Clean Lakes Alliance updates phosphorus reduction plan to keep up with climate change

Clean Lakes Alliance updates phosphorus reduction plan to keep up with climate change
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Photo over Lake Monona courtesy of Rick Brietzke

The Clean Lakes Alliance is spearheading a partnership to improve the five lakes in the Yahara watershed called the Yahara CLEAN Compact. The compact was first created in 2012, but James Tye the executive director of the Clean Lakes Alliance said the program is being updated to keep up with climate change.

“Climate change is happening at a much more rapid pace than we thought, and we saw that with last year’s flooding,” Tye said.

The goal of the CLEAN Compact is to reduce phosphorus by 50 percent. The updated plan has 14 projects and programs to reduce run-off, including educating homeowners about keeping water on their properties during rain events and helping farmers reduce soil erosion. For more details on the plan click here.

The estimated net cost to implement all the Yahara CLEAN actions based on the 2012 plan is $78.6 million. This cost comes after a deduction of $49.5 million in private business investment in community digesters. Unlike previous efforts, Yahara CLEAN identified the highest-priority and most cost-effective actions to achieve the targeted phosphorus load reduction.

If the plan is successful, scientist estimate the number of days when the lakes are free and clear of algae blooms will double.

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