producing 500 pounds of algae, those reductions could have a huge impact on our lakes.

Remember – leaves off the street means less algae in the lakes.

Yahara Lakes 101: Leaves and Lakes  
Please join us next Thursday, November 14th for Yahara Lakes 101 featuring Bill Selbig of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) presenting “Leaves and Lakes: Urban Phosphorus Runoff”. The USGS and city of Madison are currently in the midst of a research study to determine whether changes in leaf management practices — such as leaf collection and street sweeping — can reduce the impacts of urban phosphorus loading to our lakes. Join us Thursday morning to learn more.

Numerous studies have identified that organic detritus and particulate matter, such as fallen and decaying leaves, can act as a major source of the nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen — especially in urban areas with dense overhead tree canopy. The primary objective of the USGS/Madison project is to quantify changes in phosphorus and nitrogen 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.

We hope to see you Thursday morning for education and discussion on lakes and leaves!

DATE: Thursday, November 14, 2014

7:30 a.m. – Coffee & Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – Presentation
9:00 a.m. – Q&A

LOCATION:  Bluephies’ Cafe on Level B at Verex Building 150 East Gilman St. Madison, WI 53703

Fore more information and to register for the event please visit the Yahara Lakes 101 Page.


Lake-O-Gram Vol. III Issue 6



The seasons are changing, and so is the focus of the Clean Lakes Alliance! For our first two and half years as an organization, we have focused on building an alliance of community partners and strategically planning and prioritizing the work of lake improvement and protection. Three years in, we are now transitioning from the planning phase to implementation and community engagement.

While we continue to expand our educational and fundraising events, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, collaborating with our partners at the County, the University, the farming community, and many others across the watershed to lay the foundation for practices and projects that will reduce phosphorus loading to the lakes. We will continue to move these projects forward and share the good news as progress unfolds.

Please visit our website to view our 2012 Annual Report, which features details on the progress we’ve made and what lies ahead in the year to come. Read on below for this month’s updates.


Citizen Water Monitoring Pilot Program
Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament 
Yahara Pride Farms Updates
Yahara Lakes 101
Frozen Assets
Oktoberfest with Yelp’s on Tap 

header monitoring

citizen-water-monitoring-1This Labor Day weekend, Clean Lakes Alliance wrapped up a summer of testing the waters in our pilot Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Project. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, CLA interns stepped out of the office five days a week and headed down to James Madison Park Beach where they waded into Lake Mendota to observe water clarity, temperature and take a water sample for E.coli testing.

Phosphorus tests were sampled once a month. CLA samples contributed data to the once-a-week testing done by the city of Madison, providing information that led to three additional beach closings this summer, suggesting that more frequent monitoring could protect public health and get more residents to the beach on good days by ensuring that water quality statuses are up to date. Plans for 2014 include expanding the beach monitoring project to more beaches on the Yahara lakes.

Citizen Monitors on Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa continued to sample for water temperature, clarity and monthly phosphorus concentrations throughout the month of September. We want to offer our thanks to those volunteers who worked with us to launch the pilot from their own piers. Stay tuned for results and findings of our summer of sampling in the next few months!

fore lakes banner
It was a great turnout last Friday, September 20th
 at the Friends of Clean Lakes inaugural Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament! We want to thank everyone who came out – it was a huge success and we could not have done it without you. A special thanks to our sponsors and prize donors for your financial support and for making the tournament fun and successful.

Eighty-six golfers competed against one another in hopes of becoming the Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament champions. Team Johnson Bank rose to the top winning the tournament as well as bringing home the trophy and champion jackets. We are excited to have met new faces and
looking forward 
to continuing these partnerships for future events to come.fore-lakes-golfers-2

The Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament brought in a net profit of over $20,000 that will go towards the Clean Lakes Alliance’s current and future projects to continue improving water quality in the Yahara watershed.

Blackhawk Country Club was the perfect host for this lake friendly event due to its commitment to sustainable practices and reducing stormwater runoff into Lake Mendota. Blackhawk did an amazing job assisting attendees and staff.

Huge thanks are due to all the volunteers’ involvement and time invested in this event. We could not have asked for better partners.2013-09-26_fb-photo-post-event-thank-you_1

We’re already looking forward to next year and hope to see you at our second annual Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament!

yahara pride farms updates

The CLA rural action component – is making its presence felt in the watershed with the roll-out of two significant initiatives.

Farm Certification Programyahara pride farms 2
With the hiring of two farm resources managers — Dennis Frame of UW Discovery Farms and Joe Connors, a retired agronomist — the organization has taken a dramatic step to build relationships and work directly with farm producers to identify the best conservation practices on a field-by-field basis. 

As each farm is analyzed for field, nutrient, and facility management, a Certification Checklist is completed and suggestions are documented for further review. The purpose is to raise awareness and provide guidance to help our great conservation-minded farmers take a look at their own operation through a different and friendly set of eyes.
The goal is to have 20 farms certified by year-end.

New Technologies in Field Preparationyahara pride farms 3
This fall, farm producers in the Yahara Watershed will be testing and implementing new techniques in agriculture, thanks to the support of organizations such as Yahara WINs, a community coalition that is working to reduce phosphorus through a unique approach called Adaptive Management that involves spending money in the most cost-effective way for the overall environment. Other sponsors include The Soybean Association, Pioneer Seed, and local dealers Carl F Statz and Kalscheur Implement. 

New techniques include:

  • Strip tillage machines to reduce runoff and increase soil-holding residue.
  • Vertical Manure Injection – to apply manure under the surface with minimal soil disturbance and lower risk of runoff.
  • Cover Crops – 2375 acres will be planted this fall to help keep soil and water in its place during the crucial winter and spring runoff periods. 

Tremendous Impact
It is estimated that each of these practices will reduce phosphorus runoff to our lakes at the rate of one pound per acre. With nearly 3000 acres protected by one of these techniques, and an estimated 500 pounds of algae produced from each pound of phosphorus, these practices have the potential to eliminate over 1.5 million pounds of algae growth. Holy Cow!


CLA’s Citizen Monitoring lead, retired microbiologist Jon Standridge, presented on the pilot program at September’s Yahara Lakes 101, teaching attendees about water-borne illnesses, public health, and water quality. He shared preliminary results from this summer’s sampling, and thanked our pilot project citizen volunteers for testing the waters. 


Please mark your calendars for the October 10th Yahara Lakes 101. As the leaves begin to turn colors, let’s turn our attention to residential leaf management. Bill Selbig of the United States Geological Survey will be our October speaker, sharing an update on the on-going leaf management study and teaching attendees about the water quality impacts of phosphorus leaching out of fallen leaves. 

For more information and to register -


The 3rd Annual Frozen Assets is just around the corner, 130 days, 12 hours and counting! 


Tickets will go on sale FIRST to Friends of Clean Lakes’ 2013 Donors. You can be a friend/donor for as little as $35- CLICK HERE

 Don’t be left out in the cold for a ticket…


Oktoberfest is coming up, and starting on October 1st, Yelp! is joining
theyelpredale Clean Lakes Alliance in raising money towards improving water quality in the Yahara watershed.

Yelp! will be promoting its first ever Yelp! Beer: Yelp! Bursting Red Ale. Pints of Yelp’s Bursting Red Ale will cost $5 five dollars a piece at the twelve locations participating in the Madison area. For every pint purchased, businesses are donating $1 to Clean Lakes Alliance.

header schedule

Yahara Lakes 101 – 2013
October 10, 2013
November 14, 2013
December 12, 2013

Mendota Freeze Contest
December 1, 2013

Yahara Lakes 101 – 2014
Second Thursday every month

Frozen Assets 2014
February 8, 2014

World Water Week
March 21 – March 28, 2014

Save Our Lakes Breakfast
April 25, 2014

Crazy 4 Lakes Run/Walk Team
(part of CrazyLegs Run/Walk)
April 27, 2014

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring
Memorial Day – Labor Day

Paddle & Portage
July 19, 2014

Loop the Lake
July 26, 2014

Clean Lakes Festival
July 26, 2014

July 27, 2014

Madison Area Antique & Classic Boat Show
August 1 – August 2, 2014


header contact

Don Heilman
, President, don@cleanlakesalliance.com

James Tye, Vice President, james@cleanlakesalliance.com

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Policy & Program Director, elizabeth@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rachel Fossum, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rachel@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rebecca Krumholz, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rebecca@cleanlakesalliance.com


Lake-O-Gram Vol. III Issue 5




612699 is the grand prize winner of the raffle for Loop the Lake participants.  See below for details.

Even though it was one of the coldest summer days on record, we had a huge crowd at the Clean Lakes Festival this past Saturday! We want to extend a big thank you to all who attended the Festival and our Loop the Lake ride. 


DSC_0562-webWe had a great turnout for our inaugural community bike ride, Loop the Lake, around Lake Monona with over 150 riders crossing the finish line. Along the ride, participants learned about local lake ecology and tried their hands at citizen water quality monitoring while staying hydrated.




The lucky winners of the raffle are numbers:
612699 - Trek 7.3 FX bike
613336 - Bike equipment bag from Budget Bicycle
612698 - Bike equipment bag from Budget Bicycle

You can pick up your prizes at the Clean Lakes Alliance office at 150 East Gilman St. Madison, WI 53703
Please call to arrange a time — 608-255-1000


Special thanks are due to our generous sponsors and tireless volunteers. Thank you for all your support!


Presented By:


Sponsored By:


 In Partnership With:   



header yl101 big

Mikulyuk photo

We had a full house for our July program of Yahara Lakes 101 with UW Center for Limnology research scientist Ted Bier who taught attendees how to identify the variety of fish species inhabiting the lakes and how their abundance has changed over time.

Be sure to mark your calendar for our August 8th program where we’ll hear research scientist Alison Mikulyuk from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and UW Madison Center for Limnology, who will be teaching us about aquatic plant communities in the Yahara lakes with a collection of local live specimens. “They’re Not Weeds!” will teach you the difference between the native and invasive plants, so if you have any identification questions, please bring in your specimens!

For your reading enjoyment, check out this great blog post and photos by the UW Center of Limnology to get you intrigued and excited about next Thursday’s Yahara Lakes 101 at the Clean Lakes Alliance.

Please register for the event on the CLA website.



Monthly Sponsor


header events

Madison Area Antique & Classic Boat Show


When: Saturday, August 3rd, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Christy’s Landing, Lake Waubesa








fore lakesA copy no bg



When: Friday, September 20th, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Blackhawk Country Club, Madison, WI



Boat and PWC Volunteers Needed for this Year’s Ironman Wisconsin


When: Sunday September 8th, 5:30am to 10am

Where: Lake Monona (Law Park)

Ironman is looking for boat and personal watercraft volunteers.  Mention that you are volunteering on behalf of Clean Lakes Alliance if you are signing up.

Register Online At
Follow the links for Volunteers



stampingOur WE Badger Volunteers went around the isthmus this past month putting stamps on storm drains that say: “No Dumping, Drains to Lake.”

These stamps will help raise awareness for the impact of urban areas on our lakes. Special thanks to the Dane County UW-Extension Office for providing the materials.




Happy Summer – we’ll see you on the lakes!

The CLA Team


header schedule

Madison Area Antique & Classic Boat Show - Aug 3, Christy’s Landing

Yahara Lakes 101 - Aug 8, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Science Thursdays at Wingra Boats - June-Aug, every Thursday, Wingra Boats

Ironman Wisconsin - Sept 8, 5:30-10am, Lake Monona

Yahara Lakes 101 - Sept 12, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Fore! Lakes - Sept 20, Blackhawk Country Club

Yahara Lakes 101 - Oct 10, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio


header contact

Don Heilman, President, don@cleanlakesalliance.com

James Tye, Vice President, james@cleanlakesalliance.com

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Policy & Program Director, elizabeth@cleanlakesalliance.com

* Interns *

Rachel Fossum, Program & Outreach Coordinator: Yahara Pride Farms, rachel@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rebecca Krumholz, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rebecca@cleanlakesalliance.com

Lake-O-Gram Vol. III Issue 4




closeup-v2Did you see these two paddle boarders on Lake Mendota this week?

Summer’s off to a big start.  We’ve had a lot of rain recently.  If you want more information on lake levels, click here.

Our pilot programs in beach and citizen water quality monitoring continue to be successful.  We are testing James Madison Beach Monday through Friday and we have citizen volunteers testing on the four major lakes.  If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact us.

Mendota-appFor you app-lovers out there, we suggest you get the free Lake Mendota Buoy app.  It provides live data on wind speed and direction, water temperature, and other factors to consider when going out on the lakes.  Available for iPhone and Android.

The Yahara Pride Farms certification program also continues to move forward.  We are out on the farms working to prevent runoff to our lakes.

This Lake-O-Gram focuses on ways for you to get out on the lakes this summer.


header content


Yahara Lakes 101

Upcoming Events

Screening for Trash & Sediment in the Arboretum – from City of Madison Engineering newsletter

header yl101 big

Ted Bier_101 copy

We packed the house for our June program of Yahara Lakes 101 with Dr. Jake Vander Zanden speaking to us about spiny water fleas and zebra mussels, and how these invasive species may impact water clarity and algae growth in the Yahara Lakes. Be sure to mark your calendar for our July 11th program where we’ll hear from UW Center for Limnology research scientist Ted Bier teaching us how to identify the variety of fish species inhabiting the lakes and how their abundance has changed over time. Click here to register.

We have a line-up of stellar scientists scheduled well into the fall to speak to us all about the science behind the issues that affect our beloved lakes. Come for a coffee and light breakfast on the beautiful lake patio here at the Verex Plaza, and learn about your lakes with Mendota as our backdrop.

The details:

• Yahara Lakes 101 – the science of the lakes made interesting and accessible through presentations and Q&A with local experts

• Second Thursdays of the month: June 13, July 11, Aug 8, Sep 12, Oct 10

• Doors open at 7:30am in Bluephie’s café and the lake patio on the lower level of the Verex Plaza, home to CLA offices. Program begins at 8:00am and class is dismissed by 9:00am. Feel free to stay for another half hour of informal networking and Q&A

• Register online here

See our website for the full program schedule.

Admission is free for Friends of Clean Lakes and $10 for the public. If you are not yet a Friend, become one today for a minimum gift of $35.

Please register for the event on the CLA website.



header events



Paddle & Portage







When: Saturday, July 20, 9:00am

Where: James Madison Park

Registration: Advance – $40 now through 11:59pm Wed, July 17

Day of – $50, begins at 7:00am Sat, July 20

Register online here

Isthmus hosts hundreds of paddlers from across the country as they descend on Madison for the 34th annual canoe race.

This quirky challenge features a canoe race in Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, and a portage across the Capitol Square. Watch for crazy costumes, paddling fanatics, and fun family teams to set oar. Party in the park after!

A portion of the proceeds benefits CLA.


Loop the Lake

Loop the Lake circle logo nobg no subtitleWhen: Saturday, July 27, 10:00am

Where: Start and end at Law Park, ride clockwise around Lake Monona

Registration: $35 for single rider

$55 for family (2 adults & up to 3 kids ages 10-17)

- $10 per extra child

- Kids ages 10 & under are free

Register online here

Loop the Lake is a recreational bike ride around Lake Monona. Along the ride, there will be four educational checkpoints offering a quick lesson about lake ecology, history, bike safety, as well as a beverage station.  The ride will end at Law Park where the Clean Lakes Festival is holding festivities. By participating in the ride, riders will receive a free beverage and sandwich at the CLF, and a Loop the Lake t-shirt.

The honorary co-chairs of the event are Mayor of Madison Paul Soglin and Mayor of Monona Bob Miller. CLA is partnering with Saris, Schwinn, Trek Bicycle, Budget Bicycle, and Lands’ End to produce the event.


Clean Lakes Festival


When: Saturday, July 27, 9:00am – 9:00pm

Where: Law Park, next to Monona Terrace

Registration: Only required for Heritage Boat Tour ($10) - Register here

The Clean Lakes Festival is a celebration with a cause. The festival offers a full day, jam-packed with activities in and on the shore of Lake Monona, all for the purpose of raising money to improve the quality of the lakes in Dane County. There are activities for all ages including, but not limited to: kayaks and canoe rides, log rolling, children’s activities, live music and food and drinks.

See full schedule of activities










When: Sunday, July 28, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Where: Picnic Point, Lake Mendota

Registration: Register online here

SkipperBud’s will be again be hosting this great party at Picnic Point.  Live music will be playing and
summertime will be in full swing.  Come early to get a good spot for your boat!


Boat and PWC Volunteers Needed for this Year’s Ironman Wisconsin


Sunday September 8, 2013 Lake Monona (Law Park)- 5:30am to 10am

Motorboat and Personal Water Craft Volunteers are needed to assist the swim safety team. You will be stationed along the swim course to serve as directional guides for athletes and for safety purposes. A lifeguard will be assigned to your boat. If an athlete is in need of assistance/rescue, the motor boat volunteer will deliver the lifeguard to the location, and transport the athlete back to medical staff awaiting on shore.

Attendance required at one of two training /coordination meetings, held at Monona Terrace on Thursday September 5th 5:45 pm – 7:15 pm or Saturday September 7th 8:15 am – 9:45 am.

Mention that you are volunteering on behalf of Clean Lakes Alliance if you are signing up.

For Questions: Motor Boat Captain email imwiboat@gmail.com or 608.770.4253

Register Online At
Follow the links for Volunteers


Monona’s 2013 Follow the Stormwater – Paddle Event

Follow-the-Stormwater-Paddle-PosterCome take a behind the scenes look at stormwater management in Monona. Paddle your way along Lake Monona while seeing the health of our lakes. The Paddle Event will start in Inter Lake of the Yahara River and continue along the lake through Squaw Bay and back.

When: Thursday, July 25th; Rain date August 1st

Where: Rutabaga 220 West Broadway, Monona, WI

Who:    All ages- kids under 10 to paddle in a boat with parent(s).

Time:    5:00pm arrival and unload

5:30-7:30 paddle

Cost:     $5.00 for participation with own boat

$15.00 per boat for rentals- tandem kayak, solo kayak, canoe (max 3 people in a canoe)


Call:  608-222-4167

Online: http://tinyurl.com/stormwaterpaddle

*PFDs must be worn at all times.
*Participants must sign a Rutabaga Waiver of Liability.



This article appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of Madison Water Ways, the quarterly newsletter of City of Madison Engineering.

SWUNewsletterSummer2013-3As part of the renovation/rebuilding of Arboretum Pond 3 (behind Steinhafels and Culver’s at the Beltline Highway and Todd Drive), which is jointly funded by the City of Madison and the UW, Engineering staff designed a screened debris and sediment capture device to treat stormwater prior to entering the pond. This structure has been completed and the final restoration of the pond project should be completed by June 2013.

As designed, this treatment system is the second largest of its kind in the United States and will treat all runoff from the 100-year storm event, ap- proximately 350 cubic feet per second (157,500 gallons per minute). For comparison, a large garden hose puts out about 40 gallons per minute. This device is an extension of a catchbasin screen design that Engineering has been installing at outfalls with trash problems for approximately four years (which has been very successful).

A typical stormwater pond would normally require maintenance dredging approximately every five years (a $25,000 cost) to remove material caught at the pipe outfalls, with a full rebuild in 30 years (over $300,000). The material that is trapped in this device will be removed at least twice per year by Engineering Operations Staff with our vactor equipment. We anticipate this device, which has a holding capacity of 40 cubic yards or four large dump trucks, to reduce the need for maintenance dredging and to extend the design life of the pond by at least 10-15 years.


Happy Summer – we’ll see you on the lakes!

The CLA Team


header schedule

Yahara Lakes 101 - July 11, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Paddle & Portage Canoe Race – July 20, James Madison Park, Across Isthmus, Olin Park

Follow the Stormwater Paddle EventJuly 25, 5-7:30pm, Rutabaga

Loop the Lake – July 27, Around Lake Monona

Clean Lakes Festival – July 27, Law Park

AquaPalooza – July 28, Picnic Point Bay, Lake Mendota

Madison Area Antique & Classic Boat Show – Aug 2, Multi-lake boat parade; Aug 3, Christy’s Landing

Yahara Lakes 101 - Aug 8, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Science Thursdays at Wingra Boats – June-Aug, every Thursday, Wingra Boats

Ironman WisconsinSept 8, 5:30-10am, Lake Monona

Yahara Lakes 101 - Sept 12, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Fore! Lakes – Sept 20, Blackhawk Country Club

Yahara Lakes 101 - Oct 10, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio


header contact

Don Heilman, President, don@cleanlakesalliance.com

James Tye, Vice President, james@cleanlakesalliance.com

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Policy & Program Director, elizabeth@cleanlakesalliance.com

* Interns *

Ted Barthell, Media & Marketing Manager, ted@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rachel Fossum, Program & Outreach Coordinator: Yahara Pride Farms, rachel@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rebecca Krumholz, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rebecca@cleanlakesalliance.com

Lake-O-Gram Vol. III Issue 3


Happy Start-of-Summer from the Clean Lakes Alliance! We are geared up and ready for a busy summer packed full with opportunities for you to engage with the lakes and the CLA.


header content

Yahara Lakes 101

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Pilot Program

Renew the Blue Volunteer Days

More Cow Power = Cleaner Lakes

Volunteer of the Year

CLA’s New Policy & Program Director

Upcoming Events


header yl101 big


Last month, Clean Lakes Alliance kicked off our brand new Yahara Lakes 101 speaker series with a fantastic program on the relationship between lawn care and water quality by UW Madison Department of Soil Science professor, Dr. Doug Soldat. Our kickoff event was a great success with a full house and an abundance of positive feedback, and we thank our Monthly Sponsor Weed Man Lawn Care. We have a line-up of stellar scientists scheduled well into the fall to speak to us all about the science behind the issues that affect our beloved lakes. Come for a coffee and light breakfast on the beautiful lake patio here at the Verex Plaza, and learn about your lakes with Mendota as our backdrop.

The details:

  • Yahara Lakes 101 – the science of the lakes made interesting and accessible through presentations and Q&A with local experts
  • Second Thursdays of the month: June 13, July 11, Aug 8, Sep 12, Oct 10
  • Doors open at 7:30am in Bluephie’s café and the lake patio on the lower level of the Verex Plaza, home to CLA offices. Program begins at 8:00am and class is dismissed by 9:00am. Feel free to stay for another half hour of informal networking and Q&A
  • Register online HERE

Our June 13th speaker will be Dr. Jake Vander Zanden, professor from UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology who will teach us all about invasive species in the Yahara lakes and the impacts they may be having on the aquatic food web. On July 11th, come hear research scientist Ted Bier teach us how to identify the myriad fish species that inhabit the Yahara lakes and how populations have shifted over the last decade. See our website for the full program schedule.

Admission is free for Friends of Clean Lakes and $10 for the public. If you are not yet a Friend, become one today for a minimum gift of $35. Please register for the event on the CLA website.



header monitoring

This spring, as part of our Renew the Blue campaign funded generously by the CUNA Mutual Foundation and Alliant Energy Foundation, Clean Lakes Alliance launched the pilot project for our new Citizen Water Quality Monitoring program. As part of our Renew the Blue community engagement efforts, citizen monitors will be trained to test the Yahara lakes and beaches for water clarity, bacteria and phosphorous.

testingIn partnership with government agencies, University of Wisconsin researchers and water quality advocacy groups, CLA drafted a plan to train volunteers and coordinate frequent monitoring of near shore water clarity, water temperature and conditions, and sampling for E. coli and phosphorus concentrations. These data will supplement the sampling conducted by the state and other entities with the goal of creating a richer data set to be used in research on blue-green algal blooms and more accurate beach monitoring.

CLA designed the monitoring program under the leadership of Friends of Clean Lakes Board member Jon Standridge, a retired water research scientist at the University of Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Standridge conducts the training of CLA staff and all volunteer citizen monitors. For the pilot project, CLA staff has adopted the beach at James Madison Park and will sample Monday through Friday. Two volunteers from each of the Yahara lakes will be testing the waters from their docks or neighborhood parks.

This pilot project will allow us the chance to gauge the effectiveness of working with volunteers for water quality monitoring and to work out the kinks in the coordination of multiple sampling sites and data submission from a variety of sources before we launch the full-scale program next spring. Our belief is that citizen monitoring can be a powerful tool to raise awareness and increase citizen engagement with the lakes. This is an opportunity to do that in a way that will meaningfully contribute to research and action to clean up our lakes.

We plan to launch the full-scale Citizen Monitoring program in May of 2014. Stay tuned!


header renew


This year, Clean Lakes Alliance is continuing our partnership with Dane County’s “Take a Stake in the Lakes” volunteer events. These volunteer efforts have expanded over the last couple of years from two day events to year-round events, and Clean Lakes Alliance is happy to report that our sponsors Lands’ End and Thermo Fisher are both returning for another year out in the field. This month, both corporations will show up with over 100 employees to work in the Dane County Lake Farm Park, at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, and at Holy Wisdom Monastery clearing invasive plants, planting natives, and cleaning up trash. These lake clean-up efforts demonstrate the commitment of these Yahara Watershed-based organizations to improving the community and environment of which they are a part, and here at CLA we are thrilled to be a partner in coordinating these events that make a positive impact on our watershed and create meaningful opportunities for local businesses to engage with the lakes.

Thank you Lands’ End and Thermo Fisher for another year of commitment to improving our lakes!


header cow


On May 29th, through the dedication of our region’s farmers, County Executive Joe Parisi, and many others from the county and the private sector, Dane County broke ground on its second manure digester. The digester, which will take in millions of gallons of raw manure, strip out the phosphorus, and produce energy; is located on the Ziegler Dairy farm west of Middleton and will receive manure from area farms including Ziegler’s, Blue Star Dairy and the Hensen Brothers Farm.

The Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan, published by Clean Lakes Alliance and our community partners last November targets a 32,800 lbs per year reduction in phosphorus through agricultural practices. This single digester will reduce 1,540 lbs of phosphorus, which is 4.7% of the total targeted reductions through agricultural practices each year.

“We are extremely excited to get the second community manure digester underway,” said Don Heilman, co-founder of Clean Lakes Alliance and Yahara Pride Farms. “As both urban population and agriculture continue to expand, we must innovate and implement new technologies that will sustain this growth. Providing an effective alternative for manure management while creating green energy is a win-win for our community.”

According to limnologist Dr. Dick Lathrop, one pound of phosphorus equals 500 pounds of wet algae, so we are hopeful that this second digester keeping more phosphorus out of our waterways will result in reductions in algae blooms in the Yahara lakes.


header volunteer of yr


Huge congratulations are due to Friends of Clean Lakes Board Chair Marilee Gorman for her recognition as CLA Volunteer of the Year. Marilee was presented with the award at CLA’s donor appreciation party, Summer Starts NOW!, last month.

Marilee has gone above and beyond as a citizen volunteer.  She signed up for the Friends of Clean Lakes Board before we even knew what it would do.  Marilee has been a passionate advocate in her neighborhood and was elected the first President of the Friends Board.

Congratulations, Marilee, and thank you for all you do for the Alliance and the lakes!

Summer Starts NOW! was a great happy hour event held in a former Wisconsin governor’s home on Lake Mendota.  We want to thank our sponsors for making this event possible: Mendota Financial Group, Cresa, and Sprinkman Real Estate.  We also want to thank all of the other citizen volunteers that have done so much to grow this organization and clean up our lakes.


header p3

In May, the Clean Lakes Alliance welcomed a new staff member to our Executive Team with the hiring of our new Policy & Program Director, Elizabeth Katt-Reinders (pronounced Cot-Rynders). Elizabeth’s focus will be on the regional policies that affect the Yahara lakes, and on creating meaningful opportunities for citizen engagement, education and action that contribute to the improvement of the lakes. She will also be working closely with CLA’s Economic Impact & Policy Committee as well as our new Citizen Action Committee.

EKR-LOG-photoElizabeth has worked extensively on environmental and water resource issues for well over a decade in both the public and private sector with experience in research, communications and outreach, advocacy, program development, and policy; coming to CLA most recently from the UW-Madison Center for Limnology where she worked as a Research Specialist and writer on the Water Sustainability and Climate Project, which focused on the science and policy of the Yahara watershed. She has a Masters of Science from the University of Wisconsin Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and she was a lead author and managing editor of Wisconsin’s Changing Climate, the first report of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts.

Elizabeth grew up sailing on Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and after a few years living and traveling in other parts of the country, she and her husband made Madison their home in 2003. Elizabeth is an avid canoeist and kayaker, and spends most of her free time camping and playing outside with her husband, three young sons, and two dogs.  Her other interests include creative writing, trail running, and piano playing.

Welcome aboard, Elizabeth!


header events

Here at CLA, we’re starting summer off with a bang. We have many fun and exciting events planned for this summer, and we hope to see you at many of them.

MMM-JMP-logoWe invite you to swing by James Madison Park for Make Music Madison on Friday, June 21, where Clean Lakes Alliance will be sponsoring the park and hosting music, providing slushies, and offering prizes to our guests. Go for a swim in Lake Mendota, dance on the lawn, or relax in the shade with the lake as your backdrop.

Looking ahead into July, mark your calendars for our first annual Loop the Lake bike ride, where you can ride with your friends and neighbors from our community around the lake, stopping at stations to learn about the watershed. Finish up at the spectacular Clean Lakes Festival for a full day of activities and entertainment.


Summer starts now! See you on the lakes.

The CLA Team


header schedule

Yahara Lakes 101 – June 13, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Make Music Madison – June 21, 9am-9pm, James Madison Park

Yahara Lakes 101 - July 11, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Paddle & Portage Canoe Race – July 20, James Madison Park, Across Isthmus, Olin Park

Loop the Lake – July 27, Around Lake Monona

Clean Lakes Festival – July 27, Law Park

AquaPalooza – July 28, Picnic Point Bay, Lake Mendota

Madison Area Antique & Classic Boat Show – Aug 2, Multi-lake boat parade; Aug 3, Christy’s Landing

Yahara Lakes 101 - Aug 8, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Yahara Lakes 101 - Sept 12, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio

Fore! Lakes – Sept 20, Blackhawk Country Club

Yahara Lakes 101 - Oct 10, 8-9:30am, Verex lake patio


header contact

Don Heilman, President, don@cleanlakesalliance.com

James Tye, Vice President, james@cleanlakesalliance.com

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Policy & Program Director, elizabeth@cleanlakesalliance.com

Ted Barthell, Media & Marketing Manager, ted@cleanlakesalliance.com

Rachel Fossum, Program & Outreach Coordinator, rachel@cleanlakesalliance.com