The Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, known as Yahara WINS, is a groundbreaking initiative to achieve clean water goals for the Yahara Watershed. In this effort, community partners led by Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District are collaborating on a strategy called watershed adaptive management, in which all sources of phosphorus in a watershed work together to reduce phosphorus.
The adaptive management strategy is more effective and less expensive than the sources working separately on individual solutions. Partners in Yahara WINS include cities, villages, towns, wastewater treatment plants, agricultural producers, environmental groups and others.
During 2016, work by Yahara WINS and its partners kept more than 29,000 pounds of phosphorus from area surface waters. The reduction came as Yahara WINS transitioned from a four-year adaptive management pilot effort to a full-scale project that will extend over 20 years.
Yahara WINS began in 2012 as an effort to reduce phosphorus loads and meet more stringent water quality standards established by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Other 2016 Highlights
• Creation of an intergovernmental agreement among 23 participants, providing a long-term framework for the full-scale project.
• A service agreement between Yahara WINS and Dane County outlining the terms and expectations of the county’s work to implement phosphorus-reducing practices.
• Notification from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s adaptive management plan—a requirement of the district’s discharge permit—was approvable.
• Two awards acknowledging Yahara WINS’ success: one from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the other from the Rock River Coalition.