The Yahara Watershed Improvement Network has welcomed the Town of Burke as its 24th member municipality and is preparing for additional phosphorus reduction efforts in 2018.
The 24 member municipalities are joined by numerous other partners that are committed to working together to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering streams, rivers and lakes in the Yahara Watershed. While 2017 results are still being compiled, during 2016 the collective actions of Yahara WINS members and partners prevented more than 29,000 pounds of phosphorus from reaching area surface waters — more than 30 percent of the total reduction of 96,000 pounds per year needed over the next 20 years.
The addition of the Town of Burke along with continued participation by other communities and stakeholders allows for continued expansion of efforts by both urban and rural partners in the year ahead. The 2018 budget totals $1.5 million, up from $1.09 million in 2017. The planned expenditures build on past successes by further reducing phosphorus loads to streams, rivers and lakes throughout the Yahara Watershed and focusing on water quality monitoring.
“We’re pleased to welcome the Town of Burke and we are excited about the growing momentum behind Yahara WINS,” said Kathy Lake, president of the Yahara WINS executive committee. “We have many initiatives in the works to further reduce phosphorus that will benefit the environment and the economy.”
Key activities in 2018 will include evaluation of manure composting and management under a project being advanced by Yahara Pride Farms. The work builds on an earlier project and focuses on composting “solid” manure or bedding pack. This type of manure typically comprises 20 to 25 percent of the total manure generated by a dairy farm and through composting, farmers are able to better manage storage and target applications to times when manure is less susceptible to runoff.
Other critical efforts for 2018 include water quality monitoring conducted in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Rock River Coalition. These efforts are needed to evaluate the impacts of land-based phosphorus reduction efforts. Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District serves as the contract laboratory and more than 3,000 water quality samples have been collected and analyzed dating to 2012.
In addition to the technical efforts planned for 2018, a new video by Yahara WINS provides information and inspiration about the important work going on in the watershed. The video highlights the cultural, environmental and economic importance of the region’s lakes, rivers and streams while showcasing important progress toward phosphorus reduction goals.
With an 8 minute run time and high production values, the video is ideal for schools, civic organizations, stakeholders, community meetings, conservation groups, public access cable channels and more. To request a copy, contact Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, [email protected].
The video was created by Pigorsch Media Design through a contract with Yahara WINS and in cooperation with Yahara Pride Farms, Dane County Land and Water Resources, Clean Lakes Alliance, City of Middleton, Town of Westport, U.S. Geological Survey, Village of DeForest and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. Check it out at www.madsewer.org/yaharawins.