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What We Do

Photo, David Majkrzak

The Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations (MN COLA) is a statewide organization as the name indicates. It serves to help its members preserve, protect, and improve the waters and shorelands of the State of Minnesota through advocacy, education, and sharing of best practices. Its members across the state are mainly regional COLAs and similar LARAs (lakes and rivers associations) that are in turn made up of local individual lake and river associations. As a result of this organizational structure, MN COLA serves as a "Coalition of COLAs, LARAs, and individual lake and river associations" in the state of Minnesota. MN COLA is an advocate for the public waters of Minnesota, takes positions on important issues, testifies at state Legislative Committee hearings, and submits public comment letters as appropriate.

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.

➸ MN COLA has open-forum meetings several times a year to help foster communication between its members on concerns that are relevant to the organization's mission. These meeting usually feature special presentations, and are hosted by individual COLAs and LARAs around the state. MN COLA also meets occasionally at the state Capital complex during legislative sessions. Between meetings, MN COLA communicates electronically with their members on water-related issues; including legislative updates, agency policies and rules, grant opportunities, and news reports.

➸ The MN COLA website provides a repository for content on water-related topics and issues. The website is also a place where members can share their newsletters, and in that way assist other members.

➸ MN COLA board members contribute to their Grassroots Action Agenda on water-related issues and concerns.

➸ MN COLA conducts periodic surveys of its many lake association members on various topics. For example, a MN COLA survey in 2012 looked at local government and voluntary spending on AIS prevention and control activities. The results of that survey contributed to successful enactment of the state's AIS Program Aid that provides $10 million annually to the counties.

We invite 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.

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

Web design, Curtiss Hunt; masthead photo, Kathyrn Jonsrud; footer photo, Amanda Weberg.