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Your Views: Project aims to reduce algae on Delavan Lake

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August 14, 2013

We appreciate the “Thumbs Up” you gave us a couple years ago for our work in Walworth County. We've completed Phase One of the Delavan Lake Watershed Initiative Network (WIN). We partnered with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), the Delavan Lake Sanitary District, plus several local governmental units. We worked with the NRCS to issue a summary report.

The key message we hope the community will hear is the importance of taking a watershed approach when forming long-term solutions to lake water quality. The phosphorous load that leads to algae and degraded water quality in Delavan Lake comes principally from runoff from the lake's entire watershed. For Delavan Lake, this involves several tens of thousands of acres.

The majority of this runoff drains through the Jackson Preserve wetlands, which is owned and maintained by our Land Trust. This wetland provides a critical buffer, catching a huge amount of pollutants. However, in major storms, it is essential to go upstream to catch much more.

The WIN Phase One selected priority farm fields with the help of the NRCS and implemented nine projects covering 1,807.6 acres in the Delavan Lake watershed. It's estimated that this effort will reduce the phosphorous load entering Delavan Lake by 440 pounds per year. This may not sound like a lot, but every pound of phosphorous can produce 500 pounds of algae. Hence, this should reduce 220,000 pounds of algae from forming in Delavan Lake every year.

JERRY PETERSEN

President

 Kettle Moraine Land Trust



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