Clean Lakes Alliance: Clearest water in years shown in State of the Lakes Annual Report

MADISON, Wis., May 3, 2023 – Today at its 10th annual Community Breakfast, Clean Lakes Alliance released its 2022 State of the Lakes report. The report, which looks at phosphorus reduction efforts through the 2022 calendar year, shows as a community, progress is being made. Phosphorus is the root cause of algae – just one pound of this nutrient is capable of producing 500 pounds of algae.

“2022 was a great year – the water was as clear as it’s been in a long time in our lakes, but we got lucky,” said Clean Lakes Alliance executive director James Tye. “A slow spring melt and fewer spring and summer rain events meant phosphorus-rich runoff to our lakes was down – but it shows us if we control runoff regularly as a community, we can impact our lake clarity.”

Ten Steps Forward, Two Back

United States Geological Survey (USGS) data shows practices are working as concentrated phosphorus, which fuels cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms, is down per gallon of water entering the watershed. However, a changing climate that is delivering more water through more intense rainstorms on an annual basis means more phosphorus is actually reaching the lakes.

Clean Lakes Alliance plans to continue to push for changes that will slow runoff including encouraging rain gardens, rain barrels, and redirected downspouts. The organization says more green infrastructure and more community-wide knowledge of runoff control will make a difference.

New Vision & Mission

Starting its 14th year in operation, Clean Lakes Alliance also unveiled a new vision and mission to reflect the organization past progress and future plans in the community. The new vision reads: We envision a community renowned for its lakes, lands, and waters. The organization’s mission has also been updated to focus more on stewardship and inclusivity, saying: Our mission is to champion our lakes and watershed stewardship for the benefit of all. Clean Lakes Alliance looks forward to its new vision shaping its mission as it moves from alliance-building to engaging in transformational action.