6/23: New Interactive Watershed Map

In an effort to help county residents better understand the concept of a “watershed” and better connect with their local water resources, the Office of Lakes and Watersheds has created an interactive online map.

This map has different layers that can be turned on or off (basins, subwatersheds, special water places, etc.), a search feature so people can find out what watershed they live in, and descriptions of the watersheds along with links to groups that are active in those areas.

If you have additional information, photos, or updated group information that you would like to contribute to this map, please let me know.

We have posted a link to this map on our Dane Waters Facebook page and encourage you to share it with your networks so that we can increase awareness of our watersheds!


Susan Sandford
Strategic Engagement Coordinator

Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds
Phone: (608) 224-3617

6/16: Lakeforecast.org Videos

Clean Lakes Alliance is proud to announce the addition of weekly videos to summarize key data coming from Lakeforecast.org.

Here is a link to the first video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgi4wHXXl6s&sns=em

6/10-12: C Scow National Regatta

The C Scow National Regatta will be held on Lake Monona on June 10 – 12, 2016.  For details, go to http://cnationals2016.com/

6/4: Black Earth Creek Habitat Snapshot Day

On June 4th, join River Alliance of Wisconsin, Black Earth Creek Watershed Association, Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to participate in Black Earth Creek Habitat Snapshot Day gathering “citizen science” data and helping the trout of Black Earth Creek in the process!

The objective is to gather data on the stream’s condition which will be used to prioritize future stream work projects and to the benefit of water quality and the trout population. You will also be gaining habitat assessment skills that you can apply in other local streams.

Afterward, volunteers will gather at Festge County Park for a BBQ lunch. Volunteers will also get a Take A Stake in our Waters t-shirt! Click HERE to find out more and to preregister for this FREE event.

Time and Place: 8:00am-2:00pm. Meet at Rosemary Garfoot Library (2107 Julius St, Cross Plains, WI 53528) for brief training before getting out to the field.

Contact: Matt Krueger (River Alliance of Wisconsin) 608-257-2424 x125mkrueger@wisconsinrivers.org

5/26: Mendota Cty Park Improved Beach

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi Opens New Improved Beach and Water Access at Mendota County Park In Time For Memorial Day

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi celebrated the grand opening of the  improved beach and lake at the Mendota County Park in time for Memorial Day weekend. They highlighted the new pilot “Clean Beach Corridor” which sets up a protected, clean pool of water within a lake. A barrier is established in the lake adjacent to a beach while a treatment system treats and circulates the water within that corridor, reducing the muck and bacteria that results in beach closures when the weather warms in summer. The project cost was $80,000.Displaying Mendota Beach 5.jpegMendota Beach 5

“Dane County is leading the charge to clean up our lakes and invests millions every year towards this important effort,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “There is no quick fix or overnight solution, cleaning up our lakes will take decades. In the meantime, projects like the Clean Beach Corridor will help allow families to enjoy our beautiful lakes.”

The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department has been working on improvements to the beach at Mendota County Park, located on the western shore of Lake Mendota in the Town of Westport. Part of Dane County Executive Parisi’s 2016 budget, the beach improvements were initiated to improve beach/lake access, minimize the occurrence of beach closures, and provide clean, safe water for beach users.

Prior to improvements, the beach area was elevated approximately 4 feet above the lake, separated by a wall of rock boulders known as riprap. The riprap prevented access from beach users from the sand to lake, limiting recreation activities. The beach improvement project removed the existing rock riprap and created a new gentle sloping beach of sand to the water. The predominant wind conditions at the beach make it susceptible to sand movement by longshore currents; therefore, a floating curtain was installed in the lake to contain beach sand.

The curtain is made of a polyester reinforced PVC with a polyfoam float on the surface, weighted down on the lake bed by a galvanized chain. The curtain, shaped like a horseshoe,  is anchored with 2400 pounds of concrete blocks in the water at four locations and secured on shore. All offshore anchoring points are located with orange marker and hazard buoys for notice to boat and recreational users.

Another benefit of the curtain is that it creates a barrier between the lake and swimming water, protecting from offshore bacteria or algae from coming into contact with swimmers. In addition, any contamination that occurs inside of the swimming water will be cleaned using an on-site treatment system. The system pumps swimming water via two intake pipes and returns clean water back to the swimming area. Treatment of swimming water will use no chemicals; instead clean water is achieved through a system including a strainer, sand filter, and UV disinfection. The treatment system will run 24/7 in order to be proactive from any outbreak of pathogens and toxins. The overall goal of the beach improvements is to increase beach activity while providing safe, clean water. There is only a one day turnover time, if there is contamination today Mendota Beach swimming area will be clean tomorrow.

The curtain surrounds a swimming area of approximately 100 feet wide by 100 feet offshore. It is 3 feet deep at end of curtain. The system first removes weeds/debris with a strainer. Next algae and other suspended particles are removed with a sand filter. Finally bacteria such as E. Coli are disinfected with UV treatment. Once the sand filter is dirty the system is automated to backwash which will send algae to the sanitary sewer removing it from the lake.

This system was created by a partnership with the Town of Westport, UW-Madison engineering, MG&E and Madison Metropolitan Sewage District.


5/20: Tenney Lock Opening Delayed


Date:               March 22, 2016

Contacts:       Darren Marsh, Parks Director (608) 224-3730
John Reimer, Water Engineer (608) 224-3612

Tenney Boat Lock Opening Delayed

Dane County Parks announced today that the opening of the Tenney Boat Lock has been delayed from April 30th until May 20th due to a malfunction in the electrical components that operate the Lock.

The Tenney Lock is a popular recreation facility located on the Yahara River at the outlet of Lake Mendota.  The Lock allows for the passage of boats between Lakes Mendota and Monona.

According to Dane County Land and Water Resource Department Engineer John Reimer, the issue was detected a week ago during the normal de-winterizing operation. “The malfunction has been traced back to an electrical sensor that is required to operate the Lock doors.  Unfortunately, this sensor is not readily available,” said Reimer.  A new sensor has been ordered and is expected to be delivered within the next three weeks.

“It’s good that the problem was detected now so it can be corrected prior to the increased boating that will start with the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday,” stated Dane County Parks Director Darren Marsh.  “The county apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.  However, the safety of the boaters using the Lock is our main concern.”

Patrons can track changes in the schedule by visiting the Parks Tenney Lock webpage at:https://www.countyofdane.com/lwrd/parks/tenney_lock.aspx.   For more information related to park and water-related features, patrons may call the Parks Office at (608) 224-3766 or visit the Dane County Land and Water Resources website at https://www.countyofdane.com/lwrd/.

5/12: One Water – Yahara Lakes 101


It can be easy to dismiss the importance of water conservation in a city surrounded by lakes and built on top of a vast, underground aquifer.

But issues like runoff, surface pollution and overuse impact our entire water system – from our streams and lakes to our groundwater.

Please register in advance

Thursday, May 12;

8 – 9 a.m.

The Edgewater
1001 Wisconsin Place, Madison, WI 53703
Ballroom B, 5th floor

Admission: $10 per talk or become a Friend of Clean Lakes todayand receive FREE admission all year long.

Timeline: Doors open 7:30 a.m.; presentation 8 – 9 a.m.; Q&A to follow. Complimentary coffee, fruit, pastries. Free event parking available.


For this month’s Yahara Lakes 101 presentation, Madison Water Utility’s Amy Barrilleaux will take a look at the history of water use in Madison, efforts to encourage conservation, and the current state of our aquifer and how it impacts our lakes. We’ll also discuss ideas for future conservation and efficiency initiatives. Join us on Thursday to learn how YOU can help protect our one water.


Amy Barrilleaux is the Public Information Officer for Madison Water Utility. Amy oversees all external communication for Madison Water Utility and acts as utility spokesperson. She played a key role in launching Madison Water Utility’s popular online conservation tool that allows customers to track their hourly water use, and she continues to encourage conservation through community events, social media initiatives, local news media, and community partnerships.

Join us Thursday morning:

5/9: Token Creek Expansion

Dane County Executive Parisi Announces Significant Expansion of Token Creek County Park

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the incredibly popular Token Creek County Park will soon be expanding.  A neighboring property owner to the Park approached the County looking to sell so their land forever remains an outdoor recreational resource. With this additional 68 acres from the Harbort Living Trust, Token Creek Park and its adjacent Token Creek Natural Resource Area will soon total nearly 500 acres in size.

“This property is a great addition to the Token Creek County Park,”  said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Token Creek has magnificent water access, popular camping grounds and beautiful trails. Dane County has some of the finest County Parks in the state and we are incredibly grateful to the Harbort Family for their desire to add to the experience that is Token Creek County Park.”

The property includes about 10 acres of ponds and wetlands and an overlook that will provide hikers a panoramic view of the western sky and Token Creek Park.

Token Creek is the sole cold water trout fishery in northeastern Dane County.  The 27 square mile watershed provides nearly half of the base flow of water for Lake Mendota.  The County, along with other governmental units and nonprofit organizations, has actively worked on water quality and habitat improvement measures for many years to protect and enhance this resource.  Lands protected in these areas are available for public use and enjoyment and also create opportunities for habitat improvement projects.

The Dane County Board will review this proposal in the upcoming weeks. Pursuant to the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan 2012-2017 and the Token Creek County Park and Natural Resource Area Master Plan, the Land & Water Resources Department recommended the acquisition of approximately 68 acres that are immediately adjacent to existing county property in the Town of Burke.  The property will be managed as part of the Token Creek natural resource area and may also be classified as a wildlife area.  The proposed purchase price $1,090,000.

The now almost 500-acre park is best known for its five shelter facilities and ample open space for large group picnics and outings.  Recreational facilities include five volleyball courts, equestrian trails, miles of hiking and cross country ski trails, a 27-hole disc golf course and a 43-unit campground, plus a group camp area, and a dog park.  Special facilities accommodate people with disabilities such as a fishing pier, two playgrounds and an elevated boardwalk through a sedge meadow marsh.  It also offers winter access to Dane County’s 274 miles of snowmobile trails.

5/7: Rain Barrels & Compost Bin Sale

The City of Madison is holding its annual Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Event at the Alliant Energy Center on Saturday, May 7th from 10am-2pm.  The event is open to all residents of South Central Wisconsin.

Rain barrels are a relatively simple practice homeowners and businesses can implement to help protect area waters so let’s help promote this great opportunity to get more rain barrels out on the landscape.

50 Gallon Rain Reserve rain barrels with diverters will be sold for $119.99 and compost bins will be $69.99. They are again accepting pre-orders as supplies are limited.

For more information or to place an order visit http://www.cityofmadison.com/streets/compost/CompostBinSale.cfm.


4/22: Citizen Water Monitors

Spring is in the air, and we’re looking forward to another season of lake monitoring. Thank you again for participating in the program last year. This program wouldn’t be possible without your support. We hope this year to continue improving the program, with your help. Please see below for details on new program additions, training dates, how you can support the program, and additional sampling location needs.

Monitoring Training

This year’s citizen monitor trainings are coming up soon. Please respond to this email by Friday, April 22nd with the training session you’d like to attend. This year, the training will emphasize more blue-green algal bloom identification and program updates.

Wednesday, May 4th, 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Tuesday, May 10th, 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 – 10:00 AM

Off-shore Sampling

This year, with your help, we will begin collecting additional parameters at the deepest point of each lake (Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa, and Wingra).

We’re looking for five volunteers with boat access who can commit to taking on these new tasks. We plan to start sampling in late May. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please contact us as soon as possible. We will fill each lake sampling spot on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lake Forecasting Steward Donation

If you would like to help us expand to more sites, please consider becoming a Lake Forecasting Steward by clicking here. Your $135 donation will help cover the cost of equipment and office administration, and also makes you a Friend of Clean Lakes. You will be recognized in our annual State of the Lakes Report and on CLA’s website.

Additional Sampling Sites

If you know of anyone interested in monitoring, we are looking for volunteers to cover the following beaches: Lake Mendota County Park, Marshall Park, Olbrich, Esther, Olin Park, McDaniel Park, and Goodland County Park.

Please go to www.cleanlakesalliance.com if you have any questions.