September 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

  • September Member Meeting Recap
  • MN COLA receives 2023 Partnership Award from MAISRC
  • AIS Infestations rising in 2023
  • Michigan Fisheries Division releases report on wake impacts
  • ACCL deploys new AIS cleaning tool stations with Cass County
  • Metro legislators rocked by surfing
  • Vanishing natural shorelines hurt lake quality
  • Free to a good home - Specialized lake netting

Best we've seen

  • Minnesota grapples with nickel mining impacts as EV manufacturing raises demand

Upcoming events

  • Blooming Waters: Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms and Safe Drinking Water
  • North American Lake Management Society Symposium in Erie, PA
  • 2004 Wisconsin Water Week convention in Stevens Point, WI
  • Next MN COLA Membership Meeting - December 5th


  • Crow Wing LARA responds to County's 2023 AIS Plan draft featured posts

What's New at MN COLA?

Hope you had a great summer because it seems like we are hurtling into fall. This photo is from my home on Christmas Lake. The lake is very low, and trees are changing color quickly.

There’s much more to communicate about What’s new in MN COLA, so click on More information for the rest of the story.  

More information

News of Interest

September Member Meeting Recap

The MN COLA Membership meeting on September 19th was exceptionally content rich with the best meeting attendance ever. We heard about the impact of climate change on Minnesota, a new Watercraft AIS Cleaning Stations and Tools project, a special award for MN COLA, and our focus for the 2024 legislative session.

More information

MN COLA receives 2023 Research

Partnership Award from MAISRC

Dr. Nick Phelps, Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), presented MN COLA with their 2023 Research Partnership Award for an organization.

Nick commented that “MN COLA has been an advocate for research-based solutions to our AIS problems from MAISRC’s beginning. From your docks to the State Capitol, you are out there; speaking the good word and trying to get important work done.” Nick also highlighted lake associations and COLA’s valuable help to MAISRC project teams, MN COLA’s help in disseminating research findings, and MN COLA’s advocacy for research and funding at the legislature.

Joe Shneider accepted the award on behalf of MN COLA and commented that “MAISRC is so vitally important for AIS prevention and control in Minnesota and far beyond. Their work is helping us better understand AIS infestations, what we can do now, and what might be possible in the future. We in Minnesota are so fortunate to have the kinds of access we have to the researchers and their ideas.”

MAISRC gives out Research Partnership Awards for individual partnership contributions and to local government partners in addition to the award to an organization.

AIS Infestations rising in 2023

Death by a thousand cuts! We can become immune to the repeated announcements of new lakes becoming infested with AIS, but we shouldn’t. The season for reporting AIS infestations is not over and we should expect the 2023 numbers will grow.

The 3 species graphed above threaten the recreational value of our public waters, and they keep growing, increasing the annual costs to keep the species under control and the lakes usable.

So far in 2023, we have 6 new infestations of starry stonewort: up from 22 since 2015. That’s a 27% increase this year alone. A troubling growth rate for a very troubling species that is still early in its infestation life cycle.

Zebra mussel infestations year to date are up 17 on a base of 582. If that low double-digit increase holds, it will have been a good year. Be aware that more infestations typically get identified as we pull out boats, docks, and lifts.

Eurasian watermilfoil only racked up 2 new infestations so far, so perhaps it’s trending down. And that’s good.

While waterbody counts may be slowing, you should be aware that most large lakes in Minnesota have 1 or more AIS, and the percentage of Minnesota’s surface water infested with AIS is very high.

Michigan Fisheries Division releases report

on wake impacts

The Fisheries Division of the Michigan DNR released a literature review and recommendations regarding the effects of wake boats on aquatic habitat. An earlier version sparked controversy and it was relabeled as a draft. This July, the final report was released.

Recommendations in the report were couched as “voluntary best operating practices in support of the continued use of wake boats while minimizing the effects on natural resources. Their recommendations are copied below:

  1. Boats operating in wake-surfing mode or wake-boarding mode, during which boat speed, wave shapers, and/or ballast are used to increase wave height, are recommended to operate at least 500 feet from docks or the shoreline, regardless of water depth.
  2. Boats operating in wake-surfing or wake-boarding modes are recommended to operate in water at least 15 feet deep.
  3. Ballast tanks should be completely drained prior to transporting the watercraft over land.

Further, the Michigan report “recommended that awareness and voluntary adoption of these best operating practices be encouraged through outreach actions and materials to educate wake boat operators.”

Read the full report.

ACCL deploys new AIS cleaning tool stations with Cass County

The Association of Cass County Lakes (ACCL) developed a low-cost AIS cleaning station and is deploying it with help from Cass County. Nick Bluhm from ACCL and Steve Henry from Cass County presented their best-practices solution at the September MN COLA meeting.

A summary of the solution and the program to deploy is linked below.

Lakeland PBS recently broadcasted a new segment covering the project. Watch it here.

Email Nick Bluhm at [email protected] for more information including how you can adapt the solution for your use.

More information

Metro legislators rocked by surfing

MN COLA President Joe Shneider along with MLR Executive Director Jeff Forester and Marina owner Gabe Jabbour took several legislative leaders out on Lake Minnetonka in late August to see wakesurfing in action. Legislators included Sen. Kelly Morrison, Env. and Natural Resources Committee Chair Rep. Rick Hansen, and Rep. Larry Kraft.

Vanishing natural shorelines hurt lake quality

In June 2022, prior to the paper's release, Paul Radomski from the MN DNR presented the key ideas from this paper at our MN COLA Annual meeting. This was one of the sessions in our Lake Resiliency series.

Now the Vanishing Natural Shorelines paper has been published and you can read the whole story of how the loss of natural shorelines contributes to the degrading of lake quality. Tom Nelson, MN COLA Secretary and Itasca County SWCD Board member, was a key contributor from MN COLA. We encourage you to read and disseminate this document.

As Steve Kloiber from the MN DNR has written: “The Minnesota Natural Shoreline Partnership was formed around the idea that regulatory approaches to shoreland protection have not been sufficient to stop the loss of natural shoreland. This group has chosen to focus on the idea that there is a need to change social norms around how people think of their shoreline.”

We should individually and collectively do everything we can to stop the loss of natural shorelines and reclaim lost shorelines. Let’s change the social norm so natural shorelines are preferred.

Read the Vanishing Natural Shorelines paper.

Free to a good home - Specialized lake netting

Netting that was used for on Lake Koronis as part of a pilot project to control starry stonewort is available for free to a good home.

Each net is 300’ long, 6’ deep, and plastic coated. 4 nets are available: 2 nets have 3/8” holes, 2 nets have 3/16” holes. The nets have floats on the top and weights on the bottom. The nets were decontaminated and have been in storage since 2017. Other details are available.

Contact [email protected] if your lake association can use any of these nets for any purpose.

Minnesota grapples with nickel mining

impacts as EV manufacturing raises demand

This segment from PBS News Hour on September 21, 2023, does a nice job of framing the newest mining issue for Minnesota. The video is just under 9 minutes. It’s worth watching, even if you have to watch a PBS ad before you can watch the video.

Upcoming events

Blooming Waters:

Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms and Safe Drinking Water

October 3, 2023, 12-1 pm CT

Zoom session – Registration required

Highly relevant for Minnesota, this free webinar is hosted by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Harmful algal blooms are a growing concern across the nation, and Michigan is no exception. These blooms can produce toxins that pose significant risks to both human health and aquatic ecosystems. In this webinar, we will delve into the fascinating science behind algal blooms, their causes and detrimental effects, and examples of efforts taken to prevent drinking water exposures.

Key Topics to be Covered:

  • Understanding the Science: Discover the factors that contribute to the formation of harmful algal blooms and the conditions that foster their growth.
  • Monitoring Michigan's Waterways: Learn about EGLE's efforts to track and detect harmful algal blooms in various surface water bodies.
  • Safeguarding Drinking Water: Explore Michigan's efforts to ensure the safety of drinking water systems and protect the health of its residents.

Register now for the North American

Lake Management Society Symposium

October 22–26, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania

It’s pricey and requires travel, but this a big, important conference for lake managers and concerned citizens.

The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) and Pennsylvania Lake Management Society invites you to attend the 43rd International Symposium


At a time when climate change, invasive species risks, and cultural pressures threaten the natural environment and biodiversity of our fragile ecosystem, the opportunity to highlight and mesh the State of Pennsylvania and its rich diversity of aquatic habitats is long overdue.

NALMS’ Symposium typically attracts an international collection of 500–600 lake management professionals, academia, and citizen attendees. The Symposium promotes the exchange of lake and reservoir management science, produces material for NALMS’ high-quality publications, provides a rare opportunity for networking, as well as an opportunity to recognize excellence in the field of lake and reservoir management.

Important links: Conference home page, Program info, Registration

Head to Stevens Point

for the 2024 Wisconsin Water Week convention

April 10-12, 2024, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin

This is a well-done annual conference that is put on by a well-established partnership of government, higher education, and lake groups. While some sessions will pertain to Wisconsin’s specific governance, most of the sessions will be highly relevant to Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

This statewide convention brings together professionals, students, community members, and businesses who love water. The 2024 event will feature plenary speakers, as well as interactive workshops and content-rich concurrent sessions with time for speakers to address participants' questions. 

More information

Next MN COLA Membership meeting: December 5th

The next MN COLA Membership meeting is December 5, 2023. It will be held on Zoom from 9 am – 11 am CT.

Details will follow as we get closer, but for now just save the date! 

Crow Wing LARA responds to County’s 2023 AIS Plan draft

On behalf of its member organizations and all lake associations in Crow Wing County, the Crow Wing County LARA submitted comments requesting changes to the 2023 AIS Plan and changes to how the plans are created going forward. Their comment highlights the inequity in the process and in the public policy for funding the on-going costs of AIS infestations to keep the public waters usable.

As they note: lake associations and lake improvement districts (LIDs) are not given an opportunity to participate in the creation of these annual AIS plans, but are responsible for bearing the cost of treating and/or controlling AIS once found in their lake. They believe this process is unfair and are requesting that lake associations and LIDs are brought onboard during the planning process to provide their valuable input.

In addition, they believe that leftover funds from the prior year's plan in excess of 5% of the planned spending should be used to reimburse lake associations and LIDs for their expanded inspection coverage at public accesses.

Read the full text of the Crow Wing LARA comment

AIS * Water Quality * Administration * Regulation

Featured Posts - September 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