Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations

OFFICER REPORTS – May 22, 2010

President’s Report – OTC COLA Bylaws:  Shawn Olson

A presentation of the Bylaws is available for viewing prior to the start of the meeting.  This presentation allows members and guests to learn about the COLA’s organizational structure.  It’s a great refresher for long time COLA members and helps our guests gain insight into what we do.

Membership is open to any organized lake/river group and/or individuals.  The meetings are open to the public and all attendees are welcome to join in on all of the discussions.  However, only the General Director appointed by an organized lake group, whose membership is current, can vote.

The bylaws allow for one vote per member Lake group, regardless of size.  It is recommended that each Lake group also appoint an Alternate General Director who is authorized to vote in the absence of the General Director.  If the General Director and the Alternate General Director is absent, then the highest ranking officer present at the COLA meeting is allowed to vote.

Vice Presidents Report – 2010 Programs & Speakers:  Jeff Stabnow

June 26, 2010 – East Otter Tail SWCD Shoreland Specialist – Steve Henry

Treasurer’s Report – Monthly Report:  Chuck Olson *2 Year Audit Pending*

INVOICES for 2010 DUES and WATER TESTING FEES were mailed on Wednesday, May 12.  Please return the "BLUE SHEET" with your new or updated Association information. The "BLUE SHEET" was enclosed with your 2010 INVOICE to save us some time and cost for distribution, and to make it convenient for YOU to return it to COLA.

Payments for 2009 Dues and/or Water Testing Fees are due from the following Associations:   Devils Lake; Little McDonald Group LID for Paul Lake;  McDonald Lake; Ottertail Property Owners Assn for Blanche Lake; Ten Mile Lake.  In most cases the Association added an additional test site when testing commenced.  The additional testing has been paid to the Labs since COLA pays the Labs within a few days after the billings are received.

Thanks to Silent Lakes Assn and Wall Lake Assn for bringing their accounts up to date.

Committee Reports – May 22, 2010

Executive Committee – Executive Committee Meeting Minutes - April 24th

Present:  Shawn Olson, President; Jeff Stabnow, Vice President; Allen Haugrud, Chair Communications Committee; Steve Johnson, Chair Membership Committee;  Chuck Olson, Secretary-Treasurer;  Bob Deutschman, Past President  Absent:  Carolyn Herron, Chair Environmental Committee

Call to Order:  S. Olson declared a quorum was present and called the Committee Meeting to order at 11:35 am (immediately following the general directors’ meeting).

Approval of Flexible Agenda:  Motion and second to adopt the flexible agenda as presented (S. Johnson; R. Deutschman), carried.

Secretary’s Report:  Motion and second to approve the minutes of the April 5, 2010 Committee meeting minutes (J. Stabnow; S. Johnson), carried.

Treasurer’s Report:  Bills payable/receivable:  C. Olson reported there are no invoices to approve.  There is a bill for mileage missing and he is unsure who submitted it.  Six lakes still owe for testing during 2009 and have been billed.  B.Deutschman will be submitting a bill for his attendance at the Shallow Lakes Conference.

2009-2010 Year End Audit:  S. Olson will contact Floyd Lehne to schedule the audit.

2010-2011 Budget Review:  Administrative Assistant:  If membership issues require more time, it will be reviewed later.   Data Assessment Workshop:  A small amount will be added to the budget to allow for refreshments and other misc. expenses.  Shoreland Guide & Other Publications:  Budget will be revised to reflect the $2,000 for the preparation and printing of the Shoreland Guide.

Shoreland Guide & Other Publications:  J. Stabnow has taken the information to Land & Resource, and it is being updated for Otter Tail County.  S. Olson asked for ideas to raise money to offset the cost.  B. Deutschman will ask Lake Region Electric Co. for a donation and J. Stabnow will approach Otter Tail Power Co.

Committee Assignments:  The following people have agreed to serve on committees:  Liaison:  Rich McCrady,; Nominations:  Scott Gaudette,; Environmental Affairs:  Lisa Helbling,; Volunteer Recognition:  Jerry Horgen,

New Business:  There was no new business.

General Board Meeting & Agenda, May 22, 2010:  Topics for discussion:  Request for action from Jeff Brown, Boedigheimer Lake; Membership; B. Deutschman has agreed to order and pick up rolls, and set up the meeting room for May 22.

Adjourn:  There being no further business brought before the Executive Committee, S. Olson adjourned the meeting at 12:15 pm.  Submitted by Sharyl Ogard, Administrative Assistant

Communications Report – Allen Haugrud

1.       Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership.  We will continue to hear about the progress of the lakes selected, which were:  Otter Tail County:  East Battle Lake Watershed District, Lake Seven (Scalp) Lake Association, and West Battle Lake Association; Douglas County:  Lake Irene Preservation Association, Lake Mary Association, and Lake Miltona Association; Becker County:        Big Cormorant Lake Associate and Big Toad Lake Improvement Association.

2.       Statewide shoreland rules revisions are still being worked on with final drafts reviewed by the governor’s office.  No new rules will be in place during 2010.  Any new Shoreland rules will be enforced by the counties. Counties will be given a year or two to adopt and may be in place by 2012 or 2013. No guarantee!  Public hearings on the proposed rules should occur within 2010, but late summer is likely the earliest time.  Posted on the DNR website:

3.       Statewide rules revisions for structures, are still being worked on with final drafts reviewed by the governor’s office.  No new rules will be in place during 2010.  New rules for structures may be in place for 2011 as they are enforced by the DNR.  Public hearings on the proposed rules should occur within 2010, but late summer is likely the earliest time.  Nothing new is posted on the DNR website.

4.       Star Lake Designation: The Star Lake Board was established to encourage and reward citizen-based lake and river associations that actively participate in protecting and enhancing surface waters of Minnesota. The enabling legislation reflects a belief that broad citizen participation provides a very cost effective means of protecting our water resources. The Star Lakes initiative is designed to foster broader citizen participation through financial incentives, educational efforts, and public-private partnerships.  STAR LAKE OR RIVER APPLICATIONS OPEN APRIL 15, 2010:  The Star Lake Board has been working very hard on the application process for designation of Star Lakes or Rivers organizations, with applications accepted after April 15, 2010.  Please follow the instructions in the How to Apply section of its website.  The Board has sufficient funds to designate additional lakes and rivers with Star status and award them funds for their approved lake and river projects.

5.       MINNESOTA WATERS LAKE AND STREAM CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP GRANTS:  Minnesota Waters announced its 2010 Lake and Stream Conservation Partnership grant recipients, made possible with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and support from Michelob Golden Draft Light The Conservation Partnership grant program is designed to help citizen groups across Minnesota implement projects that improve shoreland habitat and water quality in their communities.   The 2010 grant recipients are:  •Carver County Land & Water Services, to restore the eastern shoreline of Fireman’s Lake with native plants. (Carver County); •Pelican Lakes Property Association, to provide Aquatic Invasive Species prevention efforts including monitoring area landings, holding training sessions, educating equipment rental providers, and hiring an intern to talk with area businesses. (Crow Wing County); •River Keepers, to provide rain barrel construction classes, sell locally constructed rain barrels, assist with rain barrel installation, and develop and install a rain barrel display. (Clay County); •Martin Soil and Water Conservation District, to assist 5 lakeshore homeowners with installation of rain gardens, native buffers, and on one property to improve an eroding ravine and install a sediment filter. These properties will serve as demonstration sites. (Martin County); •Friends of the Mississippi River will partner with Hastings High School, the City of Hastings and community volunteers to build two large rain gardens at the Hastings Public Works Facility. (Ramsey County); •Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed District, to restore native vegetation to a river bank near a low head dam in Dawson, MN, and construct a rain garden adjacent to a parking lot to capture water before it enters the river. (Lac qui Parle County); •Zumbro Watershed Partnership, to create a database of rural shoreland owners within the watershed, conduct a forum to connect the landowners to staff from resource agencies and conservation organizations, and compile a list of property owners who would like to work with professional staff to assist them with enrolling riparian lands in conservation programs. (Olmsted Counties)

6.       Minnesota Waters & DNR partnered on AIS Prevention Meetings for Regional Leaders & for the public; the local meeting was Jan 21st in Fergus Falls.  The joint report is available at the Minnesota Waters website (  It includes the following:

Executive Summary:  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Minnesota Waters partnered to hold a series of five meetings and public open houses across the state in Duluth, Minnetonka, Walker, Fergus Falls and Willmar. Held in January 2010, these sessions focused solely on aquatic invasive species prevention. The purpose of the stakeholder meetings was to inform citizens of current DNR prevention efforts, to gain citizen input and share new ideas on improving prevention, and to develop new partnerships focused on local and state action. Over 200 citizen leaders, local government officials or staff, and community business representatives participated in the meetings and open houses.

Concerns Shared by Stakeholders:  It was clear from the meetings that the citizens of Minnesota take the threat of aquatic invasive species seriously and feel that not enough is being done to effectively prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. In particular, those who attended the meetings are most concerned with the spread of zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, and Asian carp, among others. Stakeholders stated that State agencies need to take bold action or aquatic invasive species will continue to spread in the state. Many also stated that not enough resources are available to meet the invasive species prevention needs.

Stakeholder Ideas:  Much discussion during the stakeholder meetings was around potential actions that could be implemented to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Before this discussion occurred, a common understanding of past and current strategies and actions that had been tried or implemented was needed. Following those presentations, stakeholders offered multiple ideas to consider. A condensed list of the main ideas suggested by stakeholders is below. A more complete list can be found in the body of the report.

New or improved regulations are needed:  Stiffer penalties for violators; Greater restrictions on movement of aquatic plants and water ; Require inspections of boats leaving infested waters; Restrict access to lakes and rivers – various forms to facilitate inspections; Require a new boat operator’s license and training on AIS; Require training and certification for lake service professionals; Enforcement; More authority to inspect boats and equipment; Increase time and effort enforcing invasive species laws; Watercraft Inspections; Increased inspections of watercraft statewide, especially at infested waters; Education; More education on why invasive species are harmful; More messaging on personal responsibility; More youth education on invasive species; Expand prevention messages to key audiences (boat dealers, tournament anglers etc.); Local support and partnerships; Involve and aid lake associations in local prevention efforts; continue to provide grant funds for local action.

7.       Minnesota Waters - is working on updating its services to lake associations.  Minnesota Waters has a new, re-designed website!  There are some great new tools such as a home-page calendar that features current and upcoming events, and a user forum for members to share ideas, questions, and solutions. There is also a “What We Do” section – discover the many ways Minnesota Waters provides training, connections, and support to citizens working to save our lakes and rivers.


9.       Communications Committee can use more volunteers and ideas.  Should it publish a newsletter?  Should we maintain more of a presence on the web, whether on our website, Face book, blog?

Environmental Affairs Committee – Carolyn Herron

Special thanks to Scott Goudette and Lisa Helbling for volunteering to help Carolyn Herron with her Committee assignments!  Welcome aboard!

Membership Committee – Steve Johnson

Volunteers are needed to help update the membership records, seek out organized lake associations and invite them to join COLA and help groups form lake associations.

Nominating Committee – Jeff Stabnow

Scott Goudette from Round Lake, across from Rush Lake, has volunteered to join the Nominating Committee. We thank him for his support.  Welcome aboard!

The Treasurer’s position currently held by Chuck Olson will be coming up this in August. Chuck has agreed to seek an additional 2 year term.

Liaison Committee – Jeff Stabnow

Rich McCrady from Long Lake at Vergas has joined the Liaison Committee. We welcome Rich to our group.  Welcome aboard!  Meetings attended on behalf of COLA included:

Little MacDonald Kerbs Paul (LMKP) Lake Improvement District meeting in Perham:  Information reviewed included AIS background information and contacts.

Douglas County COLA meeting in Alexandria:  Current issues include a proposal to prohibit boat traffic between certain lakes in the chain of lakes where some are infested with zebra mussels. The Victoria Lake Association is apparently split 50:50 on the proposed closure and the discussion considered what position the DC COLA should take.

Otter Tail County Planning Commission Meeting in Fergus Falls:  The agenda included a project on East Silent Lake. During the audience comment period, Joe Gerold from the East Silent Lake Association expressed concern because the Lake Association had not been notified of the project. Marsha Bowman of the Land & Resource office said the policy is to notify affected Lake Associations but information may not be readily available or current. I talked with Marsha Bowman the next day and later Bill Kalar, and suggested perhaps COLA could help provide an up to date list of all lake associations and contacts. I also called Joe Gerold and discussed ways of getting the Planning Commission agenda. I believe our COLA site links to Otter Tail County in general but perhaps we could also link directly to the agenda of the Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment. Other complicating factors are that notices are typically posted two weeks before the meeting and most lake associations meet monthly and many only seasonally. The meeting dates are set and published at the beginning of each year. A person or committee of the local lake association could be assigned to monitor the agenda for individual lakes.  

Special Committee – Youth Outreach – Shawn Olson

448 – 5th Graders attended the 20th Annual Conservation Days April 27, 29 & 30th.  With help from Mickey Okeson (Becker County 4-H Extension Educator) and Marc Wing (OTC COLA Volunteer), Shawn Olson spoke about Invasive Species and played “It’s An Invasion” with 194 students on Tuesday/Thursday; Nathan Olson (MN DNR) spoke about Aquatic Invasive Species on Friday; Jeff Lepp & Jim Pendroy spoke about Soils; Jess Steinbrenner on Recycling; Donna Geiser on Water Quality; Willma Hanson on Trees and Mike Nelson on Fisheries.

At the April meeting, the Youth Outreach Committee recommended that the COLA establish a Youth Grant program to stimulate Otter Tail County youth groups to plan and carry out projects that teach youth about lakes, wetlands and stewardship of those areas by providing “seed money” needed to make projects successful.  Individual Youth Grant Amount - $25 minimum per project, $250 maximum per project; Grants with a combined total of $250 may be awarded per year.  50% of the grant amount requested must be matched by the youth group or by other local contributions (this may include volunteer time valued at $10 per hour).  Grant awards are based upon the availability of funds and project merits.  The COLA did not take any action.

Special Sub-Committee – COLA Recognition and Award Program – Jerry Horgen

Special thanks to Jerry Horgen for volunteering to help the Executive Committee!  Welcome aboard!

The Otter Tail County COLA’s Volunteer and Lake Association of the Year Awards are to inspire and recognize the achievements of an individual volunteer and/or lake association.  It is imperative that those individuals and lake associations whose volunteer work has truly made a difference be considered for these award.   The nomination deadline is June 30, 2010.  Winners will be announced on August 28, 2010 at the Annual Meeting of the Otter Tail County COLA.

Anyone may nominate any volunteer who is a member of the Otter Tail County COLA, either individually or as part of a membership in a lake group that is a member of the Otter Tail County COLA.

Criteria:  The award will be given to a Volunteer that:  Has made a significant investment of their time and talent to protect and preserve their lake or river; Has demonstrated an ability to bring people together and engage them in activities that protect and preserve their lake or river; Has demonstrated an ability to bring about positive change.

Anyone may nominate any organized lake group that is a member of the Otter Tail County COLA.

Criteria:  The award will be given to a Lake Association that:  Has successfully implemented a lake improvement project; Has successfully implemented an educational or outreach program; Has substantially increased membership and/or has successfully increased participation of their membership; Has successfully partnered with the local/county, state and/or federal government or other agencies.

Instructions:  In no more than two (2) pages, describe the nominee’s specific achievement and how it has met the above criteria.  Details can be found online at

The two (2) page letter of nomination should be emailed to: and electronically dated by June 30, 2010.  It may be mailed to:  The COLA Selection Committee, C/O Jerry Horgen, 41708 Grace Etta Road, Henning, MN 56551 and postmarked by June 30, 2010.

Update Reports:  May 22, 2010

Data Assessment Workshop – Becker, Hubbard and Otter Tail County COLA’s are sponsoring a Workshop to be held in the afternoon on Saturday, June 26th at the MSCTC.  Do you have data on your lake that you don’t know what to do with?  What is good water quality?  Is it as defined by fishermen, environmentalists or the health department?  What does it mean to you?  Volunteers have collected the data.  What do you do with the data?  Look to your local newspaper for further details! 

Otter Tail County Shoreland Guide to Lake Stewardship – The project is on hold until 100% of the funding is secure.  The Executive Officers have sought funding from Otter Tail County, Lake Region Electric Cooperative Operation Roundup, Otter Tail Power Community Connections and Arvig Communications to cover the gap that exists between what is pledged by the OTC COLA and the Native Shoreland Buffer Incentives grant.  We regret that we will not be able to make our planned June deadline. Once funding is 100% secured, the contract with West Communications will be signed and the free guidebooks would be available for distribution 6 weeks thereafter.

Otter Tail County COLA Website – The website continues to be hosted by Minnesota Waters and you can find out by following the links offered at their main site.  Please note that the URL has changed.  Simply go to and be sure to save it as a “favorite”.