About COLA

Who are our members?

Our membership is made up of over 50 lake associations in Otter Tail County.  Associations vary in their structure.  Some associations are formed for single lakes.  Others are formed to include two or more lakes, for example, Leaf Lakes Association  includes East, Middle, and West Leaf Lakes.  A third entity is the “Lake Improvement District” (LID) which is a special assessment district permitted by the County to tax its property owners to generate its funding.  When you add the number of lakes these associations represent, they account for over 60 of the more than 1400 lakes in the County.  But looking at it differently, the water area of these, the biggest lakes in the County, account for about 70% of the lake surface water area in the County.  Also, individuals who share a common interest in the health of our lakes may be COLA members.

What is our mission?

Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of our lakes and rivers,  to preserve
the economic, recreational and natural environment values of our shorelands, and
to promote the responsible use of our waters and related habitats.
COLA’s mission enhances, promotes, and protects the interests of lakeshore
property owners, lake associations, the general public, and future generations.

How do we carry out our purpose?

Our purpose is to facilitate cooperation among member associations, and to assist in fostering wise use of our lakes and rivers areas thru our monthly membership meetings, education programs, and participation in other activities

  • Seasonal monthly membership meetings that feature presenters providing information on timely topics of concern to our members.
  • Lake quality monitoring program with RMB Environmental Labs for analysis of water samples submitted by members to a volunteer for transport to the lab and batch billing of COLA by the lab with fees paid to COLA by the participating associations.
  • A strong emphasis is given to the prevention of all types of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) through educational campaigns, events and communications
  • Interaction with the Otter Tail County AIS Task Force collaborating on various projects, campaigns and events.

What are our goals?

Clean lakes, rivers and streams, and prevent spread of aquatic invasive species.

Education of lake property owners to preserve and protect the water quality in our lakes, rivers and streams.

Preserving the quality of Otter Tail County lakes to provide a strong economic base for the county and state as well as quality enjoyment for the many lake users.

Grow Membership in Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (OTC COLA) through communication, engagement and education to nurture lake stewardship of their lakes.

What is our tax exempt status?

Otter Tail County COLA is a Federal tax exempt 501(C)(3) organization,  EIN #41-1978982.