Blog

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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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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Leaf Management

Trees are good, right?

Statewide phosphorus reduction credits for leaf collection

Urban trees provide many benefits to our communities. They help us save energy, reduce noise, and improve air quality. Trees are aesthetically pleasing, can increase property value, and provide natural homes for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Trees are also an important part of the earth’s water cycle. Transpiration from plants and trees is released into the atmosphere, and later becomes precipitation. The rain and snow return valuable moisture to our crops and forests, and the cycle continues.

However, trees can cause problems for our lakes if the leaves that fall from them each autumn are not regularly removed from streets and parking lots. When leaves collect on streets, they create a phosphorus-rich “tea” whenever it rains. The rain water passes through the leaf litter, and allows phosphorus to drain from the leaves. The leaf tea washes into storm drains and flows directly into our lakes, causing water quality to deteriorate.

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A busy summer for our lakes

Summer in Madison would not be the same without our lakes. This year, especially, we’ve seen our lakes at their best and their worst due to record rain events, cyanobacteria blooms, and beach closures. Here at Clean Lakes Alliance, the summer is a time to get out and enjoy our lakes while also doubling down on our efforts to protect them. From innovative grant projects, to county policy recommendations, to record-setting engagement, we’ve been hard at work for our lakes this summer, and so have you! Let’s take a look back at some highlights from this lake season.

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Raking

Can garbage trucks help protect our lakes?

A partnership toward leaf management

Clean Lakes Alliance is excited to partner with the City of Madison for this month’s Clean Lakes Grant.

Leaf management is a crucial step toward reducing the amount of phosphorus that reaches our lakes. Through a Clean Lakes Grant awarded for 2018, the City of Madison is working to promote leaf management and leaf-free streets. Clean Lakes Alliance has contributed $4500, which will leverage a $9300 total project budget.

The City of Madison paired with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor phosphorus in the City’s storm drainage system. The study shows a direct correlation between the mass of leaves in the street and the amount of phosphorus reaching our lakes.

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back to the beach sandcastle building

Join Clean Lakes Alliance at Olbrich Park starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 29th for family-friendly beach fun! We’ll have sand, water and supplies for FREE sandcastle building, in honor of our 25 public beaches.

This event is part of Clean Lakes Alliance’s Back to the Beach initiative, supported by Madison Community Foundation’s 75th anniversary Year of Giving. Learn more.

 

message from Paul Soglin

In the City of Madison, we believe that stormwater runoff and the effects associated with it directly impacts the lives of our residents and our entire community, and we work diligently to protect those resources. Often we think of stormwater as a “public works problem,” but this is not always the case.

The more we work on water quality problems, we find that drinking water, stormwater and sewer treatment are linked in real ways by our actions. While it is possible to use the traditional model, it can produce unintended consequences including increased cost.

As we talk about the lakes and water quality today, it is important that we recognize we each have a role in the creation of stormwater runoff, and each of us needs to take part in reducing the impact of our actions.

Recently, Madison Water Utility, City Engineering, and many other partners have begun to create a voluntary certification program working with road salt applicators to reduce the amount of salt applied to parking lots and roads. The goal is to apply an amount needed for safety, because chloride can impact surface waters, wells, and even the sewer treatment plant.

Solutions to this and other stormwater pollutant problems, such as the phosphorous associated with fall leaf collection, may call for some non-traditional public works solutions, including source reduction and engaging the public to help us toward those efforts. This follows a long understood idea that it is better to avoid putting something in the water than it is to try and get it out down the road.

Expect Madison to continue to lead in finding new ways to address common problems like leaf collection and salt reduction. We are all in this together.

 

This message was originally published in May of 2017 for the 2016 State of the Lakes Annual Report.

yahara lakes 101 Ho-Chunk

Learn about Ho-Chunk history in the TeJop, or “four lakes,” region. Dan Brown and Missy Tracy of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison will present an engaging historical overview, including information about the Yahara lakes and river. Please register to join us!

About our speakers

Dan Brown is the Executive Manager for Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

Missy Tracy is the Municipal Relations Coordinator for Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

We’re excited to be able to learn about the history of the Ho-Chunk people and our lakes!

About the series

Yahara Lakes 101 is a series of educational events open to the public and a great chance for residents to learn more about the science behind the issues that affect our lakes. Each month we feature a different expert to make the science accessible and interesting to non-technical audiences. Yahara Lakes 101 is produced in partnership with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with hosting sponsor The Edgewater, presenting sponsor First Weber Group, supporting sponsor The Evjue Foundation, and media sponsor The Isthmus.

Yahara 101 is held both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting) at The Edgewater. Come at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and to enjoy your coffee, pastries, and fruit. The program begins at 8 a.m., and class is dismissed by 9 a.m.

If you already are a Friend of Clean Lakes (minimum $35 donation/year), then admission is free. Become a Friend today. If you are not a Friend yet, admission is $10 per event. Registration for each event is requested for all attendees. Special event parking will be available at The Edgewater.

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