Lake Mendota

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Environment & Climate

Slideshow: Madison FloodWinter 2018

Madison-area lake levels continued to rise after a record-breaking storm on August 20, 2018, dumped more than 10 inches of rain on parts of Dane County and caused flooding on the UW–Madison campus lakeshore. Street closures in the downtown area also complicated matters for students who moved into…


WaterloggedWinter 2018

Students appear to walk on water at the flooded limnology pier on Lake Mendota. On one day in August, parts of Madison received 10 inches of rain, causing widespread damage. Photo by Jeff Miller…

Student Life

Sailing Through the YearsSummer 2018

On a campus situated between two lakes, it’s only natural that students take advantage of the water. Just two years after the Hoofer Sailing Club formed in 1939, it already boasted more than 450 registered members. Today, UW–Madison students and community members still enjoy hopping into one of…

Student Life

Learning to SailSummer 2018

It was a gray Friday afternoon, cloudy and unusually chilly for September, with a heavy chance of rain. Most of the sailing classes offered through Wisconsin Hoofers had been canceled for the day — except for Jay Chan’s sailing lesson, which he prepared for eagerly despite the darkening skies.

Student Life

5 Quiet Places on Campus

From football Saturdays to live music on the Terrace, campus life can be loud. But there are coves of unexpected calm and seas of serenity if you know where — and when — to look.

Student Life

Chilled OutWinter 2017

A floppy-eared smiley face greets the sunrise on Picnic Point on a December morning in 2016. UW students need to keep a sense of fun in the cold: since 2000, Lake Mendota has been iced over for an average of 85 days out of the year.

Teaching & Learning

Lake Laboratory

Dawn patrol on Lake Mendota: Carolyn Voter PhDx’18 (right) and Alexandra Linz ’13, PhDx’18 collect water samples before sunrise. The work was part of a 44-hour limnology experiment that took place in July 2016 and examined how light affects bacteria and carbon exchange. Photo by Jeff Miller…


Goodspeed Family PierSummer 2016

A magnet for nighttime relaxation since opening in 2013, the pier honoring the family of Mary Sue Goodspeed Shannon ’81 replaced the aging stone-and-concrete structure below the Alumni Center.

Student Life

Walking on the LakeWinter 2013

Based on the ski tracks and slushy footprints in the snow that cover the lake’s icy surface in the winter, plenty of people on campus appreciate the season’s serenity and count the days until the open water turns to ice.