MEDIA ALERT – 8th Annual Clean Lakes Festival


Wednesday, July 8 2014

What: The general public and the media are invited to attend the 8th Annual Clean Lakes Festival, an all-day waterfront festival that is free and open to the public.
Where: Law Park, 410 South Blair Street, Madison, WI 53703 (between Monona Terrace and Machinery Row)
When: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 26 2014
Why: The Clean Lakes Festival provides an opportunity for the community to come together for a relaxed and family-friendly day of free and low-cost lake recreation.

The aim of the festival is to highlight the importance of lakes to local quality of life, offer non-lake users the opportunities to engage in lake recreation, and raise public awareness about opportunities for recreation on the lakes.

Activities include: Crazy4Lakes discovery center; free (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

Rentals from Wingra Boats; free (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Kids’ activities area; free (noon – 5 p.m.)

Betty Lou Cruises; free (1 – 4 p.m.)

Mad-City Ski Team waterski show -; free (5 p.m.)

Live music; free (noon – 9 p.m.), featuring Grammy-nominated Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band; see for full musical lineup

Lake Monona heritage boat tour; $10* (10 a.m. – noon)

Loop the Lake bike ride; $25** (10 a.m. – noon)

Learn to waterski clinics; $50* (9 a.m. – noon)

*register at **register at

Who: Produced by Clean Lakes Alliance and Mad-City Ski Team; sponsored by Alliant Energy Foundation, Betty Lou Cruises, Ho-Chunk Gaming – Madison, InterCon Construction and Energy Services, Lands’ End, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Spectrum Brands, and Wickcraft Company, Inc.

Proceeds benefit the Clean Lakes Alliance.

Contact: Don Heilman, Co-founder/President – Clean Lakes Alliance; (608) 255 – 1000


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.

Clean Lakes Alliance hosts Loop the Lake bike ride

Thursday, June 26th 2014

“Loop the Lake”

Clean Lakes Alliance hosts 2nd annual scenic bike ride on Saturday, July 26 around Lake Monona

Madison, WI—One month from today, the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) will host its second annual recreational bike ride, Loop the Lake, around Lake Monona. The ride begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 26th, on the Lake Monona bike path next to Machinery Row Bicycles and is open to all ages. CLA, a Madison-based non-profit organization devoted to improving water quality in the Yahara lakes and watershed, created the ride as a fundraiser and community-building event that kicks off its annual Clean Lakes Festival, held at Law Park.

All proceeds from the ride will support CLA’s Citizen Water Quality Monitoring program, which trains and equips local residents to monitor and report the day-to-day conditions of our lakes and beaches. Register for the event online or make a pledge to support a rider at

Riders will travel clockwise around the lake for an estimated 12-mile ride that will offer exquisite views of Lake Monona and take recreational cyclists approximately one hour and 15 minutes to complete. Water will be provided throughout the course. The ride finishes at the Clean Lakes Festival, which runs from 9 am to 9 pm at Law Park on John Nolen Drive. Riders will receive a free grilled sandwich, beverage (beer [21+] or soda), and chips at the Festival.

Loop the Lake cyclists support the work of CLA through their entry fee ($25*) and pledges.

The first 20 riders to raise $750 in pledges commitments will receive a customized Lands’ End cruiser bicycle produced by Schwinn. The first 45 riders to raise $100 or more in pledge commitments will select a prize from the Loop the Lake prize vault, which offers Schwinn bike helmets and a variety of Spectrum Brands products, including George Foreman indoor/outdoor grills and Black & Decker blenders.

Sponsors for the Loop the Lake bike ride include: American Transmission Company, Lands’ End, Plastic Ingenuity, Spectrum Brands, and Woodman’s Markets. The honorary co-chairs of the event are Mayor of Madison Paul Soglin and Mayor of Monona Bob Miller.

*Team, family, and child rates are available. Children under 10 are free. Riders that make a $25 pledge commitment in addition to the registration fee will receive a Loop the Lake t-shirt.

See for ride details, and to learn more about the Clean Lakes Alliance.
James Tye, Co-founder/Vice President

Clean Lakes Alliance

150 East Gilman St., Suite 2600

Madison, WI 53703

Office: (608) 255-1000, Mobile: (608) 628-6655


Clean Lakes Alliance hosts Loop the Lake bike ride

Lake-O-Gram Vol. IV Issue 5


Healthy Lakes, Healthy Community.

Volume IV, Issue 5

Incredible, stormy sunset over Lake Mendota at the Terrace yesterday. Photo by Anna Sunderland.

Incredible, stormy sunset over Lake Mendota at the Terrace yesterday. Photo by Anna Sunderland.

What better time than summer to relax and play with family and friends! See below for opportunities to bike, paddle, swim, ski or chill by and on our lakes. Also, Also, show your love for the lakes by volunteering with the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). (Psst – most of our volunteer needs are great excuses to be outdoors and around other lake lovers!)

Amidst all the fun on the lakes, remember that the CLA is still hard at work to protect them. Donate today and start receiving Waves in the Watershed, our bimonthly report on phosphorus-reducing projects and progress.

What is the Lake-O-Gram? The Lake-O-Gram is a monthly digest distributed through our website and e-mailed out to the surrounding communities to keep citizens up-to-date on the latest events and efforts taking place to protect and preserve the water quality of the Yahara watershed. Subscribe to get the Lake-O-Gram in your inbox!

Table of Contents

Clean Lakes Festival
Loop the Lake Scenic Bike Ride
Lake User Survey
Calling all Volunteers!
Yahara Lakes 101 with Dr. Eric Booth
Community Events and Opportunities
Lakes in the News
Grant Awards
Become a Friend
Let’s Get Social!
Lake Calendar


CLEAN LAKES FESTIVAL (Sat., July 26 @ Law Park)

clean-lakes-festival_rentals-2What sets the Clean Lakes Festival apart from other summer events?

A. Free canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals

B. Lake Monona Heritage Boat Tour

C. Crazy4Lakes Discovery Center and kids’ activity center

D. Live music on a floating stage and free waterski shows

E. All of the above (and more) at a daylong festival open and accessible to everyone.

The answer is E, of course.

The festival’s mission is to get people out and enjoying the lakes. Mark your calendars for the one day and one spot that brings everything we love about the lakes together – Saturday, July 26th @ Law Park, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Clean Lakes Festival is the Clean Lakes Alliance’s founding event and a highlight of lake-shore based summer fun in Madison. The festival was started in 2007 by the Mad-City Water Ski Team, which has been a fixture in downtown Madison for nearly 50 years. With a strong membership, energy and a vested interest to improve the quality of our lakes, the ski team decided to create the Clean Lakes Festival to create awareness and raise money to support lake cleanup projects.

The festival has grown and changed over the years. And since 2013 it has called Law Park, on the shores of Lake Monona, its new home. But no matter the location or festival activities, the intent of the festival has remained unchanged. The festival strives to raise public awareness about opportunities for recreation on the lakes, highlight the importance of lakes to local quality of life, and offer non-lake users the opportunities to engage in lake recreation.


loop-the-lake_aerial-3_smushedHow many beautiful views of Lake Monona can you count? Ride the Lake Loop scenic bike path and find out!

Register for the Loop the Lake ride, and take some time to enjoy the scenery with family and friends. It’s a fun ride, not a race, so you will have plenty of time to stop and appreciate a new vista with each curve of the route, from the vantages of John Nolen Drive, Olin-Turville Park, and Squaw Bay to Olbrich Park, Yahara Place Park, and B.B. Clark Beach.

All proceeds from the ride will support CLA’s Citizen Water Quality Monitoring program, which trains and equips local residents to monitor and report the day-to-day conditions of our lakes and beaches.

Riders will travel clockwise around the lake for an estimated 12-mile ride that will offer exquisite views of Lake Monona and take recreational cyclists approximately one hour and 15 minutes to complete. Water will be provided throughout the course.

The ride finishes at the Clean Lakes Festival grounds at Law Park, where you and your companions can enjoy a complimentary sandwich, chips, and beverage… then rent a free kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard, visit the Crazy4Lakes discovery center, or take a Heritage Boat Tour on the Betty Lou Cruise boats.

Sponsors for the Loop the Lake bike ride include: American Transmission Company, Lands’ End, Plastic Ingenuity, Spectrum Brands, and Woodman’s Markets.

The honorary co-chairs of the event are Mayor of Madison Paul Soglin and Mayor of Monona Bob Miller.

Loop the Lake cyclists support the work of CLA through their entry fee ($25) and pledges. Riders that make a $25 pledge commitment in addition to the registration fee will receive a Loop the Lake t-shirt. Team, family, and child rates are available; children under 10 are free.

The first 20 riders to raise $750 in pledges commitments will receive a customized Lands’ End cruiser bicycle produced by Schwinn. The first 45 riders to raise $100 or more in pledge commitments will select a prize from the Loop the Lake prize vault, which offers Schwinn bike helmets and a variety of Spectrum Brands products, including George Foreman indoor/outdoor grills and Black & Decker blenders.


SurveyingThe CLA is administering a watershed-wide lake user survey and we need your help!

Our blue t-shirt-clad volunteers are fanning out around 50 local lakeshore sites to administer five-minute surveys that assess YOUR use of the lakes and YOUR perception of water quality. Yes, you! That’s five minutes you have to spare while standing in line at the boat launch, waiting for a bite on a slow day fishing, or relaxing on the beach while your kids swim.

Haven’t spotted one of our volunteers yet? That’s your sign to become one! Email or call (608) 255-1000 to schedule a training session and get started at a lakeshore site that is convenient to you.


CLA wants YOU to help Renew the Blue!

Interested in volunteering with the CLA this summer? We have volunteer needs for upcoming events as well as ongoing programs.

  • Renew the Blue Volunteer Days

Spectrum Brands interns at Holy Wisdom Monastery for a Renew the Blue volunteer day last Thursday.

Spectrum Brands interns volunteer at Holy Wisdom Monastery for a Renew the Blue volunteer day.

Consider joining the CLA at our Renew the Blue Volunteer Days at Olbrich Park. These monthly events provide a way to improve the water quality of our lakes and clean up our beaches through litter cleanup and shoreline maintenance.

When: Thurs., July 17 and Thurs., August 21, 2014 6 – 8 p.m.

Where: Olbrich Park (3527 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53714); meet at the beach

What: Litter pickups and aquatic plant raking

Tools and supplies will be provided… all we need is your presence and enthusiasm! Please register in advance (required).

  • Lake User Survey

Love talking to people and spending time on the lakes? We need you to volunteer to administer surveys! Become a Lake User Survey volunteer, and contribute to a watershed-wide study on the value of our lakes. Interested? Please contact Paul at 255-1000 or Lake-access locations, days and time blocks can be tailored to each volunteer’s interest level and availability.

  • Paddle and Portage

You are invited to come help the Friends of Clean Lakes at the 35th Annual Isthmus Paddle & Portage event. The event is a canoe race in Lake Mendota and Lake Monona that has participants portage across the Capitol Square. Our partnership with this event helps the Clean Lakes Alliance fulfill our mission and bring new people to our cause. Please visit for more details.

DATE: Saturday, July 19, 2014

TIME: 11:00 a.m. until beer runs out or 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Olin Park

We are looking for 12 volunteers to pour beer provided by Leinenkugel’s. 
If you are interested in volunteering at this event please contact Marilee Gorman at To keep things organized, please write PADDLE AND PORTAGE VOLUNTEER in the subject line.

Please include the following in your email: first & last name and contact information (email, phone number and address). The DEADLINE for volunteer sign up is Friday, July 18, 2014! Thank you!

  • Clean Lakes Festival

Are you a regular at the Dane County farmer’s market? Consider joining the Mad-City Ski Team on Saturday, July 5th and 12th in promoting the Clean Lakes Festival at the market. Contact Jacci at to sign up. Or, join the Clean Lakes Alliance to promote the festival at the market on Saturday, July 19th by emailing Katie at

Want in on the behind-the-scenes fun at the popular Clean Lakes Festival (Sat., July 26)? We need volunteers to serve food and beer (21+), supervise the kids’ area (must be 18+), sell raffle tickets, and maintain the festival grounds. Contact to sign up!

YAHARA LAKES 101 with DR. ERIC BOOTH (Thurs., July 10)

Photos of Research Specialist Eric Booth at the UW Arboretum taken on September 5, 2013 in Overlook Prairie. Eric’s work involves sustaining freshwater resources for the future on a national basis. As a part of his project, sensors were installed in Overlook to collect data on soil moisture.Join us on Thursday, July 10th for Yahara Lakes 101 with Dr. Eric Booth to learn how environmental monitoring, computer modeling, and futurology intersect to create visions of the future. Dr. Booth will present his talk, “Development of the Yahara 2070 scenarios”.

Yahara 2070 is an exploration of possible futures for the Yahara Watershed. Combining innovative science and public participation, the initiative is a set of scenarios intended to facilitate creative discussion about a desirable future for the region. On May 14, Yahara 2070 made its official public debut with a launch event and a website.

In his talk, Dr. Booth will explain the motivation behind the project and the exciting challenge of combining environmental monitoring and computer modeling with community-driven scenarios of the future.

When: Thursday, July 10 from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Where: Bluephies Café at Verex Plaza (150 E Gilman Street), level B

RSVP (required)


  • Paddle and Portage (Sat., July 19)

isthmus-paddle-and-portageThis quirky challenge features a canoe race in Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, with a portage across the Capitol Square in between. Watch for crazy costumes, paddling fanatics, and fun family teams on Saturday, July 19th.

Not a paddler? Not a problem. A post-race celebration follows the event to welcome competitors and spectators alike, featuring live music, food, ice-cold beverages and the Paddle and Portage Awards Ceremony.

The Clean Lakes Alliance is a proud partner of this popular annual event, which is produced by Isthmus newspaper. Contact Marilee at to volunteer at the event with Friends of Clean Lakes.

  • Lake Monona Sailing Club (ongoing: Tues., Sat., holidays)

Lake Monona Sailing Club: Sailboat racing by Monona Terrace.

Lake Monona Sailing Club: Sailboat racing by Monona Terrace

Lake Monona Sailing Club (LMSC) is a family friendly organization that welcomes sailors of every skill level. Classes include C-Scows, Flying Scots, Multi-Hull and One-Design boats. The club has two piers, one located near Olin Park and the other in Stonebridge Park, for members’ boats. Races are held on Wednesday nights, Saturday afternoons and holidays. Find out more about the club and how to start racing your boat at:

  • Brittingham Boats SUP Cup (weekly on Thurs.)

brittingham-boats_sup-cupGet out on the lakes with the SUP-Cup! Thursday nights at 6 p.m. this summer, take part in the Brittingham Boats Stand Up Paddleboard race series for the recreational and competitive paddlers among you! Not a paddler? Come watch the fun from the lake patio! We’re happy to see CLA Community Board member and owner of Brittingham and Wingra Boats, Tyler Leeper, getting more people out on the lakes.

  • IRONMAN Wisconsin (Sun., Sept. 7)

Personal Watercraft volunteers needed for IRONMAN Wisconsin.

Personal watercraft volunteers needed for IRONMAN Wisconsin

The IRONMAN Wisconsin is looking for boat and personal watercraft volunteers for Sunday, September 7th. Get out on the lake and in the action, and help keep racers safe! Be sure to mention that you are volunteering on behalf of the CLA when you sign up. Register to volunteer online!


“Continue efforts to keep our beaches clean — Gina Chirichella”

Letter to the editor in the Wisconsin State Journal (6/1/2014): “We are so lucky to have these lakes”

“Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says new equipment will help remove harmful phosphorus from lakes”

Article in the Isthmus (6/12/2014): “The digesters are critical to our lakes cleanup effort.”

“Lake Mendota mapmaker shows depth of her appreciation”

University of Wisconsin-Madison article (6/24/2014): “The lake is associated with so many good memories… The more familiar you get with the lake, the more you develop a connection.”

“Dane County’s clean lakes initiatives promise high return on investment”

InBusiness Article (6/2014): “…the lakes are simply critical to maintaining the quality of life that attracts people, particularly young people, young entrepreneurs, to a region.”

“Chris Rickert: No adapting to degraded Dane County lake quality”

Wisconsin State Journal column (6/29/2014): “…it could take from three to 10 years to start seeing results from the county’s renewed push for lake health. But the alternative is far worse.” This column asks: “What would happen if we gave up on Madison’s lakes efforts?”


Yahara-WINs_logo-2We are excited to announce that we received two new grant awards recently, both to be used for phosphorus reduction practices and programs.

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF) has granted $5,000 to strengthen our Yahara Pride Farms certification program and annual farm technology demonstration days, and Yahara WINs has granted $80,000 to assist in the implementation of agricultural conservation practices through our Yahara Pride Farms cost-share program.

Thanks to PDPF and Yahara WINs for your support!


Ah, summer is here! We greatly enjoyed this short, dream-like video of a day on the lakes, produced in-kind by Studio 88. Watch and enjoy!

Click to watch on

Click to watch on

If you aren’t already, consider becoming a Friend of Clean Lakes. Thank you in advance for your contribution to one of our community’s most treasured assets.


Find us 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/retweet you!




Yahara Lakes 101 (2nd Thurs. of month, except Dec.)

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring (Memorial Day – Labor Day)

Brittingham Boats SUP Cup (summer Thursdays)

Lake Monona Sailing Club (ongoing)

MSCR Pontoon Boat Program (ongoing)

Yahara River Corridor Conceptual Study (Weds., July 16)

Paddle and Portage (Sat., July 19)

Loop the Lake (Sat., July 26)

Clean Lakes Festival (Sat., July 26)

Madison Area Antique and Classic Boat Show (Fri., Aug 1 – Sat., Aug. 2)

Fore! Lakes Golf Tournament (Fri., Sept. 19)


Lake-O-Gram Vol. IV Issue 5 – Clean Lakes Alliance

Yahara Pride Farms – 2013 Phosphorus Reduction Report

Yahara Pride Farms members were busy last fall implementing innovative conservation practices in their fields. As part of a study on phosphorus reduction activities, farmers shared their cost-share program field data with YPF (identifiable information is kept confidential).  The following is an analyzed report of the collected data prepared by our Conservation Resource Manager Dennis Frame. Check out the numbers on how much phosphorus Yahara Pride Farms members helped prevent from entering our waterways last year.

A Yahara Pride Farms member farm,

A Yahara Pride Farms member farm

Yahara Pride Farms – 2013 Phosphorus Reduction Report

During 2013, the Yahara Pride Farms board of directors developed and implemented a number of agricultural conservation programs designed to reduce the loss of phosphorus within the Yahara Watershed.  There were four major incentive programs offered within the watershed in 2013 including:

1.) Farm Certification Program,

2.) Cover Crop Assistance,

3.) Vertical Manure Injection, and

4.) Strip tillage.

Each of these programs have unique benefits, both from a phosphorus reduction standpoint, as well as educational and confidence/trust building within the watershed.  The program SNAPPlus was used throughout the process to help arrive at phosphorus reduction numbers. This report summary provides an update on the number of acres and farms involved in the Yahara Pride Farms Certification Program, as well as an estimate of the number of pounds of phosphorus prevented from entering the Yahara watershed…

Click to read the full 2013 Phosphorus Reduction Report

Click to read the 2013 Phosphorus Reduction Report Summary

Visit the Yahara Pride Farms site to learn more about our initiatives.

Wisconsin State Journal Opinion – “Continue efforts to keep our beaches clean”

“We are so lucky to have these lakes.” We agree, Gina Chirichella! Our lakes are one of our community’s biggest assets. Take a look at this letter to the editor from the Wisconsin State Journal opinion section (below) written by a community member with fond memories of some of our beautiful local beaches (B.B. Clark, Brittingham, Henry Vilas). Article also includes a shout out to the Clean Lakes Alliance, thanks Gina!

Wisconsin State Journal, Opinion – “Continue efforts to keep our beaches clean”

P.S. Did you know that all three of the beaches mentioned in the opinion letter are 2014 lake user survey sites? Follow the link to learn more about the Clean Lakes Alliance’s ongoing summer lake user survey and economic impact study.

CLA is Crazy 4 Lakes: Madison Magazine, June 2014

Have you seen the special promotional section included in Madison Magazine‘s June Issue? Please read below and find out why the Clean Lakes Alliance is Crazy 4 Lakes — watch for short biographies of some of our stellar board members, Leslie Even, Michael Kosolcharoen, Bob Uphoff, and Jim Welsh. Also, look for a message from the Mayor Paul Soglin of Madison and Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi. The section includes a feature story titled “Partnership Makes it Possible” by Judy Dahl, and the 2013 State of the Lakes report, by Dea Larsen Converse.


PRESS RELEASE: Nationally-renowned ecologist Dr. Cal DeWitt to speak Thursday


June 10, 2014

Dr. Cal DeWitt to present on wetlands and their impacts on the Yahara lakes.

Madison, Wis. – The Yahara chain of lakes lies along the course of an ancient valley so deep that it cuts into the underlying bedrock. This valley joins our major upper and lower aquifers together as one, with important consequences both for our high capacity municipal wells, and for the system of wetlands and the wetland functions it supports, including cleaning our lakes.

A nationally-renowned ecologist and professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies will help us understand these systems and how the wetlands they’ve formed impact our lakes. Dr. Cal DeWitt will speak on Thursday, June 12th at Yahara Lakes 101, a monthly science speaker series put on by the Clean Lakes Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the waters of the Yahara River watershed.

Dr. DeWitt will speak about wetland functions, their interdependence with the groundwater below, geological processes of the recent and distant past, and how all of this provides for lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa. In addition, DeWitt will discuss what is needed to sustain these wetland functions into the future.

DeWitt is Professor of Environmental Studies Emeritus, Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is a Fellow of the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy and recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. He is also a recipient of the Friends of the United Nations FUNEP 500 Award, was honored with the Connie Award of the National Wildlife Federation for his work as “a world-class conservationist”, and was named “Environmentalist of the Year” by the Madison Audubon Society.

Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for coffee, pastries, and fruit on the patio overlooking Lake Mendota, and the program runs from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Come on out, have a coffee, and bring your questions as we continue our series of monthly discussions about the science behind the issues that face our lakes.

Yahara Lakes 101 is produced by the Clean Lakes Alliance and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Hosting sponsor of the event is Foley & Lardner, LLP. Cost is $10 or free for Friends of Clean Lakes. Become a Friend today at

Yahara Lakes 101 is held in the Bluephies café space on Level B of the Verex Plaza at 150 E. Gilman Ave, Madison, Wisconsin. Pre-registration is required at or call (608) 255-1000. Parking available on-street and at downtown parking ramps; no parking on Gilman Street from 8 a.m. to noon. See for more event details.



PRESS RELEASE: Lands’ End partners with Clean Lakes Alliance, County for a lakeshore clean up at Lake Farm Park


June 10, 2014

Lands’ End partners with Clean Lakes Alliance, County for a lakeshore clean up at Lake Farm Park

Madison, Wis. — For the fourth year in a row, over 150 Lands’ End employees will leave their desks empty and fill the shores of Lake Farm County Park to clear and treat invasive species and improve the lakeshore area. The 4th annual volunteer day is being organized through a partnership between Lands’ End, the Clean Lakes Alliance, and Dane County’s Take a Stake in Our Waters initiative.

“Take a Stake in Our Waters are volunteer events offered year-round that bring the Dane County community together to help clean up our lakes,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in this critical effort.”

Before donning gloves and seizing shovels and shears, County Executive Joe Parisi, Clean Lakes Alliance President Don Heilman, and Lands’ End Director of Sustainability Randy Peterson and Senior Vice President, Employee and Customer Services Kelly Ritchie will greet employees.

Peterson said, “We’ve found working with the Clean Lakes Alliance very rewarding for our employees at Lands’ End, so much so, that more employees continue to participate every year.”

Clean Lakes Alliance has engaged its corporate partners in the county’s Take a Stake volunteer program for four years, believing in the value of hands-on participation in improving our lakeshores. Clean Lakes Alliance works with its corporate partners to build into the structure of the businesses a way to meaningfully engage in the process of improving and protecting the lakes, and to see first-hand how the actions of the individual contribute to the collective impact of the whole community.

“Lands’ End has had a major impact on improving Lake Farm County Park,” said CLA President Don Heilman. “The company’s hard work and dedication to our waterways is very visible when walking through the park or viewing the shoreline from Lake Waubesa.”

Clean Lakes Alliance coordinates several corporate volunteer days throughout the summer as part of its Renew the Blue initiative. In addition to the partnership with Dane County, the Alliance partners with the University of Wisconsin Lakeshore Nature Preserve, City of Madison Parks, Holy Wisdom Monastery and the City of Middleton Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission.

The annual Take a Stake in the Lakes Days event, created by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, has grown from two days of shoreline cleanups to a two-week series of countywide special events, and now, to year-round action events that help people celebrate, learn about, protect, and improve Dane County’s lakes and streams. The expanded initiative has been renamed Take A Stake in Our Waters to reflect the focus on the watershed as a whole, including lakes, rivers and wetlands.

Contact: Kathryn Van Gheem, Watershed Engagement Coordinator
Clean Lakes Alliance;
Office: (608) 255-1000


Waves in the Watershed – Volume 1, Issue 2

witws 111

CLA launches the second year of our citizen water quality monitoring program, with over 40 near-shore sites and first in the nation mobile app integration in partnership with 100state, the City of Madison, and Dane County.

CLA launches the second year of our citizen water quality monitoring program, with over 40 near-shore sites and first in the nation mobile app integration in partnership with 100state, the City of Madison, and Dane County.

Welcome to Waves in the Watershed, an in-depth newsletter for donors of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). Waves in the Watershed 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.

Please note – the Lake-O-Gram will continue to be delivered each month to the inboxes of over 8,000 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 and snapshots of lake efforts in the watershed.

In Partnership,

The Clean Lakes Alliance Team

Table of Contents

Project Implementation
Yahara Pride Farms
Strategic Implementation Committee update
Grant Awards
Economic Impact & Policy Committee update
Watershed Engagement
Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast
Clean Clear Waters
Yahara Lakes 101
Friends of Clean Lakes
In the Community
City of Madison
Wingra Boats
New Board Members
Thank you!

Project Implementation

Yahara Pride Farms update

A Yahara Pride Farms member farm,

A Yahara Pride Farms member farm,

Yahara Pride Farms (YPF), an agricultural affiliate of the CLA, has the mission of improving water quality in the Yahara watershed through the implementation of conservation practices on agricultural land.

Currently, YPF and CLA are focusing on the following initiatives:

Cost-share program: Finalizing 2014 cost-share program offerings with the goal of doubling the number of acres on which conservation practices are implemented.

YPF Certification: Four farms have been certified “Yahara Pride” thus far, with seven in progress. The YPF Certification Program, run by two Conservation Resource Managers, has proven to be a successful educational tool. The program is designed to work with area farmers and their agronomic management teams to indicate that a farmer or operation has successfully completed all aspects of the certification program including a facility, crop and soil assessment (which includes reviewing the effectiveness of their nutrient management plan), a complete farm walkover, as well as a follow up one-on-one meeting with a conservation resource manager to discuss areas where conservation practices could be improved or changed on their farm.

The certified Yahara Pride Farms members are required to meet a high standard (based on a point system) that is an evaluation of all components (facilities, fields, etc.) of their farm. The certified members have made a commitment to improve conservation on their operation as suggested by the resource managers and have proven to be dedicated to improving soil and water resources in the watershed.

Established two new programs for business and the community to get involved in our efforts through financial support:

“Partners in Pride” is a program that allows community members, agribusinesses and associations to be a partner in conservation with Yahara Pride Farms.

“Conserve an Acre” allows individuals and businesses from the community to directly impact the quality of our lakes by contributing to a fund for the installation of various conservation practices.  The conservation practices include cover crops and buffer strips, which improve soil stability and reduce nutrient runoff. 

Strategic Implementation Committee update

The WDNR presented on the use of LiDAR to detect areas of erosion concern.

The WDNR presented on the use of LiDAR to detect areas of erosion concern.

The CLA’s Strategic Implementation Committee focuses on phosphorus reduction projects and practices, and prioritizes the implementation of the 14 actions in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Reducing Phosphorus. The committee received two presentations this month and both followed with good discussions. The first was by Montgomery Associates who has recently completed the phosphorus density modeling for the watershed. Of interest was the stronger than expected urban loading of phosphorus to the lakes, and also the high loading from agriculture to the southern two lakes. This has spawned a specific meeting to discuss mitigation for water quality challenges in Lake Kegonsa.

The second presentation was by Aaron Ruesch from WNDR on the use of LiDAR to detect areas of potential erosion concern, especially in agriculture. The technology can be used to steer efforts and expenses to the highest runoff risk areas and also provide a strong point for monitoring future land uses. There is potential to layer soil types, soil test results, and cropping practices to gain an even clearer look at whether land is susceptible to runoff. DNR and Dane County will be pilot testing and verifying results this year and will report the findings at a future date.

Grant awards

McKnight Foundation
mcknight-foundation-logoIn March, the CLA received $50,000 from the McKnight Foundation to assist with our rural initiatives that reduce phosphorus runoff, including improving manure storage and management, increasing the use of conservation practices (e.g. cover crops, vertical manure injection and strip tillage), and a certification program that provides incentives for best management practices. The funding will also be used for water quality monitoring, as well as the education and outreach involved in promoting these agricultural efforts.

village-of-deforest-logoVillage of DeForest 2014 Stormwater Grant
In April, the CLA was awarded $10,000 from the Village of DeForest 2014 Stormwater Grant program. We’ll be using the funds towards our cover crop test plot that’s helping us better understand how to keep soil in it’s place and phosphorus out of our waterways, an educational field demonstration day for farmers to experiment with innovative technologies and conservation practices, and for a residential leaf management education pilot project to tackle urban sources of phosphorus loading.


Economic Impact & Policy Committee update

A lake user survey will assess the economic impact of the lakes on our community. Two students sit and enjoy the view.

A lake user survey will assess the economic impact of the lakes on our community. Two students sit and enjoy the view.

The CLA’s Economic Impact & Policy Committee (EIPC) continued development and planning of a lake user survey as phase one of a study of the economic impact of the lakes on the greater-Madison area. The lake user survey will be administered all summer at approximately 50 locations, including beaches, boat landings, parks, and select private access points, on all five lakes in the Yahara chain.

The committee initiated the setting of annual objectives and a policy agenda for 2014. This includes identifying the ongoing policy issues relevant to the CLA’s mission, discussing priorities for the next legislative session, and determining processes and criteria by which CLA will set its policy agenda.  Over the next few months, the EIPC will invite representatives from local government entities and other stakeholder groups to speak at committee meetings to help the committee better understand relevant policy issues.

Watch for volunteers in this shirt!

Watch for volunteers in this shirt!

Watershed Engagement

Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast recap


Over 600 community members joined us bright and early at the Monona Terrace on Friday, April 25th for CLA’s Save Our Lakes community breakfast. We are proud to announce that attendees at the breakfast generously pledged nearly $40,000 for our lakes. The Schooling for Cleaner Lakes fish-mobiles – created by over 80 school and community groups — looked incredible “swimming” overhead.  Please check out photos from the event here.

The event featured interesting and inspiring speakers as well as three new films produced by Studio 88.

Steve Carpenter, Director of the UW-Madison Center for Limnology, spoke on “Trends and Surprises in the Limnology of Madison’s Lakes.” We learned that although rainstorms and manure production have been increasing, runoff has remained relatively steady. Steve attributed the lack of an increase in runoff to strong phosphorus management in the watershed. He ended by calling on the community to continue to work to beat the trends, so that runoff — and the phosphorus that comes with it — will not just hold steady, but will decrease.

Brennan Nardi, Editor-in-Chief of Madison Magazine and member of the CLA Community Board, spoke to the Schooling for Cleaner Lakes theme. Brennan discussed the many partners that are working together for cleaner lakes, and announced the community art project winners. Congratulations Lowell Elementary School, West High School, and Phil Gaebler! Brennan also presented the 2013 Watershed Stewardship Award, which went to Jon Standridge for his leadership in volunteering on the creation and expansion of CLA’s citizen monitoring program.

Three new 2014 CLA partnerships were also announced: an education initiative with Earth Partnership for Schools; a summer lake education program with Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and Wingra Boats; and a crowd-source beach monitoring initiative with the City of Madison, Dane County, and 100state. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin announced the partnership to develop a water quality crowdsourcing app for the public to use at local beaches throughout the Yahara River watershed.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi presented on “Dane County’s Clean Lakes Effort”, which highlighted the county’s commitment to funding and getting boots on the ground to clean up our lakes. The video features the county’s extensive work as well as projects by other partners in the watershed.

Dave Lumley, CEO of Spectrum Brands, closed out the program with inspiring and motivational remarks on his vision and commitment to cleaner lakes, and a call to the community to make a pledge for our lakes. See our website to become a Friend of Clean Lakes.

The films feature dozens of community partners and showcase the vast array of work being done for our lakes.

Clean Clear Waters

CLA demonstrates the turbidity tube.

CLA demonstrates the turbidity tube.

If you visit local piers, docks, or beaches this summer, you may notice people peering into long, clear plastic tubes full of lake water and taking notes. If you do, say hi! These are citizen water quality monitors: volunteers who collect data to help improve our understanding of lake water quality, as part of CLA’s Clean Clear Waters program.

The long, clear tube is a turbidity tube, which allows for measurement of lake visibility depths even in shallow, near-shore water, where most of our daily interactions with the lakes occur. The tube has a black and white disk at the bottom: the deeper the water in the tube that the volunteer can see the disk through, the clearer and cleaner the water is. Volunteers also record other observations, like the number of swimmers in the water and the presence of weeds or algae blooms.

2014 is the second-year of CLA’s water quality monitoring pilot program. Due to the success and popularity of last year, we have expanded the number of sampling locations from 9 to around 40 across lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa, and Wingra. The goals of the program are to provide more accurate and timely beach condition information, as well as to help UW-Madison researchers model the movement of algal blooms.

With all the data that will be collected, the CLA needed a better way to make the information readily available to the public. A new partnership with 100state, the City of Madison, and Dane County will give volunteers the ability to input data into a mobile app so that the information will be instantly available to researchers, government agencies, and the public. There will also be a crowd-sourcing function, so that any lake visitor can make an update about the status of a beach, for example.

If you would like to know more about citizen monitoring in your area, or other volunteer opportunities, please visit our website

Yahara Lakes 101

Thursday, June 12 – Dr. Calvin DeWitt


How do wetlands impact the quality of our lakes? Come to next month’s Yahara Lakes 101 to find out.

DeWitt_Calvin_hs07_9421The Yahara chain of lakes follows the course of a deep, ancient valley: what does that mean for our lakes? To find out the answer to this question and more, please join us at Yahara Lakes 101 on Thursday, June 12th for Dr. Calvin DeWitt’s presentation, where he will describe the functions served by our local wetland system, how these functions sustain the quality of our chain of lakes, and what is needed to sustain these functions on into the future.

Dr. DeWitt’s presentation is entitled “Sustaining Yahara Lakes and Waterscapes: Functions of Their Wetland Systems above a Buried Bedrock Valley”. He is Professor of Environmental Studies Emeritus, Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is a member of the graduate faculties of Environmental and Resources, Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, Water Resources Management, and Oceanography and Limnology, a Fellow of the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy, and recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

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.

We would like to again thank Dr. Doug Soldat, who presented on “Lawn Care, Soils and Water Quality” in April, and Dr. Emily Stanley, who presented on “Yahara Long Term Ecological Research: Trends & Patterns” in May.

Friends of Clean Lakes

The Friends of Clean Lakes continue to go strong in friend-raising and fund-raising for the Clean Lakes Alliance. As of our May Community Board meeting, these individuals have contributed over $50,000 for our clean lakes efforts, with donations ranging from $35 to $5000 per year.

Friends of Clean Lakes plan, host, and support events that draw new people in to the organization, and they’d love to see you at the following events this summer:

Paddle & Portage – Saturday, July 15


The event features a canoe race across Lake Mendota and Lake Monona and a portage across the Capitol Square. FOCL provide volunteers to work in the beverage tent.

Loop the Lake Bike Ride – Saturday, July 26 (Clean Lakes Festival)


Loop the Lake is friend and fund-raising bike ride around beautiful Lake Monona. Individual, family, and team riders are encouraged. We are presently contacting sponsors and encouraging rider registration. Lunch and prizes will be included.

In the Community 

CLA Community Board Member Updates

As an alliance, it’s important to us to turn the spotlight on all of the good work being done in our community to protect and improve the lakes, and on those who are helping us realize our vision of establishing the lakes as the center of our community.

In each issue of Waves in the Watershed, we’ll share snapshots of the good work being done by members of CLA’s Community Board. This issue we’re featuring the City of Madison’s Engineering Department and Wingra Boats, owned by Community Board member, Tyler Leeper.

City of Madison

The City of Madison has several lakes-related projects underway. These include stormwater treatment at Willow Creek, alum treatment at Starkweather Creek, stormwater treatment at Dunn’s Marsh, and improvements in aquatic plant management in Monona Bay.

Willow Creek

Willow Creek pre-construction

Willow Creek pre-construction

The City of Madison, in conjunction with University of Wisconsin Facilities staff, is designing a stormwater treatment structure to be installed in Willow Creek immediately north of University Avenue. The watershed that feeds Willow Creek is almost 1,900 acres of primarily urban residential land use. City and UW staff have noticed a buildup of sandy sediment in Lake Mendota near the discharge of Willow Creek to the Lake; the proposed treatment structure is intended to reduce the amount of sediment discharged to the Lake. Preliminary plans for the treatment structure include the installation of a weir in Willow Creek; the weir will be placed downstream of the creek’s intersection with Campus Drive, and will be designed to regulate flow through the channel to increase sediment settling. The length of channel between the intersection with University and the weir will be lined with concrete (to facilitate removal of settled sediment) and riprap. The project will include restoration along the channel banks, including the replacement of trees, and is scheduled for construction in Summer 2014.

Alum Treatment at Starkweather

Alum injection and intake monitoring site at the Arboretum

Alum injection and intake monitoring site at the Arboretum

The City is in the feasibility stage of design for an alum treatment facility at Starkweather Creek. The Starkweather project is a natural follow-up to the pilot alum treatment project at Marion Dunn pond, which is scheduled for start-up in early June 2014. In the current concept, an alum water treatment system would be installed on the bank of the quarry pond located northeast of Milwaukee Street and North Fair Oaks Avenue, which sits adjacent to Starkweather Creek approximately one mile upstream of the creek’s discharge into Lake Monona. Stormwater flow in the creek would be diverted into the pond and treated with alum or a comparable flocculant to remove suspended solids and phosphorus, then reintroduced into the creek downstream of the diversion. The project is tentatively scheduled to begin construction in Fall 2015.

Dunn’s Marsh
The City is collaborating with a group of UW students in the Biological Systems Engineering department to design a stormwater treatment device north of Dunn’s Marsh. The watershed that drains to the marsh includes urban residential and commercial land near the intersection of the Beltline and Verona Road. The project is uniquely challenging due to the small area available for construction of a device to treat a large volume of stormwater. Currently the City favors installation of a Coanda screen due to its compact size, effectiveness at removing debris and sediment while allowing large flows to pass, and its ease of maintenance. A similar screen is installed at the UW Arboretum and treats the 100 year event without bypass (several hundred CFS) . The device, which has the cooperation of the City of Fitchburg, is scheduled for installation in Fall 2014 or Spring 2015.

Monona Bay Boat Launch
To maintain the health and beauty of Monona Bay, Dane County deploys weed cutters during the summer months to manage plant growth. In the past, these cutters have entered the water at the beach, which is difficult for the workers and damaging to the environment. The City is installing a dedicated boat launch in the Bay for the weed cutters at the corner of West Brittingham Place and South Brittingham Place. In addition to the launch itself, reinforcement will be installed in the grass access to prevent damage to Brittingham Park due to trailering the cutters to and from the Bay. The launch, which will begin construction on May 19, 2014, will be for City/County and Emergency use only; as such, motorized boat traffic on the Bay should not increase.

Wingra Boats


At Wingra and Brittingham Boats, the philosophy is to focus on the experience of being outside on the lakes with good people, rather than on being a skills-based program. If you return to shore in a canoe sitting the wrong way and holding the blade while paddling with the handle, but have a smile on your face- they believe that you’re still doing it right. This philosophy has taken Wingra boats from about 10,000 water trips and 8 employees in 2005 to 50+ employees and over 45,000 trips on the water in 2013.

2014 programs include:

  • Camp Wingra was started in 2007 with two sessions and 20 kids. This year we have 22 sessions and 250+ kids from first grade through 9th grade and we have programs ranging from intro to fishing and paddling to limnology camps, fly fishing and WI River overnight canoe trips. Camps fill by February and we have twice the demand as previously. We are looking to double our programs in the next two years.
  • Wingra Watershed Work Shop was started in 2010 to educate teachers on how lead watershed focused field trips. Since the start of the Work Shop, Wingra Boats saw an increase from 300 students coming from Memorial High School to over 1500 students coming from all over the city and outside of the city.
  • Developed out of the Wingra Watershed Workshop, Science Thursday was developed to expand education of the watershed to the public. Science Thursday focuses on elementary-aged kids and in the last two years has grown to have 30 to 50 participants per week, with some weeks accommodating over 70 participants. The kids get to learn about a variety of topics including bats, invertebrates and much more.
  • Wingra Boats, Clean Lake Alliance and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County have teamed up to offer a pilot program to the kids in the Boys & Girls Club summer program to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the outdoors and specifically our lakes. The program involves fishing, paddling and limnology and ecology exploration to teach about the ecosystem. Example curriculum would be looking at the life cycle of a fish-using dip nets to find out what they eat, using magnifying glasses and microscopes to see what they live in, and then looking at what eats them.

We will have two sessions of 12 students ages 7-12 every Wednesday from June 25th - August 6th and through this program we will have the opportunity to expose every kid enrolled in the B&GC summer program to the wonders and enjoyment of the outdoors. It is our hope that this pilot will grow into an expanded program that offers in depth and weeklong programing.

  • Community Events. We have established a series of fun community building events including Lake Wingra Clean Up, Movie Nights, Potlucks, Ice Cream Boat-Float, and we host neighborhood meetings and parties. Many of our activities lose money yet help establish the Boat House and the lake as a regular destination and a place to come together.
  • Special Events. We have a series of Special Events that are designed around a certain activity or group. Special Events include Paddle Excursions, Jazz in the Park, Brat Fest, The Duck Dash (a paddle run), the Midwest Paddle Board Festival and the Brittingham Fishing Festival.

Brittingham Boats: In 2013 Brittingham Boats opened on Monona Bay to expand services to the downtown community. The bay provides protected and calm water for novice paddlers and by going under the railroad bridges, paddlers can access Lake Monona and the rest of the Yahara Chain. The old Beach House used to be the most popular beach in Madison with over 200 rentable bathing suits. The park and beach went into a state of decline and the building had not been used in over 20 years.

Since opening, Brittingham Boats has invested $58,532 in the building and grounds to bring the decapitated building to code and make it functional.  This investment has made a major impact on the neighborhood. The police saw a 63% decrease in calls and we were very excited to have it become an unofficial neighborhood meeting house. We have established a food for trash program for the homeless that live in the area and all over the park and the lake is once again filled with life.

New Board Members

The CLA would like to welcome new members to the Community Board.

Stephen_AlesStephen Ales, the new Water Leader at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is now filling the seat formerly held by Lloyd Eagan, following her retirement from the position. Welcome Steve, and thank you, Lloyd, for your contributions to the Board.

Steve oversees the field implementation of Water Division programs including Drinking Water and Groundwater, Wastewater, Water Regulation and Zoning, Water Quality, Runoff, and Fish.

Steve has a BS in Geology from the University of Iowa and an MS in Water Resources Management from the UW-Madison. He has been with the DNR for over 27 years working in the Solid Waste, Remediation & Redevelopment, and the Drinking Water and Groundwater Programs.

Sharon_CorriganSupervisor Sharon Corrigan of Middleton was elected in April 2014 as the new Chair of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, and now sits on the CLA Community Board. We would like to thank former chair John Hendrick for his contributions to the Board and welcome Sharon to the role!

In addition to being the board chair and District 26 Supervisor, Sharon is also a member of the Criminal Justice Council, a member of the Lakes & Watershed Commission, and former chair of the Commission’s Executive Committee.

Sharon has a MA in International Studies from the University of Denver and a BA in Law & Government from the University of St Frances.

rebecca_powerRebecca Power is the new Chair of the Lakes & Watershed Commission, and as such now fills the position on the CLA Community Board that was held by former chairs Melissa Malott, and Lyle Updike in the interim. We are grateful that Melissa and Lyle remain on the CLA Community Board as Dane County Executive Designee and Dane County Towns Association Designee, respectively.

Rebecca is the co-director of the UW-Extension’s Great Lakes Regional Water program, and is the owner and art photographer of Rebecca Power Images. She previously worked for the UW-Extension as a watershed educator and water resources specialist. Rebecca has worked in the fields of environmental science and outreach for over 17 years, including time at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rebecca has a degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Welcome to the Community Board, Rebecca!

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!

In the news – the Capital Times & Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism “Murky Waters” series

You might have seen the recent series of articles in the Capital Times, entitled “Murky Waters”, that focused on lake issues. The four-part series was produced collaboratively by The Capital Times and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Learn more about the challenges and opportunities that face our lakes, and watch for mentions of CLA’s role in the watershed.