Category: Issues

2024 MN COLA Meetings Dates

2024 meeting dates

  • March 19, 2024, from 9-11 CT on Zoom
  • June 18, 2024, in-person or Zoom to be determined (see the survey question above)
  • September 17, 2024, from 9-11 CT on Zoom
  • December 10, 2024, from 9-11 CT on Zoom

Wanted: MN COLA Director candidates!


Every year, MN COLA elects or re-elects Directors for terms up to 3 years at our Annual meeting in June. If you have been interested in MN COLA and would like to get more involved as a Board member, please send an email to

Check our website for more information on how MN COLA operates and is organized.

MN DNR designates 12 more AIS

Dense patch of lilies

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified 13 high-risk invasive aquatic plants, fish and invertebrates as prohibited invasive species. All but one (jumping worms) are AIS.

Here are the 13 new AIS: mitten crab, Nile perch, snakehead family, walking catfish family, yellow floating-heart, tench, golden mussel, marbled crayfish (marmorkrebs), golden clam, tubenose gobies (any fish belonging to the genus Proterorhinus), and eastern mosquitofish.

For more information on these new AIS, you can check out the DNR’s website.

Add your Point-Intercept data to MAISRC’s database


MAISRC is seeking your point-intercept (PI) aquatic plant survey data to add to their statewide database. If your lake or river association have done or are doing lake surveys and are using a point-intercept approach, please follow this link to get more information about the MAISRC database.

Bill introduced to recycle boat shrink wrap in Minnesota

Shrink-wrapped boats
Photo: Michigan Recycling Coalition

Shrink wrap is used across the country to protect boats from the elements. Unfortunately, the opportunities to recycle that plastic are currently very limited. And we are talking about a lot of plastic. A 25-foot boat uses approximately 25 pounds of plastic and that’s roughly equivalent to over 2,000 plastic shopping bags. Think about the 800,000 registered watercraft in Minnesota and how many of them are shrink wrapped every year. The amount of boat shrink wrap Minnesota uses just one time is staggering.

Legislation has been introduced in the Minnesota House (HF 3320) and in the Senate (SF 3427) to begin to address the problem. The proposed legislation will:

  • Creates a product stewardship program to responsibly recycle and reuse boat shrink-wrap.
  • Requires producers, through membership in a stewardship organization, to implement and finance a statewide product stewardship program to reduce the volume
    of boat wrap disposed of in landfills by promoting and providing for the collection and recycling of boat wrap.
  • Sets goals and a mechanism for tracking progress towards recycling the majority of boat shrink-wrap plastic used in Minnesota.

Here is a great overview of the issue from the Chesapeake Quarterly. It’s focused on Maryland, but it is the same issue in Minnesota.

Here is a 1-page flyer on the proposed bill that includes some rough estimates on the amount of plastic that goes into our landfills or is incinerated.

Note: This initiative is not identified in our 2024 MN COLA Legislative Agenda, but it’s one that is worth supporting!

Enhanced wakes are stirring things up

drawing showing woman on a wakesurf board

There is much happening around the country regarding enhanced wakes. The Phase 2 wake research from the St. Anthony Falls Lab at the University of Minnesota should be released sometime soon. Minnesota is readying the best practice education to accompany the new Watercraft Operators License. Michigan and Wisconsin have proposed legislation for regulating wakes. The State of Vermont has defined new rules addressing wake surf areas along with a new program to reduce the spread of AIS from ballast water. And on top of all that, new data from the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association showed that new “tow boat” sales dropped 20% from 2022 to 2023.

Follow the More information link for more details.

Lake Superior has dramatically less ice this season 

Lake Superior Ice Concentrations 1973-2024

More insights on the impacts of this season’s limited ice on Lake Superior can be found in Jana Hollingsworth’s article from February 20, 2024, in the StarTribune. About 2% of the lake had ice compared to about 20% last year and 80% in 2022. Forty percent is the average ice concentration over the last 50 years.

Researchers are suggesting potential impacts to AIS, fish species, algae blooms, and more. All of the Great Lakes had limited ice this season and the effects will be studied for years.

Here’s the link to the article. You may have to have a StarTribune subscription to view the article.

Climate change is affecting walleye spawning

Profile of a walleye

A recent study, published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography Letters, examined 194 lakes in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to assess changes in walleye spawning. The takeaway is that climate change is causing lakes to thaw earlier and faster than walleye are adapting.  When the walleye spawn, there is less food resource available for the babies and their survival can be low.

Danielle Kaeding of Wisconsin Public Radio has an audio report and a longer on-line news story.