Lake-O-Gram Vol. IV Issue 4


Healthy Lakes. Healthy Community.

Volume IV, Issue 4

memorial-union-terrace_stripHere at the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) office, we are counting down the days (and maybe even the minutes) until summer. Technically, there are still 19 days to go, but you don’t have to wait until 5:52 a.m. on June 21st to enjoy the lakes… just look at all the lake lovers on the Terrace!

Read on for updates on our water quality monitoring program, our lake user survey, information about summer lake events, and highlights of CLA and the lakes in the news!

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.

Table of Contents

Lake User Survey

Citizen Monitoring

Spotlight on Lake Mendota

Summer Lake Events Calendar – Highlights

In the News

New CLA Community Board Members

Become a Friend

Lake User Survey

Watch for volunteers in this shirt!

Watch for volunteers in this shirt!

We’re excited to announce the launch of a CLA survey targeted at lake users this summer. This watershed-wide study will take place at public beaches, boat landings, and lakeside parks between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and the information will be used to evaluate public perceptions and the economic value of our lakes to the community. We’ll also be sharing our results with UW-Madison researchers in the Long Term Ecological Research Program and the Water Sustainability and Climate Project to contribute to their body of work and future research on the value of our lakes.

As you swim, boat and fish this summer, please keep your eye out for CLA interns and volunteers, and take 5 minutes to complete a survey. Interested in volunteering to administer the surveys? 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.

Citizen Monitoring

katie monitoring2014 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.

Spotlight on Lake Mendota

fishing_photoWhat a beautiful weekend we enjoyed! The lakes were bustling with sailboats, fishing boats, wake boarders and water skiers, and the beaches were hopping with people of all ages out for a swim. The lakes were crystal clear with perfect temperatures, and on Lake Mendota, those conditions were the answer to the question many had been asking — when will the lake hit its clear-water phase?

Click over to read an interesting and informative blog post from the UW-Madison Center for Limnology that explores the question of why Lake Mendota’s clear water phase was delayed.

UW Center for Limnology Blog Post: Clear-Water Phase: Are We Missing Lake Mendota’s Window?

Summer Lake Events Calendar – Highlights

CLA Events

Yahara Lakes 101 with Dr. Calvin DeWitt

DeWitt_Calvin_hs07_9421What role do wetlands play in the condition of our lakes? Find out at the next Yahara Lakes 101. The Yahara chain of lakes follows the course of a deep, ancient valley: what does that mean for our lakes? Please join us for Dr. Calvin DeWitt’s Yahara Lakes 101 presentation on “Sustaining Yahara Lakes and Waterscapes: Functions of Their Wetland Systems Above a Buried Bedrock Valley”.

When: Thursday, June 12 from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.

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

RSVP (required)

Loop the Lake

loop-the-lake-400x400Please join us for Loop the Lake, our 2nd annual scenic bike ride around Lake Monona to highlight our community’s lakeshore bike paths and to support CLA’s lake improvement and protection efforts. The ride occurs the morning of the Clean Lakes Festival and will finish at the festival grounds. Loop the Lake is a relaxed fun-ride, not a race! Perfect for all ages and abilities.

When: Saturday, July 26, starting at 10 a.m.

Where: Lake Loop Scenic Bike Route on Lake Monona; ride begins on the bike path next to Machinery Row Bicycles and ends at Law Park for the Clean Lakes Festival.

Clean Lakes Festival

clean-lakes-festivalJoin us at the annual Clean Lakes Festival for boat rides, ski shows, music, and more! The festival is where the Clean Lakes Alliance got its start, and it raises public awareness about opportunities for recreation on the lakes while supporting CLA’s lake improvement and protection efforts. The festival offers something fun for everyone, so please join us for a day of great times on the lake.

If you would like to exhibit at the Discovery Center at the festival, please contact Heidi Debruin at

When: Saturday, July 26

Where: Law Park

Partner Events

Wingra Boats Duck Dash

Join Wingra Boats and CLA on Saturday, June 14th for the first annual Duck Dash paddle and run—a family friendly “fun run” style event, with proceeds supporting the CLA’s youth outdoor education programs. Start out paddling a canoe, kayak, or standup paddleboard (SUP) from Vilas Park to Wingra Park, then either walk 2k or trail run 8k through the UW Arboretum, ending back at Vilas Park. Register ahead to reserve your spot.

Community Events

Wisdom Prairie Project

Support our lakes by supporting our prairies! Holy Wisdom Monastery is excited to feature members of Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society at the annual Prairie Rhapsody benefit concert. Ticket sales benefit the Wisdom Prairie Project at Holy Wisdom Monastery– an effort to acquire and restore an additional 53 acres to native prairie in order to conserve open space and protect our lakes. Please join us for an evening of tasty food and beverages, a silent auction, chocolate tasting and ‘chamber music with a bang!’

When: Thursday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m. Register by June 13.

Where: Holy Wisdom Monastery

Learn more about the Wisdom Prairie project and register to attend the Prairie Rhapsody Benefit Concert.

Pontoon Boat Program – Madison School & Community Recreation

Have you ever looked at the beautiful lakes in Madison and wanted to get out on the water? The MSCR Pontoon Boat Program was created just for you! MSCR offers drop-in boat rides, boat rentals and specialty trips and events. For pricing and to reserve a ride, please visit the MSCR website and fill out the Pontoon Rental Request Form. The program begins in May and continues on until late September, and trips begin at Tenney Boat Pier at 1615 Sherman Avenue.

Brittingham Boats SUP-Cup

Get out on the lakes with the SUP-Cup! On Thursday nights this summer at Brittingham Boats, check out the Stand Up Paddleboard race series for the recreational and competitive paddlers among you! 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

iron-manThe IRONMAN Wisconsin is looking for boat and personal water craft volunteers. Please mention that you are volunteering on behalf of the Clean Lakes Alliance when you sign up. Register to volunteer online!

When: Sunday, September 7 from 5:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Where: Lake Monona (Law Park)

In the News

Wisconsin State Journal Editorial

“Nothing says summer in Madison like a sunny day by the lakes.” The Wisconsin State Journal ran an editorial on Sunday, May 25 that highlighted the importance of our local lakes and the value of protection efforts by CLA and our community partners. Click below to read.

Wisconsin State Journal - “Love your lakes and keep them clean”

Lakes on the Evening News

Heavy rains this past Tuesday, May 27, put a spotlight on our lakes. Local news outlets WISC-TV/Channel 3000 and NBC15 Madison featured the CLA and the impact of runoff on our lakes in their Wednesday evening broadcasts.

anchor_monitoring_2NBC15 news anchor Max Hess waded on in – literally – to investigate water clarity with the CLA. Watch below to see how debris from the streets can end up in our lakes, and to learn about the importance of reducing runoff.

NBC15 Madison – “Taking a look at water quality in Madison lakes”

channel-3000_captureThis WISC-TV/Channel 3000 segment puts the focus on the value of the lakes to our community, as well as the importance of addressing urban runoff that is aggravated by storm events.

WISC-TV/Channel 3000 – “Heavy rains threaten Madison lakes with pollutants”

“Murky Water” 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.

Promotional Section in Madison Magazine

Be sure to check out the June issue of the Madison Magazine for the special promotional section on the Clean Lakes Alliance.

New CLA Community Board Members

The Community Board is composed of key stakeholders, business leaders and experts with the common goal of reducing phosphorus pollution within the Yahara watershed. The Board serves in an advisory role, offering guidance and reviewing the overall path and progress of the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction, including project prioritization, funding and execution.

We are pleased to have welcomed several new members to the Community Board over the last few months. Please join us in welcoming Lauren Azar, Fred Klancnik, Paul Robbins, Eric Schmidt, and Robert Weber. Please visit the community board page to read their biographies.

New Board Photos

Additionally, those holding positions with our local government sit on the board. New South Water District Water Leader at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stephen Ales, new Dane County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Corrigan, and new Dane County Lakes & Watershed Commission Chair Rebecca Power have all recently joined the CLA Community Board. Welcome to our new members — we’re looking forward to partnering with you for the lakes.


Become a Friend

Friends-of-Clean-Lakes-LogoThe CLA works to protect and improve the water quality of the Yahara watershed. We accomplish this with the support of lake advocates like you! If you want to get involved, please consider becoming a Friend of Clean Lakes today.

Lake-o-Gram Vol. IV Issue 3 :: Breakfast Recap, 2013 State of the Lakes Report

lake-O-gram-header-1Mallards and loons and paddlers, oh my! As the weather warms up and the skies clear, there are plenty of opportunities for lake-lovers (like us!) to get outside.

Please read below for a brief digest of our upcoming programs & events, including a recap of the 3rd annual Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast and a link to the 2013 State of the Lakes report.

P.S. Be sure to watch the three new videos premiered at the Breakfast: The State of the Lakes; Schooling for Cleaner Lakes; Projects & Progress in the Watershed

Table of Contents

Save Our Lakes Breakfast Recap
Announcing the 2013 State of the Lakes Report
Summer Volunteer Opportunities
Yahara Lakes 101 – This Thursday!
Crazy 4 Lakes Run/Walk Recap
The Time is Now!
In the Community

Save Our Lakes Breakfast Recap

Over 600 community members joined us bright and early at the Monona Terrace on Friday, April 25th for the 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.

We heard from interesting and inspiring speakers on three main topics, with each talk followed by a video produced by Studio 88 (see links below).

The State of the Lakes

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 have been trending up, 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 decrease.

Schooling for Cleaner Lakes

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 and 100state, announced by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

Projects & Progress in the 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 – click the link above.

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 for details about Spectrum’s commitment to the lakes and for the opportunity to get a special discount code for Spectrum Brands products valid until 5/26/14.

Announcing the 2013 State of the Lakes report

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 10.59.50 AM

We presented the 2013 State of the Lakes report at the Save Our Lakes breakfast on Friday, April 25th. The report is now available online in four sections.

In the report, we present the 2013 State of the Lakes that aggregates information from many different government organizations and research institutions on the current status of water quality, highlights many of the phosphorus-reduction projects that were accomplished in the last year, and illustrates the progress we’ve made towards our goal. In addition, we provide more information about CLA and our efforts to engage the community and advocate for the lakes. Our intention is that the report will be a reference and a resource that highlights community progress towards cleaner, healthier lakes for all.

Yahara Lakes 101 – Emily Stanley, “Yahara Long Term Ecological Research: Trends & Patterns”

Please join us this Thursday, May 8, in welcoming Dr. Emily Stanley to Yahara Lakes 101 (YL101) for her presentation on “Yahara Long Term Ecological Research: Trends & Patterns”. Dr. Stanley is the lead principal investigator of the North Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research program at University of Wisconsin, and is a professor for the UW Department of Zoology and the Center for Limnology. In addition, Dr. Stanley has active research projects that consider large scale and long-term changes in lake water quality and carbon cycling in streams.


DATE: Thursday, May 8, 2014

7:30 a.m. – coffee, pastries & fruit
8 a.m. – presentation
9 a.m. – Q & A

LOCATION: Bluephies Café at the Verex Plaza (150 E. Gilman St.), located on level B.

PRICE: Admission is $10 at the door or free to Friends of Clean Lakes. Become a Friend today for a minimum of $35. Please register in advance!



Dr. Stanley will talk about the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research Project, including the history of this program, what we study in the Madison lakes, and some representative examples of physical, chemical, and biological changes that have been unfolding in these lakes over the past and current decades.

The UW Center for Limnology is learning a great deal about changes in phosphorus loads to the lakes, and other trends are becoming apparent that may provide additional scientific and management challenges.

See the Yahara Lakes 101 page for more information about the series and for more details about the presentation, as well as where to park.

Summer Volunteer Opportunities

Lake-use Survey Conductors
We are looking for volunteers to help administer brief surveys at public beaches, boat landings and lakeside parks. The information will be used as part of a watershed-wide study to evaluate public perceptions and the economic value of our lakes to the larger community. Surveys will be conducted between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Lake-access locations, days and time blocks can be tailored to each volunteer’s availability. To learn more about this volunteer opportunity, contact Paul Dearlove at 255-1000 or

Citizen Water Quality Monitors
CLA is expanding its highly successful beach and end-of-pier monitoring pilot program.  Launched in 2013, this initiative seeks to collect real-time information on near-shore water quality conditions around each of the five Yahara lakes.  We currently have a few volunteer openings left to fill.  If you’ve always wondered about the water quality off your pier or at your favorite swimming area, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss.  Tap into your inner lake scientist and help CLA track blue-green algal blooms and other beach-health indicators.  Act soon because our training sessions are filling up fast.  If interested, contact Katie Van Gheem at 255-1000 or

Crazy 4 Lakes Team a success at CrazyLegs

We want to give a BIG thanks to all the Crazylegs Crazy 4 Lakes Team participants that supported CLA through the form of pledges and community engagement. We couldn’t have asked for better weather to run for our lakes — the day was filled with warm weather and sunshine. Prizes will be awarded to the team members that collected pledges ($35 minimum). To claim your prizes, please send your pledges and form to the Clean Lakes Alliance at 150 E. Gilman St., Ste. 2600 Madison, WI 53703.

The Time is Now!


Between now and May 26th, individuals who donate to CLA (by becoming a Friend of Clean Lakes or joining the 63 Club, among other options) by using the link below will receive a special discount code for 30% off Spectrum Brands products valid until 5/26/14.
The time is now!

In the Community

Yahara 2070

What kind of future do we want for the Yahara Watershed? Join a discussion of our region’s future at the launch of Yahara 2070 on May 14, 2014.

Yahara 2070 is an exploration of possible futures for the people, lakes, and ecosystems of the Yahara Watershed, the region that shares Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa. The project combines rigorous science, public input, and “out-of-the-box” thinking to create a set of ecological scenarios for the Yahara Watershed in the year 2070.

An investigation of the question “what if…”, the scenarios provide fictitious but plausible stories about the future of the region’s ecosystems and human well-being, based on a range of possible social and environmental changes. These stories can help communities and decision makers envision and plan for a desirable future.

This event is the debut of a suite of research results that will emerge over the course of 2014 and 2015. Yahara 2070 is part of the UW-Madison’s Water Sustainability and Climate Project, a five-year interdisciplinary project funded by the National Science Foundation.

Date: Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Time: 3:00pm-5:00pm, reception with food and beverage to follow
Place: Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, H.F. DeLuca Forum, 330 N. Orchard St. Madison

This event is free and open to the public.

Register here:

• Chris Kucharik, Lead Principal Investigator and Associate Professor, Agronomy and Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, UW-Madison
• Steve Carpenter, Principal Investigator and Director, Center for Limnology, UW-Madison

Following the presentation, a panel of local leaders will discuss the region’s future:
• Steve Carpenter, Director, Center for Limnology, UW-Madison
• Donald Heilman, President, Clean Lakes Alliance
• Melissa Malott, Executive Assistant, Office of Dane County Executive Parisi
• Brennan Nardi, Editor, Madison Magazine
• Moderator: Zac Schultz, Producer/Reporter, Wisconsin Public Television

Learn more about the Water Sustainability and Climate Project at

Register for the Duck Dash

Join Wingra Boats and CLA for the first annual Duck Dash paddle and run — a family friendly “fun run” style event supporting the youth outdoor education programs of the CLA.  Start out paddling a canoe, kayak, or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) from Vilas Park to Wingra Park, then either walk 2k or trail run 8k through the UW Arboretum, ending back at Vilas Park.  Register today at:

Media Advisory – Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast; 2013 State of the Lakes Report


April 23, 2014

Contact: James Tye, Co-Founder/Vice President
Clean Lakes Alliance
Office: (608) 255-1000
Cell: (608) 628-6655

The Clean Lakes Alliance Hosts 3rd Annual Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast
and Release of the 2013 State of the Lakes Report

The Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) is holding the 3rd Annual Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast this Friday, April 25th at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. This event, which will host over 600 members of the community, is a community celebration of the lakes and the annual meeting of the CLA.

Save Our Lakes was created to bring the community together to review each year’s progress towards cleaner, healthier lakes. This event is a time to celebrate and assess the past year, and to launch new programs and initiatives for the year ahead. It is a friend-raiser and a fundraiser for the CLA, raising support and funds to continue its efforts to protect and improve water quality in the Yahara River watershed.

Presentations include the 2013 State of the Lakes Report, which includes a report on the state of the Yahara lakes, phosphorus-reduction project highlights, and the CLA Annual Report. The program will feature videos showcasing partners from government, business, and the community in their clean lakes efforts. Speakers include Dr. Steve Carpenter, Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology; Brennan Nardi, editor of Madison Magazine; Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive; and Dave Lumley, CEO of Spectrum Brands.

The event will also feature mobiles of over 1000 life-sized fish suspended in the lake-themed exhibition hall, a work of art produced through the community art initiative Schooling for Cleaner Lakes, a partnership between CLA, American Family Insurance DreamBank, and over 80 schools and community groups. The fish have been designed and decorated by community members inspired by their lakes as a way to celebrate our watershed and draw attention to what lives in our lakes.

Walk-in registration will be available the morning of the event starting at 7 a.m., and the breakfast will run from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Media are welcome to attend to cover the event.

The Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast is presented by Spectrum Brands, and sponsored by Alliant Energy, American Transmission Company, CG Schmidt, Foley & Lardner LLP, American Family Insurance DreamBank, Lands’ End, and Yahara Lakes Association.

For more information go to the Save Our Lakes website:


Lake-O-Gram Vol. IV Issue 2



As the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”. April, and the coming of spring, also brings the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) new opportunities to continue protecting and improving our lakes! This Lake-o-Gram highlights upcoming events and programs, as well as recent announcements to share with the community. The CLA thanks all those who support its efforts.

- The CLA Team

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 2.14.31 PM

Please join us on Thursday, April 10, 2014 in welcoming back Dr. Doug Soldat, associate professor of soil science at UW-Madison, to Yahara Lakes 101 (YL101) for his presentation “Lawn Care, Soils and Water Quality”. Dr. Soldat was our very first YL101 speaker last May, and we are happy to welcome him back to the podium this spring.

DATE: Thursday, April 10, 2014

7:30 am – Coffee, pastries & fruit
8:00 am – Presentation
9:00 am – Q & A
LOCATION: Bluephies Café at Verex Building
(150 E. Gilman St.) Located on Level B

Admission is $10 at the door or free to Friends of Clean Lakes. Become a Friend today!

Doug will provide information on: 
  • How green lawns and clean lakes need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, dense vegetation can play an important role in protecting surface waters from nutrient runoff.
  • How soil properties and the negative consequences of over-management play a critical but often overlooked role in environmental protection and pollution.
  • The primary pathways of nutrient losses from urban environments and discuss some practical and effective strategies for keeping nutrients out of the lake.

About Doug:
Dr. Doug Soldat is a Wisconsin native and a Ph.D. associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Soil Science, specializing in turfgrass and urban soil management. He earned a Ph.D. at Cornell University studying how phosphorus is lost from lawns. At Wisconsin, he advises the students in the turfgrass and grounds maintenance program, and teaches three classes including “Turfgrass Nutrient and Water Management” and “Lawns, Society and the Environment”. His research program focuses on finding ways to maintain turfgrass for optimum function using fewer inputs of nutrients, pesticides and water.

*Please Note*

PARKING: Please park in James Madison Park or in parking ramps listed below. No Parking on East Gilman St. from 8 a.m. to noon and in the Verex Plaza surface lot or underground lot.


The Save Our Lakes event is a community breakfast and the annual meeting of the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA). Save Our Lakes was created to bring the community together to review our progress towards cleaner, healthier lakes. This event is a time to celebrate and assess the past year and to launch new programs and initiatives for the year ahead. Presentations include the State of the Lakes report– the community report card for water quality in the Yahara lakes – and the CLA Annual Report, presented this year as a combined report.

DATE: Friday, April 25, 2014

TIME: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center,
Main Exhibit Hall

$1,000 per table of 10
$100 per seat
$35 per student seat

This year’s theme is “Schooling for Cleaner Lakes”. Just like fish that school together in the same direction, this theme recognizes that many groups and entities are working toward a shared goal of cleaner lakes.

SCHOOLINGFORCLEANERLAKESWHITEThis spring, the CLA and American Family Insurance DreamBank invited the public to participate in the Schooling for Cleaner Lakes community art project. The idea for this initiative, designed to increase understanding of our lake ecosystems, materialized in response to an exhibit at DreamBank that identified “clean lakes” as a top priority for the Madison community. The CLA and DreamBank encourage dreamers of all ages to participate in their hands-on, creative project. For more information, please visit the Schooling for Cleaner Lakes page.

2014 Breakfast Speakers:

Many thanks to our 2014 Breakfast Sponsors & Captains!
Current Table Sponsors: 
Border Patrol of WI Inc., CG SchmidtCity of MononaCUNA Mutual Group, First Weber Group,  Foley & Lardner LLP, Friends of Lake Kegonsa, Glenn Reinl & Sara Krebsbach,
SOL 2013 recap pictures

Join the Crazy 4 Lakes Team as part of the Crazylegs Classic for an 8K run or a 2 Mile walk in support of healthy lakes and a healthy community!
The Crazylegs Classic is a historic race that raises money to support Wisconsin Athletics, and the Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) encourages participants to run or walk as part of the Crazy 4 Lakes Team to also show support for lake improvement and protection and raise funds to support the CLA and its initiatives. This is an opportunity to advocate for the health of both people and our lakes and raise funds to advance the CLA mission.
DATE: Saturday, April 26, 2014

10:00 am

LOCATION: The Crazylegs Classic takes runners and walkers from the Capitol Square to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI

1. Go to

2. Click ‘Register Now’ at the top right of the Crazylegs Classic homepage.

3. Follow the registration prompts to register with an Existing/Past Fun & Fitness Team. You will need the following information to join:

  1. Team Name: Clean Lakes Alliance, “Crazy 4 Lakes”

  2. Password: watershed

4. The fee for runners is $40 and $25 for walkers. You must register by April 14th to join our team. We ask that participants share the CLA’s vision with the community and ask for support in the form of pledges.


5. Prizes will be awarded to Team members that collect pledges.


UW-Madison Nelson Institute’s Earth Day Conference


earthdayspeakersFeaturing guest speakers, actress and activist Rosario Dawson, British science fiction author China Miéville, Director Kevin Noone of the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences.

The CLA’s very own Director of Policy & Communications Elizabeth Katt-Reinders will be speaking on a panel about innovation in watershed management.


DATE: Tuesday April 22, 2014

TIME: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center

PRICING:  General: $55, Student $25


According to UW-Madison Nelson Institute, we’ve entered a new geologic epoch called the Anthropocene, “the age of humans”, requiring new strategies for conservation and human well-being. Earth: To Be Determined will explore challenges and opportunities presented by rapid, large-scale changes in the global environment, including implications for energy and climate, water quality, human health, urban development, our changing demographics and more.  For more information:

Come visit our booth at the following events!

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s neXXpo:

DATE: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
TIME: 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Alliant Energy Center
PRICING:  All Day Ticket, GA: $75, Member: $49

2014 Isthmus Green Day:

DATE: Saturday, April 26, 2014
TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center
PRICING: FREE to the public



CLA Logo 2012 195w

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.

Lake-O-Gram Vol. IV Issue 1

log lakeogram lake o gram

Welcome to the first Lake-o-Gram of 2014!

Snowmelt season is upon us, and spring is right around the corner! As we wrap up a [very long] season of enjoying our frozen lakes with cross country skiing, ice skating and ice fishing, we’re excited to look ahead to the thaw. Here at Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA), we’re gearing up for spring programming and projects, and we hope you get involved. Read on for more on these opportunities.

In Partnership,

The Clean Lakes Alliance Team

UPCOMING – Save Our Lakes Breakfast

Save Our Lakes Recap Photos with LogoPlease mark your calendars for the upcoming Save Our Lakes Breakfast, a community breakfast and the annual meeting of the CLA. Save Our Lakes was created to bring the community together to review our progress towards cleaner, healthier lakes. This event is anopportunity to celebrate and assess the past year and to launch new programs and initiatives for the year ahead. Presentations include the State of the Lakes Report – the community report card for water quality in the Yahara lakes – and the Clean Lakes Alliance Annual Report.

The objectives of the Save Our Lakes Breakfast are to report progress on lake cleanup initiatives, build alliances with local companies and organizations, procure funding for action and implementation, educate the community about how we can clean up our lakes and advocate for watershed awareness.

This year’s theme is “Schooling for Cleaner Lakes”. Just like fish that school together in the same direction, this theme recognizes that many groups and entities are working together towards a shared goal of cleaner lakes.  This spring, the CLA and American Family Insurance DreamBank are inviting the public to participate in a Schooling for Cleaner Lakes community art project. This project is designed to increase understanding of our lake ecosystems. The idea for this initiative materialized in response to an exhibit at DreamBank that identified “clean lakes” as a top priority for the Madison community.

Schooling for Cleaner Lakes

schoolingforcleanerlakesThe CLA and American Family Insurance DreamBank encourage dreamers of all ages to participate in their hands-on, creative community art project. Participants are invited to decorate life-size cutouts of fish chosen to represent the Yahara lakes, which will be proudly displayed at venues throughout the Madison area. Clean lakes enthusiasts are welcome to pick up their project materials at DreamBank, 1 N Pinckney St, in Madison, starting on Monday, March 3.

The decorated fish are due back to DreamBank on Friday, April 4. The kits will be voted on by local judges and prizes will be awarded to the most creatively decorated boxes of fish cutouts.  The CLA will award $250 to the top grade school and top middle/high school kit and award $500 to the top community kit.


These life-size fish will then be transformed into mobiles, which will be presented on Friday, April 25 at the CLA’s Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, accompanying the release of the State of the Yahara Lakes report. Winners will be awarded at the event and mobiles will be displayed throughout the community after the event.

Yahara Lakes 101

Greg_FriesThis month’s Yahara Lakes 101 on Thursday, March 13, features the topic of urban runoff and flooding, presented by Madison’s Storm and Sanitary Principal Engineer Greg Fries. This event will be a great opportunity to get informed about why controlling urban runoff is absolutely vital to protecting our water systems.

Greg will examine and discuss the primary issues and concerns with respect to urban stormwater runoff, and the challenges of managing both water quality and flooding at the municipal level. He will also provide information regarding the primary pollutants in urban stormwater runoff, and what the City of Madison is doing to reduce stormwater runoff pollutants and flooding in flood-prone areas.

RECAP- Dennis Frame’s talk on “Manure Management and Ag Innovation”

Dennis Frame at Yahara Lakes 101On Thursday, February 13, Dennis Frame was the featured guest speaker at our monthly Yahara Lakes 101 science café series. Dennis is a Professor Emiritus of UW-Extension and Yahara Pride Farms’ (YPF) Conservation Resource Manager. At the beginning of his “Manure Management and Ag Innovation” talk, Dennis welcomed the audience to challenge him with questions, interruptions or clarifications. The result was an engaging discussion about the unique opportunities and challenges of dairy farming in Dane County.

The topic of the talk was timely, as late winter is a crucial time for manure management. Mr. Frame explained that early winter snow is typically light and not densely packed, which increases the chance that manure spread will be able to come in contact with the soil. In late winter to early spring, however, snow has usually gone through several thawing cycles and is typically denser, and soil may be in an impermeable “concrete frost” state or be covered in an ice crust. As a result, nutrients from manure spread during mid to late winter are much less likely to be retained and more likely to run off into nearby waterways.

Dennis explained that Dane County is fortunate to have very strong farms and knowledgeable farmers committed to best management of their land. Since Dane County land prices are comparatively high and grain prices are strong, those who work in the dairy industry often do so by choice rather than necessity, and most often have a long family history in dairy and strong knowledge base.

To witness the expertise of our Yahara Lakes 101 speakers first-hand, please pre-register on the CLA’s website. Presentations are held in Bluephies cafe at the Verex Plaza, 150 East Gilman Street, on the second Thursday of every month. Meet and greet begins at 7:30 a.m. with the presentation from 8-9 a.m. with Q&A following. Admission to one event is $10 for the general public and free to all 2014 CLA donors. Coffee, pastries and fruit are provided.

Yahara Pride Farms

2014 Winter Manure Workshop

Watershed stakeholders at the YPF Winter Manure Workshop.

Over the past few years, CLA’s agricultural affiliate organization, Yahara Pride Farms (YPF), has built a tremendous amount of momentum and recognition around sustainability in agriculture. This success is largely due to their focus on education. While the ground is still snow covered and the planting equipment is still stored in the shed, YPF is busy engaging the Yahara watershed communities in educational programs that advance conservation in the watershed.

On a snowy Thursday last month, Yahara watershed producers gathered at Rex’s Innkeeper in Waunakee for an educational Manure Management Workshop. Todd Stuntebeck from United States Geological Survey (USGS) began by explaining the importance of USGS water quality monitoring in identifying crucial phosphorus runoff periods. This information is essential for helping producers implement best management practices for their manure management activities.

Professor Emeritus of UW-Extension and YPF’s Conservation Resource Manager, Dennis Frame, continued to reinforce the need for best management practices during these critical runoff periods. Dennis led an open forum with the producers on how winter manure spreading could be reduced in their operations. The interactive discussion yielded useful solutions that will be implemented in upcoming years.

This month watershed stakeholders will gather at Lake Windsor Golf Club for their Watershed-wide Conference, Building on our Progress, to learn from industry experts about new technologies for securing phosphorus to the landscape, with a focus on cover crops. The conference is a valuable opportunity for producers, government workers, and agribusinesses to gain more knowledge and understanding of the economic and environmental benefits of these new technologies. These technologies will be explained with the opportunity to ask questions and sign up for demonstrations. An update on the Yahara watershed and YPF will also be a highlight of the conference.

As a young, growing organization, YPF has already witnessed the impact of their focus on education and action. Just this year, YPF helped secure over 3,000 pounds of phosphorus to the landscape through conservation practices and innovative technologies. Soon the snow will be melting, tractors will be tuned for fieldwork and YPF members will be working towards keeping phosphorus on their fields and out of our waterways with their improved best management practices.

UPCOMING – World Water Week – Madison

world water week logo

$1 Today for Cleaner Lakes Tomorrow

Please join us as we celebrate World Water Week Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 30 at participating local restaurants. During this week, the CLA is partnering with local businesses to raise awareness and financial support for clean water.

Through this program, we recognize that all water is connected. From the aquifers that provide our tap water, to the lakes and streams we all enjoy, we must protect our water to protect our quality of life.

While dining, customers will be invited to donate $1 for tap water normally provided free of charge. These donations support the CLA’s efforts to improve water quality in the Yahara watershed, including citizen monitoring, watershed education and water quality improvement projects, all in line with our goal to achieve a 50% phosphorus load reduction in our watershed by 2025.

Restaurants that choose to participate position themselves as community leaders raising support for clean water in Dane County. Restaurants that sign up (please fill out this short form online) by Wednesday, March 12th will be provided with outreach materials and featured in a variety of promotional materials, including advertisements in the Isthmus.

New Phosphorus Bill

In late January, new phosphorus compliance legislation was introduced to the Wisconsin state legislature. The CLA testified in front of Assembly and Senate committees to share our concerns about the bill’s unintended consequences for the Yahara lakes. The legislators took our concerns seriously from the start, worked with us to find a compromise, and then introduced amendments that keep our watershed on track for cleaner lakes. While there are still some concerns for impacts statewide, the CLA views the amendments as a win for our watershed.

The amended bill has passed the Assembly and the Senate, and the governor is expected to sign it into law this spring.

Citizen Water Quality Monitoring

citizen-water-monitoring-1It is (almost) that time of year again. Starting in April, we will begin to meet with and train returning and new Citizen Water Quality Monitoring volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out a volunteer form on our website. Be sure to specify that you are interested in Citizen Water Quality Monitoring by responding “Yes” to the “Interested in helping in field” question.

For more details about the program, please visit the program page on our website.

WE Badger Volunteers

The CLA is thrilled to welcome our WE Badger Volunteer (WEBV) teams on board for the 2014 Spring semester. The WEBV program provides UW-Madison undergraduate and graduate students a hands-on opportunity to become more involved in key environmental issues in the Madison community. Here at the CLA, our volunteers engage in numerous outdoor and indoor projects ranging from water quality monitoring and lakeshore clean up, to assisting with program and outreach. Volunteers dedicate three hours of their time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to support the CLA’s efforts to improve and protect the lakes, streams and wetlands of the Yahara Watershed. Thanks, WEBVs!

WE Badger Volunteer Teams Spring 2014

(L to R) Emily Blum, Sawyer Olson, Emily Yoss (Mon.); Sarah Petri, Noratikah Ali, Emily Czaikowski (Weds.); Barrett Clausen, Holly Henriksen (Fri.)

Monday Team:
Emily Yoss (team captain) is a senior studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is interested in water resource management, water remediation, snow skiing and reading.
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “The endless activities and recreation fun that can be done on the lakes: swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, etc!”
Emily Blum is a freshman studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is interested in hydrology, music and reading.
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “How it brings people together for entertainment, sports and provides a peaceful spot to rest.”
Sawyer Olson is a freshman studying Journalism and Political Science. He is interested in policy, music and acting.
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “Scenic views!”

Wednesday Team
Emily Czaikowski (Team Captain) is a senior studying Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a certificate in Environmental Studies. She is interested in climate science, non-profit management, and conservation.
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “Beautiful views! I love all the walking paths surrounding the lakes.”
Noratikah Ali is a junior studying Actuarial Science. She is interested in statistics, management and the environment (conservation).
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “Clean and plenty of activities to do.”
Sarah Petri is a sophomore studying Environmental Studies and German. She is interested in community engagement and policies/conservation (…and chocolate).
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “They are accessible to everyone and can be used all year round for a number of activities, whether it’s swimming, sailing, ice fishing or ice skating!”

Friday Team
Holly Henriksen (Team Captain) is a junior studying Wildlife Ecology and Environmental Studies with a certificate in African Studies. She is interested in education, sustainability and recreation.
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “The access all Madison citizens have to enjoy them, all seasons of the year!”
Barrett Clausen is a senior studying Spanish and Geography. She is interested in water quality, languages and sustainability.
What’s the best thing about our area lakes? “How heavily used they are! I love visiting them in the summer and seeing all of the activity. I think that the lakes in the Yahara watershed are a huge part of what makes Madison an awesome place to live.”

Frozen Assets Recap

We are happy to announce that this year’s Frozen Assets brought in a net profit of $45,000 for our area lakes. These funds help us engage residents of the watershed, implement phosphorus reduction projects and report community progress.

Become a Friend of the CLA

1963 club logo

Interested in joining our efforts to protect and improve the Yahara lakes?
Become a Friend of Clean Lakes for a minimum of $35 a year, or take your support a step further and join the 1963 Club — Friends of Clean Lakes who commit to a monthly recurring donation to support our efforts towards cleaner lakes! Thank you for your support.

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 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 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

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,

James Tye, Vice President,

Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Policy & Program Director,

Rachel Fossum, Program & Outreach Coordinator,

Rebecca Krumholz, Program & Outreach Coordinator,