Take a Stake in Our Waters

Take a Stake in Our Waters is a program of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission and the Office of Lakes and Watersheds. 

For almost 30 years, Take a Stake volunteers have been working to protect and improve the lakes, streams and wetlands of Dane County. Since its creation in 1988, Take a Stake has been expanded by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission and Office of Lakes and Watersheds from two days of shoreline clean-ups, to a two-week series of countywide special events, and now year-round activities that help people celebrate, learn about, protect and improve Dane County waters, recognizing that care for Dane County’s lakes, streams and wetlands doesn’t happen only a couple weeks out of the year. 

During Take a Stake in Our Waters events, groups, clubs, individuals and families adopt beaches, shorelines, streams and more to collect litter, remove invasive species, plant native plants, mark storm drains, as well as a number of other activities. Thousands of volunteers have participated in these events and made a huge impact in Dane County over the decades.

A full listing of events and volunteer sign up for Take a Stake in Our Waters are posted on www.takeastake.org.

Information on other Take a Stake events will be posted as events are identified. To add your water-related event to the list, complete the form on the website. Dane County staff will support your event with tools, garbage bags, work gloves, volunteer t-shirts, and promotion, if requested. Please contact lakes@countyofdane.com you need help submitting your event.

Interested in supporting this program? Become a sponsor! Commit by December 1, 2017 to get your name or logo on our 2018 volunteer t-shirt. Read more about the details of sponsorship in this PDF.

Find Volunteer Events


Grow Native Plants!

The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department is looking for volunteers to grow native plants.  These plants will be distributed to schools and community groups that are interested in incorporating native plants but may not have the budget to purchase them. Find out more about this program and how to volunteer.


WI Salt Wise

Help educate your neighbors, community groups and local salt retailers about appropriate winter salt use.  The Wisconsin Saltwise Partnership can provide you with information and supplies to help you reach out to your community.  Email lakes@countyofdane.com to learn more.


Citizen Monitoring Programs

Stream Monitoring

Volunteer stream monitors collect valuable data about stream health. Volunteer as a Water Action Volunteer or contact the Rock River Coalition if you live within the Rock River Watershed.

Lake Monitoring

Volunteer lake monitors measure water clarity and collect chemistry information, such as temperature, and dissolved oxygen data. Find out more on the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network website.

Find more volunteer monitoring opportunities in and around Wisconsin waters in this handout (PDF).