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Want to spend all summer at the beach? Here's how to keep the lakes healthy, beaches open

Want to spend all summer at the beach? Here's how to keep the lakes healthy, beaches open

MADISON, Wis. - With temperatures getting near 90 degrees Friday, Madison beaches were busy.

Most beaches were open with no major blue-green algae blooms, but officials with the Clean Lakes Alliance said that can change quickly, and it’s up to Madison residents to keep the lakes healthy.

James Tye, the executive director for the Clean Lakes Alliance, said any time it is hot and the water is stagnant, it helps algae bloom.

Recent rain storms have kept the water moving, he said, but overall the rain we’ve gotten this year has flushed a lot of organic material into the lake, which produces phosphorus, which produces algae.

“We’ve spent the last 150 years building our system so that basically the faster we can get the water off of our property and into the storm water system, we thought was the best thing for us,” Tye said. “It was actually the worst thing for the lakes. What we want to do is keep the water where it lands on your lawn.”

Tye said it’s a team effort to make sure we keep that phosphorus to a minimum.

In order to do that, he said residents should try to keep rainwater where it lands.

“We know we need to do more, so the city, the county, the state and the Clean Lakes Alliance, they’re all coming together sort of update our efforts, but we’re really hoping that people do individual actions at their home,” he said.

Tye suggested building rain gardens or rain barrels, which keep water from picking up grass clippings or leaves and bringing them to the lake.

The Clean Lakes Alliance has about 70 volunteers that will measure different points on all the lakes for water quality.

They post that information on their lake health website, lakeforecast.org.
 

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