Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership

Help for lake associations and river groups

The Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership (HLRP) is a program designed to help lake associations and river groups across the state identify and work toward the priorities they have for their water body. More than 400 groups have gone through this program since it started 17 years ago, receiving training and personalized support, and resulting in the following for their groups:

  • A Lake or River Management Plan specific to their water body
  • Connections to agency officials, technical staff, and local organizations that can answer questions and partner with them
  • Increased internal capacity for their group so they can better address challenges their water body faces
  • $5,000 to help their group achieve the goals they identified in their management plan

For our last round, we recruited specifically from Otter Tail County.

Freshwater has collaborated with the Initiative Foundation to sustain HLRP and has received funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund through the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources to run the program in Otter Tail County. Our partners at the West Central Initiative generously made up to $5,000 available for each of the participating groups to implement a priority action from the management plan.


More about the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership:

What does participation in HLRP mean?

Each participating group sends 5-8 representatives to a two-day training with all participating groups.  Four lake associations in Otter Tail County have already signed on for this year’s cohort of up to 8 groups. Trainings will be scheduled based on the cohort’s availability, but will likely be held in April or May. The training will include:

  • An overview of the management plan template and ecology of water bodies (each group receives a template/base plan from Freshwater Society)
  • A skills primer on nonprofit management
  • Communications, outreach and leadership guidance
  • A forum for peer networking and shared learning
  • An introduction to water resource professionals, support, and services in the area

Following the training sessions, groups host an inclusive community meeting to discuss local values, priorities, and skills available to lead projects that can result in tangible, measurable improvements to the lake or river for which they are a steward. These priority areas will be woven into the final lake or river management plan. Freshwater now facilitates the program in partnership with the West Central Initiative Foundation, and will guide and support the groups throughout the process.

What is in the Lake or River Management Plan?

The individualized management plans are invaluable resources for groups. They contain history of the group and water body, information on watershed and water body characteristics (including historic and contemporary data on water chemistry, transparency, land use, and fisheries), and outline a shared vision for the lake or river and the adopted priorities and action plans for the group. This guiding document provides a focus for groups, and is designed to be updated over time, adjusting for changes in the community, water body, or group resources.  Past participants have also valued the increased credibility the plan gives their groups when they apply for funding to address the challenges of their water body.