Sandwiching downtown Madison, it’s easy to take Lakes Mendota and Monona for granted. As we walk, jog, bike, or drive past them, potentially every day, they are a part of our everyday lives. How can we ensure the water quality of these lakes continues to improve? We can do so by sharing information about the many ways to enjoy the lakes and the ways to help improve the water quality.
There are many government, educational, and private organizations throughout Dane County focused on reducing the pollutants entering the Yahara Watershed including Lakes Mendota and Monona. One is the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, made up for elected officials and private citizens. The Commission coordinates with many state and local agencies to provide and promote water quality and water resources management programs in Dane County. The actions of the Commission and partnering agencies are a long term movement that will be more successful with community engagement. “We’re in it for the long haul” as Chair of the Commission, Rebecca Power says. Commission priorities include the continued reduction of Phosphorus into our lakes.
Active partners with the Commission participate in the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network (WINS) Together we’re working to find the most cost effective way to clean our lakes. Partners include farmers whose improved nutrient management systems continue to reduce manure run-off from fields to our lakes.
Here in the city, another way we can help clean our lakes is to reduce the amount of salt we use. Chlorides are negatively impacting our water sources. This is good information to have a plan before winter weather arrives.
Great ways to mix fun and help clean our lakes are through Take a Stake in the Lakes activities throughout Dane County.
Clean Lakes Alliance is one of Dane County’s most active partners as a champion of the Yahara Watershed and in promoting lake awareness. Working with Dane County and other organizations, including farmers, Clean Lakes Alliance developed a 14-point plan to reduce phosphorus from entering our waters. While working on recommendations for policy change and enforcement actions, Clean Lakes Alliance is also helping to make our lakes even more accessible. Want to go to a Dane County or City of Madison beach today? You can put the app on your phone to quickly check the water quality at your favorite place.
Enjoying cleaner lakes can be a reality with each of us helping one another to do so.