Blue Waters Barge hits Madison's lakes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Blue Waters Barge hits Madison's lakes

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A day on the lake can give new perspective on an old problem.

Ty Thronson is one of a handful of crew members who skirt the shorelines of lakes Mendota and Monona this summer, looking for any bit of garbage to clean up.

"They've picked up lots of things," said Joe Yaeger, a lake management supervisor. "Junk, garbage, a beer keg we found the other day."

Their boat has been dubbed the Blue Waters Barge.

City and county funded for the season, its modest crew has had some success. "Usually we get like 4 loads a day," said Thronson.

Eurasian milfoil and other weeds, the scourge of Madison's lakes, will get shoveled up around piers and carried away.

The real eye opener, however, is what else they've found along the shoreline of public lands. Beer kegs are just one piece of this messy problem. "We've gotten tractor tires and sleeping bags, beer kegs, and fishing lures," said Thronson.

Even more amazing since this summer's high water kept the boat from reaching its targets fasters. "So the shoreline wasn't exposed to be cleaned up." said Yaeger. "But after the water receded, the mess was there."

"There seems to be a marked improvement in what's visible from John Nolen Drive and certain areas around the student union," said Yaeger. "We've had a lot of people compliment how nice it's looked over previous years."

No time to dwell, though. It's time to get back on the water, and remove something else, for the Blue Water Barge to carry away.

Dane County paid $80,000 this year to pay for the barge.

The city of Madison chipped in $20,000t his summer to pay for the crew. The Blue Waters Barge will continue to clean up the shorelines through Labor Day.

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