Lake protectors to unite WednesdayThere’s an organization in Alexandria that people have probably heard about but may not know what it does.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
There’s an organization in Alexandria that people have probably heard about but may not know what it does.
Much of the work done by its members is behind the scenes.
But next week, there’s an opportunity for the public to get to know the group – the Douglas County Lakes Association – and its members.
The DCLA will host its annual meeting next Wednesday, September 8 at the Douglas County Public Works building in the meeting room starting at 4:30 p.m.
New officers will be voted in during the meeting and there will be a guest speaker and information sharing.
The speaker is Marian Bender, the director of Minnesota Waters, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the health of the state’s lakes and rivers.
Information on shoreland rules that got voted down will also be shared at the meeting.
Bonnie Huettl, DCLA vice president, sat down with an Echo Press reporter Tuesday afternoon and shared a little bit about the group.
“The group has more of a voice than you think,” Huettl said. “People just don’t see it. We are active. We are out there.”
Huettl noted that the DCLA formed in 1992 with an idea from Dick Howe and Bob Arthur and they were joined by Duane Hammargren, Lowell Peterson, Chuck Pugh and Red Underhill.
The group, she noted, helps to promote good stewardship of Douglas County waters.
The mission is to support member associations by coordinating and leading county-wide environmental and limnological efforts; to provide governmental and regulatory liaison; and to promote education, public awareness and advocacy of lake and lakeshore issues.
DCLA is the overseer of the individual lake associations in Douglas County. There are currently 29 associations under the DCLA umbrella.
The DCLA, noted Huettl, is under the umbrella of Minnesota Waters, which gives the organization access to charitable gambling funds.
The group is also a member of the Coalition of Lakes Associations – or COLA.
DCLA can help residents of any lake in Douglas County form an association if it doesn’t already have one.
The group meets once a month with its four officers and one member of each of the 29 lake associations is also represented.
The meetings, which take place year-round, are held the second Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the Douglas County Public Works office. The annual meeting always takes place in September.
Huettl said the DCLA is a viable organization and that it tries to get important information regarding lake issues out to its members on a regular basis.
“We go to seminars and talk with legislators about important issues regarding lakes in Douglas County,” said Huettl.
Issues include a variety of topics such as invasive species, lake monitoring, habitat, fishing, lakeshore rules and ordinances and more.
The DCLA is also in charge of monthly water testing on area lakes. The testing checks for such things as phosphorous or chlorophyll or other nutrients and chemicals.
Another arm of the group is to help local lake associations prepare a lake management plan. The DCLA is currently working with the Lobster Lake Association with its lake management plan and has recently helped the Miltona and Irene lake associations.
The DCLA maintains a website – www.dclamn.org –for its members and residents of Douglas County. More information about what the organization does and how to get involved can be found on the website.
The cost to join the DCLA is $2 per person per year in a lake association. For instance, the Lobster Lake Association has 240 members so its membership fee is $480.
For additional information, send an e-mail to Huettl at email@example.com.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Douglas County Lakes Association was started in 1992 with an idea from Dick Howe and Bob Arthur. They were joined by Duane Hammargren, Lowell Peterson, Chuck Pugh and Red Underhill.
The mission of the DCLA is to support member associations by coordinating and leading county-wide environmental and limnological efforts; to provide governmental and regulatory liaison; and to promote education, public awareness and advocacy of lake and lakeshore issues.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE DCLA
•Tastefully Simple Go Green Expo
•Kids Fishing with Awake the Lakes
•Kids Fishing at Fleet Farm
•Sponsor of senior essay scholarships
•Participate with Soil and Water Conservation District seminars on healthy lakes
•Created and distributed brochures “Owning Lakeshore in Douglas County” to area realtors
•Held seminars for Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
•Sponsored seminar Life After Zebra Mussels
•Day at the Lakes lake education event at Alexandria Shooting Park
•Supply county offices with Department of Natural Resources brochures regarding lakeshore
•Serve on Water Plan Task Force
•Serve on Comprehensive Plan Task Force
•Serve on Regional Planning Committee
•Maintain list of lake associations to distribute information
•Lake water monitoring leadership
•Realtor continuing education on owning lakeshore in Douglas County
•Assist lakes wanting to start a lake association
•Participate in Habitat Day
•Review applications for variances and conditional use permits
•Kids Ground Water Festival
•Water Wisdom Project
•Sponsor of Eco Fair with Soil and Water Conservation District
•Department of Natural Resources volunteer access monitor training