New urgency needed to protect our lakes

Lake Monona

Last week’s release of results of a new study of Madison lakes by the Water Sustainability and Climate Project is sobering. A lot of us have been feeling pretty good about an undeniably impressive community effort to clean up and protect our lakes. And there has been evidence of some progress, or so we thought.

But the study’s authors say the array of projects since the 1980’s “are not achieving their goals in part because unaccounted-for changes in climate, land use and agriculture are making it harder to meet them.”

In other words more asphalt, row crops and intense rainstorms have resulted in no improvement in lake water quality. That’s tough to hear. The report says the study is the first formal synthesis of factors undermining efforts to clean up the lakes and has implications for similar regions around the world.

The Clean Lakes Alliance is holding its annual breakfast meeting and report on May 5. The theme is 2015: A Watershed Year For Our Lakes. More than we thought, it now seems.