Aquatic Invasive Species rake kit
Eagle Scout Alex Collins with zebra mussel detector
Eagle Scout Alex Collins displaying one of the zebra mussel monitoring platforms that he constructed that were distributed at the SC COLA Annual Even on 5-31-18.
SC COLA Board Members showing the additional zebra mussel monitoring platforms that were created for member lakes on 7-1-21.


Created an Annual Healthy Lakes Checklist magnet to educate users about simple seasonal practices that they can do to help keep our waterways clean.

Our AIS Early Detection Rapid Response Task Force has developed an interactive universal action plan and is pursuing agreements on the roles and responsibilities for local government and lake associations, so that we will be prepared for if / when new AIS challenges occur. Click to download print friendly handouts.

Develop an Adopt-A-Stormdrain program with cities/counties for volunteers to clean their community’s stormdrains so debris and nutrients do not end up in a waterbody.

Sherburne County Water Equipment Cleaning Handout. An additional activity developed and promoted by the COLA and SWCD was creation and distribution of a water equipment cleaning protocol. The protocol consists of a single-page handout and YouTube video which instructs lake property owners on the importance of cleaning and inspecting their equipment upon removal from the water each fall. The COLA will distribute these materials to their membership and the SWCD will remain the point of contact for any suspect AIS reports.

Lake Stewardship Template. The Little Elk Lake Improvement Association (LELIA) complied this lake stewardship list and related attachments to provide guidance and instruction to lakeshore owners. They believe lake communities are jointly invested in their lake resource, and if they are provided basic instructions on how to improve their lake they will do the right thing. In addition, they have found that new lakeshore owners especially have a lot of questions and this information provides them direction on how to impact lake in a positive way. LELIA has made the template available for each of our SC COLA member organizations to customize to their lake characteristics and conditions.

Pursue improvements in septic system ordinance compliance, property owner education and low interest loan awareness with Sherburne County. An initial meeting to outline strategies was held on December 8, 2020.


Steve McComas, The Lake Detective photo
In 2023, along with the SWCD, we hosted a presentation by Steve McComas, The Lake Detective on Harmful Algae Blooms – When Should We Be Concerned and What Can We Do? Plans are underway to host a presentation this year that also includes PLM, a lake management company.

Zebra mussel detectors in 2018 were constructed by Eagle Scout Alex Collins (see photo at left) and distributed to member lake associations to monitor this invasive.
In 2021, the SC COLA and Sherburne SWCD partnered to expand zebra mussel surveillance in county lakes.  This effort included constructing an additional 40 zebra mussel settling platforms (see photo left) and distributing to lake residents.  An instruction guide was sent to each resident which informs them of use and care of the platform, what to look for, and to whom any suspicious looking items should be reported to.  Sherburne SWCD staff will regularly communicate with these resident volunteers and record any findings reported. 

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Monitoring Rake Kits (see photo above) sponsored by the SWCD and SC COLA that provide detection devices and materials for ongoing protection throughout the boating season of each lake (at no cost).

Collaborate with the Recreational Enforcement Division of the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office to promote safety in lake and river recreational activities within the County. This includes education on rules and local ordinances, identifying placement of navigational aids (buoys) in County waters and needs for removal of navigational hazards and coordinating aquatic invasive species watercraft inspections.

Alum for Phosphorus Control seminar sponsored by Briggs Lake chain.

Joint AIS Volunteer Watercraft Inspector training with DNR sponsored by SWCD and Big Lake Community Lake Association.

Zebra mussel veliger monitoring, sponsored by SWCD and conducted by lake associations to determine potential early stage of this aquatic invasive species.