Maine Congress Of Lake Associations
The Maine Congress of Lake Associations is the only statewide, nonprofit [501(c) 3] membership organization dedicated to the protection of Maine lakes through science, education and policy. Founded in 1970, COLA works with individuals, lake associations, state agencies, schools, colleges, other nonprofits, youth camps, businesses and civic organizations to communicate lake science, promote stewardship of water resources, and encourage wise land use policy. COLA has over 100 lake association members which it supports by providing capacity-building resources, on-site presentations, Courtesy Boat Inspection workshops, an on-call answering service and advocacy for lake protection.
Exciting, hands-on lake learning takes place on COLA’s 30-foot floating classroom, the Melinda Ann. Passengers handle state-of-the-art scientific gear - a camera-equipped ROV, benthic dredge, plankton tow, magnifying projector, Secchi disk – to explore the dynamic world below the surface of Maine lakes. LAKE LOOK, a science curriculum for middle school students, expands the boat experience for middle school students, and our online resources for mentors help counselors and teachers deliver lake learning in informal settings.
COLA’s MAINE LAKES CONFERENCE for lake enthusiasts, scientists, and lake managers presents new scientific findings, lake resources, and practical programs for lake stewards and users every June. The 2012 conference will focus on the Value of Our Lakes and attendees will receive a free copy of COLA’s newly-revised classic, The LAKE BOOK, Actions You Can Take to protect your Lake.
COLA draws upon the knowledge of experts to provide objective, scientific testimony in support of policies that protect lake water quality, watershed integrity, and biodiversity. E-news alerts to over 900 individuals as well as COLA’s newsletter, For the Sake of Maine Lakes, and web postings keep lake users and activists informed about administrative and legislative issues affecting water quality.
Maine COLA is committed to supporting LakeSmart, a homeowner reward program encouraging lake friendly landscaping, in partnership with LakeSmart’s sponsor, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Together, DEP and COLA have concluded a successful test of volunteers to speed LakeSmart adoption by property owners. With our partners Colby College, the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance and the Maine Lakes Resource Center, COLA introduced LakeSmart implementation and analysis to Colby College’s study of Resilience and Change in the Belgrade Watershed, with support from Maine’s Sustainability Science Initiative (SSI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).