Join us at MN COLA’s Annual Meeting… In person!

We are excited to have out first in-person MN COLA meeting since December 2019 (pre-COVID)! The meeting is from 10 am to 3 pm in Little Falls, MN at the offices of the Initiative Foundation. A box lunch will be provided for $10. We ask that you register for the meeting so that we can plan the room seating and to get a count on lunches needed.

Click on More information below for the agenda and information about our speakers.

Our Annual Member Meeting promises to be content rich and an exciting opportunity to meet in person.

The agenda includes the all-important Legislative Update. Jeff Forester of Minnesota Lakes and River’s Advocates will be there to share details of what happened and what it means for protecting Minnesota’s public waters. Three important items on the MN COLA Legislative Agenda were being addressed this session:

  • Stable funding for MAISRC (the AIS Research Center at the University of Minnesota);
  • Watercraft Operator’s License;
  • Improved funding for AIS treatments.

We are thrilled to have author Ted Rulseh as our lunch speaker. His most recent book, Ripple Effects: How we’re loving our lakes to death, will be featured. It provides a history of how our lifestyle changes and upward mobility have increased the demands we place on our lakes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Rulseh addresses the reasons behind our vanishing natural shorelines and other impacts to lake life.

After lunch, Greg Berg, from the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District will continue our focus on shoreline management with “boots on the ground” experiences that can help guide shoreline property owners and associations. Greg has been actively involved with the collaborative work (with MN COLA, MLR, the DNR, BWSR, the U of MN, and other organizations) on natural shorelines that Paul Radomski presented to MN COLA last summer. His talks are always informative!

To round out the agenda, we will end with our signature Round Robin session where you can share what’s happening on your lake or river, in your association, or in your COLA or LARA.

Registration is free; and there is an option to have a box lunch for $10. We hope to see you there and please register today!

Wake research highlighted on KAXE’s Morning Show on May 31

If you only have 15 minutes to get caught up on the issues around wake surfing and the wake research being done at the University of Minnesota, the interview that Jeff Marr did on the KAXE Morning Show is what you need! We think it is great.

If you have more time available, register for the upcoming webinar with Jeff Marr on May 31 being hosted by Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, or watch the recent video from Jeff’s Marr’s Zoom session at the Itasca Waters Practical Water Wisdom series. Information on these other sessions is provided in the “News of Interest” section of this newsletter.

Jeff Marr headlined the May Practical Water Wisdom event hosted by Itasca Waters

Jeff Marr spoke about the recent, in-progress, and future wake research being done at the University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory.

Please note that if you can’t attend the May 31 webinar hosted by Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, the Zoom session and the slide presentation from the Itasca Waters session are available.

Great Lakes water for sale!!!

Bloomberg News recently wrote that the City of Chicago “signed a contract valued at $1 billion to sell its water elsewhere — the first such deal in 40 years — and the city expects more to come. Illinois is also launching a federally funded plan to expand its $17 billion “Blue Economy” to lure companies from water-intensive chip manufacturers to climate-tech startups.”

This is one of the newest actions in the ongoing water wars regarding shipping water from the Great Lakes to other locations.

MN COLA participating in U of MN biocontrol agents for AIS technology readiness work group


MN COLA has been invited to a collaborative work group of scientists, regulators, and water community stakeholders for measuring and communicating the readiness of genetic biocontrol agents for aquatic invasive species (AIS).  Efficient communication is critical for first-in-class technologies because misunderstandings or failure to communicate can jeopardize regulatory approval or public adoption.

This team of diverse stakeholders will establish a shared language for discussing the development of self-limiting genetic biocontrol methods for AIS.  A framework, focusing on technology readiness levels, will offer a roadmap for socially responsible technology development.  The model case will be using self-limiting genetic biocontrol agents for carp.

Additionally, the group will explore self-sustaining genetic biocontrol frameworks.


The work group is hosted by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), and the roadmap development is led by the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, North Carolina State University. More information about the carp self-limiting genetic biocontrol technology at MAISRC can be found here. Kathy Jonsrud, MN COLA Treasurer, attended the two-day workshop in May of 2023.  

Join MAISRC for eDNA Surveillance this summer!


MAISRC is looking for citizen scientists to help on a project to do eDNA surveillance this summer on Island Lake Reservoir, Lake Vermillion, Lower Prior Lake, and Shagawa Lake. If you live near these lakes and are interesting in helping the U, then this opportunity is for YOU!

Join the newest MAISRC project testing a citizen science approach for detecting aquatic invasive species using eDNA. The research team will provide volunteers with sampling dates, materials, and protocols in order to assess the accuracy of eDNA monitoring, and investigate the prevalence of high priority aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels, rusty crayfish, spiny waterflea, and common carp in Minnesota.

Researchers are learning about how effective volunteers are at detecting AIS with the hope of scaling this project up to detect aquatic invasives throughout Minnesota.

Visit the project website for more information about the project, and perhaps sign up to help the U on this important activity.

Rare report of zebra mussel attached to lake chub

Photo: Jaclyn Hill

No, this is not news from The Onion, but a research report published in Biological Invasions on March 6, 2023. This was a rare case of a zebra mussel attached by byssal threads to the lateral scales of a 6” lake chub. In the abstract, the authors note that Charles Darwin had previously recognized the potential for this kind of animal-assisted dispersal to occur. Also of note is that in 1882 Darwin published research entitled “On the dispersal of freshwater bivalves”

Hennepin County with U of M Extension offers free AIS Detector training in May

AIS Detectors documenting lake weeds

Partnering with the U of M Extension, Hennepin County is hosting two free aquatic invasive species (AIS) detector course options this spring.

The course is an introduction to AIS science, identification, and surveillance. You will learn how to identify and report invasive species, best practices for preventing the spread of AIS, relevant rules and regulations, and how to search for AIS on your own.

This course consists of two portions: a self-paced online course and an in-person workshop with the instructors. The self-paced online course takes approximately 8 hours to complete and must be completed prior to the in-person workshop.

In-person workshop options (only 1 day required):

  • Friday, May 5 in Minneapolis from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Friday, May 12 in Wayzata from 9 am to 5 pm

Learn more and register

(Note: Expand section EXT XFO.0063 – Minneapolis for the Minneapolis session and EXT XFO.0063 – Wayzata for the Wayzata session)

Michigan’s Glen Lake Association sets a high bar protecting water quality

Glen Lake, MI

Our Lake Resiliency topic at the March Membership meeting was a follow-up to December’s presentation on using drones for surface water management, but it was much more.

Rob Karner, the biologist for the Glen Lake Association in Michigan, took center stage and talked through their comprehensive approach to using their shoreline survey to drive water quality improvements. Rob was supported by Dennis Wiand and Ron Reimink who spoke about the drone technology in December.

Read More…

Help Wanted: MN COLA’s Legislative Agenda needs YOU!

The 2023 Minnesota Legislature convened on January 3rd with over sixty new members among the 67 Senators and 134 Representatives.  MN COLA has its work cut out to help make things happen on our Legislative Agenda to address our surface water quality issues, and we need your help!

Read on to get insights into the 2023 Legislative session, see the critical items on MN COLA’s Legislative Agenda, and get suggestions and next actions for you to take to help us in this truly important effort.

Read More…