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Minnesota Waters to cease operations

Minnesota Waters will be ceasing operations on May 19.

The statewide non-profit organization focused on promoting responsible stewardship of Minnesota's water resources by engaging citizens, local and state policymakers, and other partners in the protection and restoration of lakes and rivers.

It has been providing training, connections, and support to empower citizen-led groups to be active, effective advocates for Minnesota's unique waterscape since 2006 when the Rivers Council of Minnesota and Minnesota Lakes Association merged to form Minnesota Waters.

Chairman Kenzie Phelps said the decision came down to funding.

"The last several years have demonstrated increasing difficulty to financially sustain the high quality programs for which Minnesota Waters has become known," Phelps said. "Although we are a membership organization, members have not been our primary source of funding. We've felt the blows of contraction of foundation funding and foundations redirecting their strategies, as well as the impact of contraction of state agencies funding."

After exploring all other options, including partnerships with similar focused organizations, the board of directors has taken action to place the organization in a dormant state, which allows the retention of its corporate identity.

"We will undertake this move to dormancy in an orderly manner wherein the operations of our clients will be minimally disrupted and our obligations will be met," said Lois Sinn Lindquist of Alexandria, who accepted the executive director position last June.

Active programs involved in the transition are watershed association initiatives; lake management plan development; water quality improvement workshops; water protection programs (aquatic invasive species services) such as lake service provider training and AIS citizen monitoring; policy advocacy (AIS, shoreland rules adoption and clean water amendment funding); new agricultural practices and water quality initiative; and producing the Lakes and Rivers Conference every two years.

"Our remarkable Minnesota Waters staff has been resilient and productive during these challenging times," Sinn Lindquist said. "Each is sure to be an asset in their next position. I admire their dedication and their integrity."