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Tuesday, January 30 • 8:40am - 9:00am
SYMPOSIA-10: Demographics, Activities, and Concerns of Minnesota Lake Associations

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AUTHORS. Michelle Marko, Concordia College; Mona Ibrahim, Concordia College; Jeff Forester, MN Lakes and Rivers Advocates; Benjamin Bjertness, Concordia College; Matthew Zabel, Concordia College

ABSTRACT. In the land of 10,000 lakes, “lake culture” is an essential part of the fabric of life for many Minnesotans.  Many Minnesotans work to protect their lake through lake associations.  However, as small non-profit organizations their concerns are often overlooked by law-makers.  In 2017, we attended the annual meetings of seven lake associations, piloted a preliminary survey to 60 lake associations, and surveyed the executive committee of 407 different lake associations across Minnesota to determine their demographics, projects, involvement in the community, and primary concerns.  Respondents reported that all lake associations were created to protect and preserve their lake.  Lake associations across Minnesota typically had between 100 to 400 members with membership open to anyone interested in the lake, though more than 95% of members were either year-round or seasonal residents.  The most common goals of lake associations were to control aquatic invasive species (AIS), improve lake water quality and improve fisheries. Panfish, bass, northern pike and walleye were most commonly fished across the state.  More than 1/3 of lake associations have committees dedicated to fish management and about 6% of their budget is spent directly on fish stocking.  Declining fisheries or fishing pressure was not one of the primary concerns; rather lake association members were most concerned about aquatic invasive species (AIS), overall water quality and runoff.  Lake association members expressed specific concerns that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Section did not listen to lake association member concerns; particularly in relation to AIS.  When taken cumulatively, lake association members donate about $6.25 million annually to protect their lake and contribute about 1.2 million volunteer hours to lake conservation activities.  Lake management would benefit by tapping into this force and working collaboratively to help manage this resource.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 8:40am - 9:00am CST