Friends of Lake Wingra – Free Webinar – The Salt in my water softener goes where?

posted in: Environment, Events, Lake Wingra, Stormwater | 0


Celebrating Wingra’s Winter Highlights
As we transition to spring, we take a pause to celebrate the wonderful moments that Lake Wingra provided us throughout the winter during the pandemic. You can read about and see pictures capturing the shared streets, muskrat dens, the beautiful January frost events, and the transition to spring in our most recent blog post.
See the pictures
Chloride Webinar on April 6 at 7pm
The Salt in my water softener goes where?
Free Webinar on April 6, 2021 at 7pm

We are collaborating with WI Salt Wise to offer this free virtual event. You can learn how water softeners contribute to chloride issues in our local waterways. We hope you can join us! In order to attend, please register using the form below. When you register, you’ll receive a confirmation email and calendar invite.

By attending this 1-hour webinar you will:

  • Learn how you can win a gift card to Monroe Street businesses
  • Discover why wastewater treatment plants can’t remove salt from wastewater
  • Learn about current salt concentrations in WI surface water and its impacts on wildlife
  • Get a sneak peek at the water softener art mural in the Wingra Watershed
  • What you can do to help your softener operate as efficiently as possible
  • Understand how softener brine reclamation is a potential big win for reducing salt pollution
  • Learn how you can win a gift card to Monroe Street businesses
Welcome our new board member!
We are delighted to welcome Sally Lehner as one of our new board members. Sally joined the Board of Directors in 2021. She grew up in Madison, WI, and has always loved being in and around water. She has fun spending time swimming, canoeing, and paddle boarding in Lake Wingra, and biking, walking, and running around its shore; in wintertime, she likes to cross-country ski on the lake with her husband and ice skate on the lagoon with her family. Sally enjoys volunteering within the community and advocating for urban amenities, like Lake Wingra, for all to enjoy.  She received her BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California in 1999, and her JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005, practicing law in Madison until 2011, when she became a stay-at-home mother, now with two boys.
Here’s what we’ve been up to!
Vilas Park Master Plan
With the master planning process wrapping up, so is our role in the resident resource group. The Board of Parks Commissioners approved the Vilas Park Master Plan on Wednesday, March 10. Over the last couple of years, we appreciated the invitation to participate in the process and plan to stay engaged as the city implements the master plan. You can find all of our public comments on the positives and opportunities for improvement on our Vilas Park project webpage.
Glenway Golf Course
A donation from Michael and Jocelyn Keiser could result in a new and improved Glenway Golf Course by the end of 2021. The project shows an opportunity to enhance the quality of stormwater management in our watershed. To emphasize the golf course’s connection to the Wingra Watershed Management Plan, we submitted more detailed public comments to the Board of Parks Commissioners. Check out our full blog post on it.
Green Infrastructure Study
A grant from the DNR Surface Water Lakes Education & Planning Grant will fund our outreach in the Green Infrastructure (GI) study area. This grant will help us better understand effective forms of outreach and what barriers homeowners face when installing GI. Currently, we are wrapping up a rain garden workshop with some of the GI participants (in partnership with Ripple Effects). We also received a subaward that is part of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistance Agreement awarded to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. This subaward will allow us to support residents in the same neighborhood, but just outside of the GI study area who have interest in installing GI on their property.
Chloride Monitoring Program
The UW-Madison Arboretum, Edgewood College, and Friends of Lake Wingra are partnering to launch a citizen monitoring program for chloride levels at the springs. To help get the program up and running over the next few years, Friends of Lake Wingra received a grant from the City of Madison Engineering Division. This monitoring program is a way to memorialize Roger Bannerman. Roger was a Friends of Lake Wingra board member and started monitoring chloride levels in 2012 until his passing in 2020.  Check out the Looking to Volunteer section in this newsletter to learn how to express interest!
Looking to Volunteer or Engage?
Interest in Chloride Citizen Monitoring for Lake Wingra
We want to gauge your interest in volunteering! Lake Wingra has one of the highest chloride concentrations of the five Yahara lakes. By monitoring, you’re helping us collect data to monitor the long-term trends that can help inform future policy and pilot projects!

  • Participate in an in-person mandatory half-day training to learn how to use the instrumentation and take readings at the springs (tentative June 2021 w/ COVID-19: social distancing and masks requirements).
  • Commit to monthly readings and data collection at specific springs around Lake Wingra.

Time Commitment
This is a long-term volunteer commitment (minimum 1 year), yet the monthly time commitment is low. Once a month, you will need to calibrate your instrument (~10 min), travel to your spring, take a reading (~5 min/spring) and record the data and save the data on Google drive. Depending on interest level, you could adopt one spring to monitor or several. This might impact the amount of time you spend volunteering monthly.
If you feel like this could be the right fit for you or want to talk more about the opportunity, please contact Casey Hanson at Friends of Lake Wingra ( or Marian Farrior at the UW-Madison Arboretum ( At this point, we are gauging interest and will keep you informed when we are ready to launch the program.

Amphibian Monitors
We are recruiting citizen monitors for our 5th year of amphibian monitoring. Volunteers go out on their assigned night starting late spring through mid-summer to document when frogs and toads are most active. For more information, please check out the volunteer webpage and you can email Casey at

Wingra Opine Water Line
You can sign up for the Opine Water Line to receive a direct email about once a month. We ask for your opinion on Wingra issues or Friends of Lake Wingra programming. Sometimes it includes a time-sensitive action you can take. The Opine Water Line is different than our monthly e-news or biannual newsletters.

Other Happenings
Master Recycler Program
The City of Madison partnered with Sustain Dane to launch a Master Recycler Program. By completing two 90-minute sessions you learn how about local recycling and help you with effective outreach about proper recycling within your own network.

History of the Arboretum’s Lost City
Tuesday, April 13 and Thursday, April 15, 7–8 p.m.Learn about the fascinating history of the failed Lake Forest development project and how the land became part of the Arboretum. This two-session virtual class will explore the personalities involved, why the project didn’t succeed, the status of the area now, and a video tour of the site. Instructor: Kathy Miner, Arboretum naturalist. Fee: $15 for the session. Register by April 6.

Plant Dane Plant Sale
You can purchase some native plants to enhance your garden. Preorder by March 21 and pick up on March 22. Plants cost $2.25 a piece.

Our mission is a healthy Lake Wingra through an active watershed community.
We are happy to post nature, environmental or outdoor recreation-themed events that occur in Lake Wingra’s watershed and are open to the public. Email your event to