Blog

Frozen Assets on Land

Clean Lakes Alliance’s Frozen Assets Festival is ON!

Lake Mendota ice activities moved on land February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd

Madison’s favorite winter festival is moving forward with a full slate of activities scheduled for the first weekend of February at The Edgewater. Warm temperatures and a virtually snowless winter have left Lake Mendota’s ice cover in question for the February Frozen Assets Festival, presented by Lands’ End. But even if the ice is off, the FESTIVAL IS ON!

“Our number one goal every year is safety,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye. “We of course always want to be able to use Lake Mendota – our largest ‘frozen asset’ – for our festival, but we have a great partnership with The Edgewater allowing us to hold events even if a changing climate takes away our ice.”

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2018 Flooding

Yahara Lakes Water Quality Monitoring – 2018 Results

Overview

From May to September, volunteers at piers and beaches around the five Yahara lakes measured near-shore water clarity, air and water temperature, and noted several visual observations. Visual observations included presence of algal blooms (green/blue-green), floating plant debris, swimmers, waterfowl, wave intensity, and general water appearance. Volunteers were asked to log condition reports at a twice weekly minimum on our website, Lakeforecast.org, where all data are updated in real time.

Highlights

  • 79 near-shore and 7 offshore monitoring stations on all five Yahara lakes (Figure 1)
  • Weekly off-shore measurement of Secchi depth on all five lakes
  • Measured temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles on all five lakes (seven sites total)
  • Weekly monitoring continued at all 25 public beaches
  • 44% increase in number of condition reports from 2017 (Table 1)
  • Collected continuous near-shore temperature measurements at 17 sites on lakes Mendota, Monona, and Waubesa, and Kegonsa
  • Implemented E. coli sampling and cyanobacteria toxin testing pilots
  • Averaged 2.3 condition reports per site each week across all sites
  • Continued weekly Weekend Lake Reports with over 77,000 views on social media

 

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Lake Mendota Ice

This is the start of something big

A message from Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director, James Tye

Dear Friends,

As we close the books on a difficult year for our lakes, I want to take a moment to reflect on what went well, and what we can do to start 2019 off in the right direction.

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Lake Mendota Frozen Dec 2018

It’s Official – ICE ON for Lake Mendota!

Ice on date beats median freeze date by five days

Despite warm weather in Madison over the weekend, cool nights, light winds, and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Saturday, December 15th. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze eight days after the smallest lake in the watershed, Lake Wingra, which officially froze on December 7th. Lake Monona officially froze on December 11th.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over. After ice took shape this weekend, staff waited to see whether it would hold out through the warm daytime temperatures. The December 15th freeze date is 12 days ahead of last year’s December 27th freeze date, and a surprising five days ahead of the December 20th median freeze date. The latest freeze date for Lake Mendota was January 30th – which happened in the winter of 1932.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office makes the official determination as to whether the lake is frozen. The climatologists use the same guidelines they have used for decades to determine whether the lakes are iced over. This allows for a continuity in data collection. Read more: Determining ice cover on Madison’s lakes.

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Lake Explorer Camp 2018

Creating a new generation of lake enthusiasts

Lake Explorer Camp receives Evjue Foundation grant

The Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital Times Company, recently announced grants to 56 nonprofits in Dane County. The latest grant contributions bring the total awarded by the Evjue Foundation in 2018 to $2.3 million. Clean Lakes Alliance’s Lake Explorer Camp is honored to be chosen as one of the grant recipients.

Clean Lakes Alliance will receive $5,000 to support its Lake Explorer Camp. The camp is an opportunity for young people to learn about our lakes and waters. Clean Lakes Alliance believes connections to nature begin to develop in childhood. Children who have educational experiences with our lakes will grow to treasure our waters.

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frozen-sunset-on-lake-mendota

Cold Water, Falling Temperatures, Frozen Forecast

Clean Lakes Alliance annual Mendota Freeze contest open

Winter is quickly approaching. With the cold temperatures, people around Madison start to ask themselves, “When will our lakes freeze?”

“We experienced a colder than normal November in Madison, with temperatures averaging about five degrees below normal,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Meteorologist Karin Swanson. “The forecast for the next week calls for temperatures near or below freezing, which will help lake temperatures continue to fall.”

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Six awards announced at reception and networking event

First ever Clean Lakes Community Awards

Clean Lakes Alliance was pleased to hold its first ever Clean Lakes Community Awards presented by Town Bank on Tuesday, November 27th, 2019. In light of significant challenges facing our lakes, we have been overwhelmed by the community’s response. The awards program recognized outstanding businesses, organizations, and individuals who have made our lakes a top priority.

“I can honestly say, over the last few years, I have seen a big shift towards greater community involvement in lake health,” said Clean Lakes Alliance board chair Lloyd Eagan in address to the audience and awardees.

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Madison FUN Lake Explorers

Connecting children with our Yahara Watershed

Grant Feature #7: Madison Friends of Urban Nature (FUN)

American author, scientist, and conservationist Aldo Leopold once said, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Clean Lakes Alliance knows connections to the land and to our waters begin to develop in childhood. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, Madison Friends of Urban Nature (FUN) is connecting families and children to nature and our Yahara Lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance contributed $1,250 to the effort, helping to expand outdoor learning opportunities that can lead to future generations of caring and knowledgeable lake stewards.

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