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Resource Materials for Water Quality Issues

Sunset over lake
Photo, David Majkrzak

The resource materials listed below were prepared by MN COLA or are materials in the public domain (with credit given to original source). By definition, the list changes over time.

➸MN watersheds and water basins.

All water flowing into the streams or lakes has the potential of bringing with it a variety of unwanted and dangerous contaminants. These include but are not limited to AIS, sewage from man and animals, spilled or improperly disposed petroleum products, agriculture fertilizers and pesticides, and other hazardous substances to the lake and people using the lake. In addition, your activities influence the quality of water downstream from your location. It is therefore important that all Minnesotans become familiar with their local water drainage basin (called a watershed).

A watershed includes not only surface water—lakes, streams, reservoirs, and wetlands—but also all of the underlying ground water. Larger watersheds contain many smaller watersheds. All of the land that drains water to the outflow point is the watershed for that outflow location.

Minnesota has 81 major watersheds. Each is defined by rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands.

Some, but not all, watersheds in Minnesota are served by local, special-purpose units of government that work to solve and prevent water-related problems. These watershed districts can be contacted if you have a concern:

➸ Examples of County AIS Programs.

The state of Minnesota appropriated funding to each county for the prevention of AIS, basing the grant-in-aid allocation upon the number of watercraft trailer launches and trailer parking spaces located within each county.

The designated local government works closely with local, state and federal governments, as well as nonprofit and private organizations, to develop and implement AIS prevention programs (reference).

The Stearns County Rapid Response Plan is completed, open source, without copyright, and can be adapted for use in other counties.

Other MN counties have drafted or completed their AIS plans.

The authors of a volunteer AIS Lake Monitoring Early Detection Program offer their plan as a template for use by other counties.

For questions about specific county programs or how counties are using their funds, contact the county directly.

lake and shore

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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Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations

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