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COLA COLUMN: Focusing our "Eyes on the Water" helps protect our healthy lakes

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This month many visitors, residents and businesses alike have experienced the joyfulness our healthy lakes provide. The weather cooperated, with the exception of the early morning rainstorm affecting some area flotillas on the Fourth of July.

Our Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) program, called "Eyes on the Water for Healthy Lakes," provides educational opportunities and a suggested toolset to help protect and enhance the quality of our lakes and rivers.

We invite you to participate along with us as we expand our knowledge base and increase the "eyes on the water." If you missed our table at the Hubbard County Fair in the Environmental Education Building, here are the highlights of the upcoming opportunities.

• Participate in sampling for zebra mussels by hanging a settlement sampler from your dock and then record the results via an electronic survey. We still have some complimentary samplers, made from PVC pipe, available.

• AIS Early Detection Course, sponsored by Hubbard County Extension and COLA, will be held 4-7:30 p.m. Friday, July 27 at the Northwoods Bank community room. You will learn through hands-on experience how to identify aquatic vegetation that are non-native invasives and also native look-alikes. There is no fee and a light supper is included. Pre-registration is required.

• Starry Trek 2018 takes place across Minnesota from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. This is an extensive search for Starry Stonewort. No experience necessary; training is provided that morning. COLA needs your help to survey 10 public lake accesses in northern Hubbard County that are close in proximity to Starry Stonewort infestations in neighboring counties. Register for Farris Park location in Cass Lake, Minn. at or use the contact information below.

• Register for the Park Rapids Community Education Class called "Protecting Our Rivers and Lakes" by calling 218-237-6600. The class is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16. There is no fee. Have you thought about your yard as part of a watershed? Whether you live in the city, country or on the lake or river, you matter. Discover ways you can make a difference to protect our area lakes and rivers in your own yard and also as you play in water activities. Help keep this important area resource pristine for future generations.

Scroll down on our home page to see more details (, email with questions about any of these events or call Sharon at 763-355-7908.