The Value of Lake Associations and their Coalitions
Like their member Lake Associations, Coalitions of Lake Associations (“COLAs”) and Lake and River Associations (“LARAs”) are organized to help protect and improve the waters and shorelands by banding together for greater political clout, and by sharing ideas. Mission statements can be crafted to the local situation and include many Goals, Objectives, and Implementation tools. Lake organizations are most often registered as tax-exempt, non-profit “501(c)3” organizations. Articles of incorporation within Minnesota are available online. A County COLA can assist your local Lake Associations in many ways from formation to maintenance to dissemination of information.
*Regular Coalition meetings of regional Lake Association leaders create opportunities to discuss both local and county-wide opportunities, problems, and issues important to lake/river association as well as individual owners;
*LAs and COLAs provide education for riparian property owners on best practices to preserve water quality and maintain property values, with the COLA serving as repository of shared materials from LAs, and as a contact for owners without a Lake Association.
*Websites and email lists can communicate information to Lake Association members, collecting individual member newsletters for all the COLA members;
*A COLA can provide contact information to government agencies for legal notifications to Lake Association leaders;
*COLAs can help identify speakers, topics and programs for local presentations at Lake Associations as well as regional seminars events on important water-related issues;
*Regional and state-wide Coalitions can serve as a conduit for disseminating local information, publications, successes and ideas from all around the state to other local groups in Minnesota;
*Collaboration with other county advocacy groups or agencies can be facilitated by COLAs for the benefit of Lake Associations;
*State and county-wide Grants for local and regional projects can be gathered and publicized by the COLA for the benefit of their members;
*COLAs provide assistance in organizing new Lake/ River Associations and Watershed Districts, and furthering Lake Management Plans by those associations;
*Of special importance to COLAs are strategies and coordination for the local control and management of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), including annual metrics and a survey of local, non-governmental monies spent for AIS control on public waters;
*COLAs can present an organized, unified voice to participate in the advocacy and development of local land-use controls, such as zoning ordinance revisions, septic policy, and other items before the county Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment; *Lake Association and regional COLA membership in state-wide grass-roots groups such as MN COLA and MLR afford greater policy advocacy and lobbying at the state legislature affecting water and lakeshore living, AIS funding, DNR Shoreland Rules, septic standards, and other issues;