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COLA Column: Add protecting Hubbard County lakes to your New Year's resolutions

Doing a search in Google for "New Year's Resolution" brought up all kinds of ideas and quotes too. A quote attributed to Carl Bard especially relates to the mission of protecting our Hubbard County lakes and rivers:

"Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

So a "brand new ending" that we each might commit to "now" is healthy area lakes and rivers. Picture the end goal with all the area lakes and rivers with excellent water quality plus any aquatic invasive species (AIS) contained through our personal actions. Learn how our own individual actions can help protect these valuable area assets for us "now" and future generations.

The concept of a "brand new ending" for our healthy area lakes and rivers is important for all of us as these waters support our local Hubbard County economy. These waters provide our lakes area the wide variety of recreational opportunities in all seasons for residents and visitors. Our watersheds support a variety of wildlife, provide for migrating waterfowl and beautiful trails for enjoyment, too.

So commit this winter to your own "brand new ending." For example, if you ice fish from lake to lake, keep the minnows in fresh tap water between different lake excursions. Don't share a drop of water from one lake to another, in other words. This is similar to how you are very careful in these winter months of not spreading flu and cold germs by using simple precautions.

Another consideration might be to use the cold temperatures outside to freeze fishing gear a few days that may have been exposed to AIS — like nearly invisible spiny waterfleas in summer fishing expeditions. Our ice-cube weather helps to kill off AIS like this.

A great, warm thought to share on these really cold days is how area forests, which help protect the watersheds, are helped when nasty critters, like pine bark beetles, may be negatively affected by the below-zero temperatures!

So no matter what your relationship with the lakes and rivers has been in the past, you can start now and change your behavior to help even more by protecting the waters through your personal actions.

A winter activity you can join to learn more about your water occurs on the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can find out what your tap water nitrate reading is for free. Check out for instructions on collecting the 1/2 cup of tap water for analysis and more.

The Aquatic Invaders Summit III is being offered "virtually" at the end of February if you don't care to drive to Minneapolis for the two-day event. The Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) will host the live-streaming event here in Park Rapids. Visit for how to sign up to participate.

COLA's free "Protecting our Lakes & Rivers" community education class for adults is Thursday, March 8 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Frank White Education Center. See the District 309 flyer that was just released for Winter 2018 or go to to sign up.

As Carl Bard stated, "Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

Let's commit to our own personal "brand new ending" now for our area lakes and rivers!