MN COLA traces its origins to a time when a need was recognized among COLAs and LARAs for a mechanism to network and collaborate to ensure that their voice in the Minnesota legislature was unified.
Initially, a partnership was formed between the Hubbard County COLA and Becker County COLA to develop the concept. They were joined by other groups and invited the non-profit Minnesota Waters to facilitate the process. The result was formation of the Minnesota COLA Collaborative, established in 2011 to initially work on shoreland rules and variance irregularities. Further reorganization in 2012 led to establishment of MN COLA which initially focused almost exclusively on the problem of aquatic invasive species (AIS). However, MN COLA quickly returned to advocating lake association at the state legislature and agencies concerning water quality issues in general.
MN COLA invites interested organizations and individuals to join and help with this important work. MN COLA eligibility includes COLAs and LARAs, individual lake and river associations, lake improvement districts (LIDs), other non-profit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens who share the mission and purpose of the organization.
MN COLA serves to coordinate the efforts of all lake, river, and watershed associations in Minnesota, related to shoreline preservation and restoration, water quality, prevention of aquatic invasive species (AIS), and sustainable uses and development for bodies of water in all counties, which include: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Lake, Lake Of The Wood, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Roseau, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, and Yellow Medicine.
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