Conservation Minnesota

A Message to Lake & River Partners

Dear Minnesota Waters Members,

This week marks exactly one year since Minnesota Waters and Conservation Minnesota decided to become one organization.  The announcement last May stated “Our two organizations have something very important in common, we are both focused on engaging people in protecting what we love most about Minnesota.  Today and tomorrow, our mission to promote responsible stewardship of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers continues.

For the past twelve months, we have worked to uphold and build upon that commitment. We told all of our lake and river association partners, that we would take some time to demonstrate what we can accomplish together before asking you to renew your membership dues.  Today, I am writing to report on our progress during this legislative session, outline goals for the coming year, and ask you to renew your association’s membership.

This year, more than 20,000 Minnesotans helped shape and guide our work by sharing with us your conservation priorities.  Over the last few months, more than 10,500 postcards, emails and phone calls were delivered to legislators and Governor Dayton on your behalf, urging them to take action on your priorities.  They didn’t go un-noticed.

Through your partnership, you helped make real progress in protecting our lakes and rivers by passing several pieces of important legislation:

  • The Clean Water Legacy Effectiveness Act – Provisions of this bill that improves accountability and clean up strategies for polluted waters were included in this year’s legacy budget.
  • Shoreland Protections – The DNR was authorized to create more protective guidelines for development along the Mississippi River and a new grant program provides incentives for local governments to implement more protective shoreland standards.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Funding – Increased funding for enforcement, improved enforcement software, research, prevention and grants to local partners for AIS prevention and habitat restoration.
  • Groundwater Conservation – We can’t stand by as groundwater depletion causes lakes like White Bear to go dry.  This year’s budget includes new funding to monitor groundwater supplies and help communities manage groundwater resources effectively.

All of this happened with your help, but there is much more to do together.  Clear legislative priorities moving forward will be updating shoreland rules and securing a dedicated funding source to battle AIS, among others.

In addition to completing this session’s work at the legislature, we are currently putting together our budget for the coming year.  With your continued membership, we plan to:

  • Hire a full time Minnesota Waters program coordinator to build closer relationships and improved service to your association.
  • Offer AIS identification and monitoring trainings across the state.
  • Work with partners to host a Lakes & Rivers conference in 2014.
  • Launch a new, mobile compatible version of
  • Continue hosting association websites.

I ask that your association work with us as we take on these important new challenges.  The linked materials have simple instructions for renewing your membership.

Your support and partnership today will allow us to build upon these successes, protecting the lakes and rivers we treasure for generations to come.



Paul Austin
Executive Director

About Paul Austin

Paul Austin

Paul Austin has 23 years of public service as an elected leader, advocate and political strategist, Paul Austin brings a rare combination of skills and experience to his position as Executive Director. At age 25, Paul was elected Mayor of Clinton, Connecticut – the youngest in state history. Paul has served as Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota since 2004.

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