July 2023

Please consider forwarding this to your association members so that they have this information.

Want to get this newsletter and other MN COLA information? Subscribe. It's free, but we'd love to have you join as a dues paying member.

Want to unsubscribe from MN COLA mailings? Reply to the sender and let them know you don't want to get this information.

Having trouble viewing this newsletter? Try viewing it as a Webpage

In This Issue

What's New at MN COLA?

News of interest

  • MN COLA builds consensus for passage of Watercraft Operator License bill
  • Vermont proposes rules for use of wake boats
  • Talon Metals nickel mining proposal submitted to the DNR
  • Update from our Annual Meeting
  • MN COLA helped support MAISRC’s Lab to Lakes workshop at Leech Lake
  • Mercury rising in zebra mussel infested lakes
  • AIS continues to spread in Minnesota
  • MN COLA and MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates provide insights on AIS & Prevention
  • MN COLA recognized in MAISRC Newsletter for their 2023 Legislative success
  • Joining MN COLA brings big benefits!

Best We've Seen

  • Can cultivated chicken help keep our water clean?

Upcoming events

  • Mark your calendar for MN COLA’s September meeting
  • MAISRC Showcase is September 20!
  • Itasca Waters virtual session addresses impending AIS threats: Can they kill my pet or hurt my kids?
  • Why, Oh Why Won’t They Clean, Drain and Dry?
  • Starry Trek 2023

www.lakeadmin.org featured posts

What's New at MN COLA?

The 4th of July has just passed and still we have drought conditions in virtually all of Minnesota. The darker the color the more intense the drought, so in Minnesota we range between no drought and severe drought. That’s just not good for the farmers or for our lakes and rivers.

Drought represents just one of the challenges for Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Obviously, there are more issues, but the good news is that we took some big steps forward so far in 2023. Read on for a more complete update on items important to MN COLA.

More information

News of Interest

MN COLA builds consensus for passage of Watercraft Operator License bill

The Minnesota Legislature in the 2023 session expanded Minnesota’s existing Boater Education requirements to all boat operators aged 12 and up, born on or after July 1, 1987. MN COLA was a leader in building consensus across a diverse group of stakeholders to help make the law reality.


Click here for more information about this great step forward for safer boating on Minnesota waters.

More information

Vermont proposes rules for use of wake boats

Vermont may soon have the toughest rules in the US for managing wake boats and their activities. Vermont’s rulemaking process is different than Minnesota’s as petitions by the public must be considered. These proposed rule changes were developed by the state in response to a petition submitted in March 2022 from an organization called Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes. The Phase 1 wake research done by the St. Anthony Falls Lab at the U of MN was part of the basis for the petition and the state’s proposed rule.

The proposed rule defines a ‘wakesports zone’ as having a minimum of 50 contiguous acres that are at least 500 feet from shore and at least 20 feet deep. The proposed rule also includes a “home lake” approach to help reduce the potential for wake boats to spread AIS from residual water in their ballast tanks.

The petitioners are pleased with the proposed rule but note that the distance from shore is not sufficient as per the U of MN’s peer-reviewed research to reduce the ecological and safety impacts.

MN COLA is proud to have provided input and support for the petition.

Talon Metals nickel mining proposal submitted to the DNR

During the week of June 19, Talon Mining submitted a proposal for a nickel mine in Tamarack, MN to the MN DNR. Talon Mining has signed an agreement to supply half of their nickel output to Tesla Motors for use in electric vehicle batteries.

But the environmental concerns loom large as this is another sulfide-mining project. The previous proposals from Twin Metals and Polymet are not moving forward at this time after lawsuits and legislation.

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has already gone on record regarding environmental concerns from this proposed mine and wants to ensure that the lands and waters that their people depend upon remain clean for generations.

The reviews will likely take years, and if history is a guide, court cases will follow.

For more information, check out the Star-Tribune articles on June 22 and June 25

written by Chloe Johnson.

Updates from our Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting in Little Falls last month was a great success with terrific speakers and insightful discussions! Over 30 people joined us for our first in-person meeting since late 2019.

More information

MN COLA helped support MAISRC’s Lab

to Lakes workshop at Leech Lake

The University of Minnesota AIS Research Center (MAISRC) held their first Lab to Lakes Regional workshop on June 23 and 24 in Cass County Minnesota. A wide variety of sponsors helped make this workshop a success (see graphic below.)

After a stirring perspective on the concerns for protecting the water from a leader of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa, MAISRC Director Nick Phelps outlined the 2-day conference. Day 1 provided some highlights of MAISRC Lab projects of specific interest to the local geography, discussions of several local AIS success stories, and ending with a panel discussion on civic governance… a requirement for making projects happen in the complicated control for water. Day 2 was reserved for field trips to see project results in action.

It was great to see the lake associations working side-by-side with government organizations to protect the precious public waters of the area.

MN COLA was recognized several times in the discussions, and we were pleased to be a supporting sponsor. Jim Kutzner, Jim Gray, Blaine Barkley, and Joe Shneider attended on behalf of MN COLA.

Mercury rising in zebra mussel infested lakes

Clearer water from zebra mussels? Yes. Healthier water? NO! But do zebra mussels impact the fish we eat? YES!!!

In their 2022 Annual Report, the University of MN AIS Research Lab (MAISRC) reported some startling findings about “how zebra mussels influence food webs supporting walleye and yellow perch, and how food web changes influence mercury concentrations in fish tissue.”

“Mercury in fish tissue was, on average, 66% higher for adult walleye and 91% higher for adult yellow perch in lakes containing zebra mussels compared to those in uninvaded lakes.

On average, mercury concentrations in 16-inch walleye from lakes containing zebra mussels were 0.28 pm, above the 0.2 ppm threshold triggering human consumption advisories by the Minnesota Department of Health.”

This is really a significant finding, and the MN Health Department advisor should be heeded.

For more information, check out this MAISRC project online at z.umn.edu/AIS-walleye

AIS continues to spread in Minnesota

It’s still early in season for AIS detection, but zebra mussels continue their march through Minnesota. As of June 29, 11 new zebra mussel infested water bodies were added to the MN DNR’s Infested Waters List: 6 in Wright County, 2 in Otter Tail County, and 1 each in Hubbard, Kandiyohi, and Stearns Counties.

In addition to these new zebra mussel infestations, Eurasian watermilfoil was confirmed in 1 lake in Le Sueur County and starry stonewort was confirmed in 1 lake in Kandiyohi County.

MN COLA and MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates provide insights on AIS & Prevention

Together with MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates, we developed this simple one-page informational sheet about AIS in Minnesota. Everyone who uses the water should be aware of Minnesota’s AIS challenges and we encourage you to send it to your members, family, and friends.

MN COLA recognized in MAISRC Newsletter

for their 2023 Legislative success

The University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) received additional funding from the 2023 Minnesota Legislative session and MN COLA was noted as a partner whose efforts helped to make this legislation happen.

Two-year funding for on-going support was received from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and special one-time funding was received to partner with local managers to implement several large-scale AIS projects throughout the state.

Read the June 2023 MAISRC Newsletter for more information on these appropriations and other happenings at MAISRC.

Joining MN COLA brings big benefits!

We believe these benefits bring “real value” to MN COLA members and friends. And we can provide even more value when we grow of membership. We don’t say this because we are hungry for your money, although that’s always welcome. But we say this because MN COLA grows more relevant on important issues when we represent more people and more organizations.

Can cultivated chicken help keep our water clean?

Photo: CBS Sunday Morning

“Cultivated meat requires a fraction of the land and a fraction of the water” so it could potentially help us reduce the impact of our farming practices on our public waters in Minnesota.

This video is from CBS Sunday Morning and was broadcast on July 10, 2023. NPR correspondent Allison Aubrey talks with Dr. Uma Valeti about his company, Upside Foods, which is planning to produce thousands of pounds of cultivated meat from a thimbleful of cells, without having to raise or slaughter animals. Their first commercial product is chicken and the company just received clearance from the USDA to start selling their meat made at their Emeryville, California production facilities.

Cultivated chicken video

Upcoming events

Mark your calendar for MN COLA’s September meeting 

The MN COLA meeting will be Tuesday September 19 from 10 – 3 CT. The session will be a hybrid session in that it will be in-person and concurrently on Zoom. The in-person session will be held in Little Falls at the Initiative Foundation offices.

Meeting speakers are being finalized now, but we know we will have topics on:

  • Our 2024 Legislative Agenda with an opportunity to get your input and discuss current plans
  • Wells and septic systems – keeping our groundwater, surface water, and drinking water safe
  • Best practices for keeping COLA’s/LARA’s and lake/river associations strong in the face of unprecedented resiliency challenges

We will also have a round robin session to discuss what’s happening in your world.

MAISRC Showcase is September 20!

The 2023 MAISRC Showcase is scheduled for September 20, 2023. The details have not been announced, but we thought you might like to get that penciled in your calendar.

Itasca Waters virtual session addresses

impending AIS threats: Can they kill my pet or hurt my kids? 

Photo: Itasca Waters

August 3, 2023, from 12 – 1:00 CT.

Dr. Cody Sheik is a microbial ecologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he focuses his work on the roles microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria, play in freshwater ecosystems.

In this virtual session he will share important research to identify what microbes are present across Minnesota and the Great Lakes, and to consider the implications to our environment and our use of water for recreation and daily living. He will also talk about some non-native microbes that can cause even bigger problems as they invade our lakes.

The sessions are free, but registration is required.

Check out these links for more information about Itasca Waters and their Practical Water Wisdom series.

Why, Oh Why Won’t They Clean, Drain and Dry?

Understanding Impediments to Boater and Angler Behavior Change

Join this webinar on Aug 10, 2023, 08:00 am CT and hear the results of a Michigan State University study about boater resistance to cleaning their equipment of harmful, transferrable AIS. It’s free, but you need to register in advance.

Aquatic invasive species continue to be spread by boaters and anglers, primarily by those who travel between waterways without cleaning their equipment. Well, why aren’t people cleaning when we know the risks of spread? Carrie Meier from Daniel Hayes’ lab in the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife interviewed a thousand boaters and anglers to understand just that. Meier will share what was learned about motivations and barriers to equipment cleaning, perceptions of invasive species spread and other interesting results.

Starry Trek 2023

Image: University of Minnesota and Eventbrite

Plan to be part of Starry Trek 2023! Starry Trek is organized by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) and University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Starry Trek 2023 will be August 19 from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm

Follow this link for more information and registration.


AIS * Water Quality * Administration * Regulation

Featured Posts - July 2023

MN COLA Board of Directors

(As of June 2023)

Blaine Barkley

Jan Beliveau

Biz Clark

Kevin Farnum

Jeff Forester

Steve Frawley

Lynn Goodrich, Vice-President

Jim Gray

David Helgerson

Kathy Jonsrud, Treasurer

Jim Kutzner

Tom Nelson, Secretary

Ruth Schaefer

Joe Shneider, President

Tom Watson