The new Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates (MLR) Lake Steward program complements the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Association’s (COLA) Shoreland Advisor’s program, which began in 2020.

A free, virtual training will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 1. Lake associations may learn more about the Lake Steward program at http://www.mnlakesandrivers.org/2021/02/02/mlr-lake-steward-program. Sign up for the training with jeff@mnlakesandrivers.org.

According to the website, MLR launched Lake Steward “to support lake associations as they improve water quality, increase lake association visibility, and boost membership efforts.”

Through Lake Steward, a lake association sends out a simple questionnaire so that members can “score their shore.” If a property meets Lake Steward standards, they are awarded a “beautiful sign designating them as a Lake Steward.” If the shoreline does not meet the criteria, lake steward volunteers can talk with the property owner about steps they can take, if they want, to improve their shoreline in order to meet the criteria.

MLR will provide details and contacts so Lake Steward volunteers can provide information to property owners about companies and resources that can do restoration work as well as matching grant opportunities.

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Current COLA Shoreland Advisors are encouraged to learn Lake Steward methods so there is consistency between the two shoreland coaching programs.

Karen Terry, a retired water resource management specialist from University of Minnesota Extension, will be teaching the Lake Steward training. She also taught the Shoreland Advisors 101 workshop, held last fall in Hubbard County.

Shoreland advisors

Citizens are invited to explore the Shoreland Advisors 101 workshop and consider coaching landowners who request a consultation to consider methods to protect water quality.

Shoreland Advisors are then available to coach a lakeshore owner on a Hubbard County lake.

The Shoreland Advisors program is sponsored by COLA in collaboration with Hubbard County University of Minnesota Extension and Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

The goal is to improve and protect area lakes and rivers by pairing volunteer advisors with property owners and exploring alternative lawn, gardening and lake-friendly best management practices.

Sign up to become a Shoreland Advisor with COLA at hccolamn@gmail.com. View the “Shoreland Advisors 101 Workshop” video, plus slides and online resources, at www.hubbardcolamn.org/presentations.html.

Lake residents who are interested in having a trained Shoreland Advisor walk along your lakeshore and share insights about preventing runoff or erosion and promoting water quality should email hccolamn@gmail.com. Include your lake, township, county and email address. Social distancing and masks are required during the pandemic. There is no charge.