Rainy River Lake of the Woods binational Stewardship

February 9th, 2016 – The report of the 2015 Binational Rainy-Lake of the Woods Lake Association Network event is available: 2015 Lake Association Network Report.

August 13, 2015 –  FOCA was pleased to be part of the inaugural regional meeting of lake groups held recently alongside the Rainy River, in northern Minnesota.

The gathering of Canadian and American lake associations within the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed launched a new dialogue, and was an opportunity to learn about each others’ programs and successes, and to interact with local experts on water quality, aquatic invasive species, member recruitment and more.

Participants included:

Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association
Gunflint Lake Property Owners Association
Rainy Lake Property Owners Association
White Iron Chain of Lakes Association
Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations
Whiteshell Cottagers Association
Rainy Lake Conservancy
Friends of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

The event was of interest to a wide audience, attracting representatives of the International Joint Commission and its Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board.

Participants learned of exciting work ongoing in the basin to protect water quality, prevent the spread of invasives, and innovative approaches to stewardship and watershed governance at a local, regional and an international level.

Keynote speakers for the day included Terry Rees, Executive Director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations and Marte Kitson, Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Educator for Minnesota Sea Grant.

workgroup Priorities Rainy LOW Stewardship 2015Breakout sessions in the afternoon triggered discussion around priorities, programs and information sharing – water quality and environmental stewardship are common priorities with select associations more focused on impacts from mining and water level controls. Educating members, and developing partnerships with government and other agencies are strategies that lake associations are using to be successful in driving programs forward.

Key outcomes of the day included:

• An interest in building a network of contacts (lake associations)
• Sharing resources and information on stewardship
• Learning more about member recruitment ideas
• Considering future events

This important day of sharing and making new connections was conceived of and coordinated through the diligent work and foresight of Kelli Saunders, on behalf of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (LOWWSF).

Related Links:

In January 2015, the International Joint Commission submitted its report “A Water Quality Plan of Study for the Lake of the Woods Basin” to the governments of Canada and the United States.

Rainy-Lake of the Woods State of the Basin Report  2nd EDITION ( 2014 )

Lake of the Woods fact sheet (Ontario Tourism)

Lake of the Woods “Watershed at a glance” (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)

Note: a map showing the full extent of the LOW Watershed can be found here.

How does protecting Lake of the Woods protect Lake Winnipeg? Check out this graphic from CPAWS Manitoba.Terry video Rainy River thumbnail 2015

Also, see the video recorded by FOCA’s Terry Rees during his August 2015 trip to Rainy River (click image at right for the YouTube video link).

Terry ReesRainy River Lake of the Woods binational Stewardship