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New county task force to coordinate efforts to clean up Madison-area lakes

Published On: Feb 25 2013 03:52:27 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on Monday signed a county resolution authorizing creation of a new task force to help coordinate and oversee the work that's under way to reduce phosphorus pollution in the Yahara Chain of Lakes.

The task force, originally introduced by Parisi during last fall's budget, was approved by the Dane County Board of Supervisors late last week.

"We have a once in a lifetime opportunity with the right resources coming together -- public, private, agriculture, business -- to do the work needed to get our lakes back to the way they were decades ago," Parisi said in a news release. "This new task force will ensure our work is collaborative and the action steps we take are coordinated."

The new Clear Lakes Task Force will include representatives from not only county government who work on lake clean-up but also organizations like Clean Wisconsin, the Clean Lakes Alliance, and the agricultural group known as "Yahara Pride," which consists of farmers in the Lake Mendota Watershed. It will also have representatives from communities participating in the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District's (MMSD) innovative phosphorus reduction program known as adaptive management.

The Task Force is charged with developing a phosphorus reduction work plan, identifying the top priority urban and rural areas where runoff reduction work is needed, and coordinating the efforts of Dane County, MMSD, and groups like the Clean Lakes Alliance, according to the news release.

"Healthy lakes mean healthy lives. The county executive and county board are demonstrating exceptional leadership to protect this important resource. This is especially crucial as our lakes are increasingly pressured by climate change," said Melissa Malott, chair of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, in the news release.

"By bringing together those working to address phosphorus in the lakes, the Clear Lakes Task Force will strengthen Dane County's efforts to cost-effectively remove phosphorus from the watershed and meet federal clean water standards," said Dane County Board Supervisor Sharon Corrigan, who sponsored the legislation creating the Clear Lakes Task Force.

Dane County's Clear Lakes Task Force will also develop a process to track progress of the phosphorus work that's underway and review potential cost-sharing models to ensure dollars -- both public and private -- allocated for lake clean-up are utilized in the most effective way possible.

Once appointments to the new Clear Lakes Task Force are made, the group will begin holding regular meetings in the weeks ahead.

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