MADISON (WKOW) -- An outbreak of algae has come far too early for the people who rely on area waterways for their recreation.
"They're a problem every year, but this year in particular, its really bad," said Paul Payas, who was boating on Lake Mendota with his son Monday morning.
The swimming area at Beach Park in Maple Bluff was closed beginning Sunday.
"We see some blue and green color of the algae on the seaweed out here, we tend to act in the best interest of our swimmers and we close it down just for precautionary reasons," said Village Parks and Recreation Director Curt Erickson.
Its not just the sight of the algae blooms that is offensive.
"You can smell the smell out here, it smells kind of pungent," said Erickson.
That's why Dane County is working with the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District to launch yet another effort to nip future algae problems in the bud.
Its called the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, or Yahara WINs, and its aim is to limit the amount of algae-forming phosphorous from getting into Lake Mendota.
"If we get it in the North Mendota watershed, where everything begins in our chain of lakes, that's not only the most cost effective, but its the most effective in removing it from the system also," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.
Phosphorous usually runs off of farm fields and into the watershed.
"The idea that we can work together on land management practices, with our local farmers, we're working with the land, we are working with nature to reduce phosphorous upstream," said Michael Mucha, Director of MMSD.
Using grant money from the sewerage district, the county has put together an alliance that also includes dozens of local municipalities and non-profit organizations.
They believe working together will significantly reduce phosphorous levels over the next four years.
"The question isn't where it comes from, because it comes from everywhere, but the question is really, where can we best and most effectively address it, particularly upstream, which is where we're focusing now, said Parisi.
This initiative comes just a year after Dane County announced similar phosphorous reduction efforts in watersheds right next to the Yahara.
Those will also continue for four more years.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County and the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District are teaming up to reduce algae-forming phosphorus pollution that enters lakes and waterways.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network on Monday. The network includes 30 communities across the county and a four-year pilot project to reduce phosphorus runoff.
This year's county budget includes a $50,000 grant from the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District for the project. It's being conducted in the Sixmile Creek sub watershed that feeds into Lake Mendota. This area is next to other watersheds that the county is focusing on to reduce phosphorous pollution.
Greg Neumann is covering this story and will have more on 27 News at 5, 6 and 6:30.
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