Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Webinar Draws National Audience

By Jeff Forester, Executive Director MLR

On February 17th Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates hosted a webinar featuring a presentation by Jeffrey Marr and Andrew Riesgraf, St. Anthony Falls Lab, SAFL within the University of Minnesota. 

Their study of the wake energy and height produced by different watercraft in different configurations has been much anticipated by policy makers, boat dealers, lake home and cabin owners and others. Over 400 people from across the United States and Canada attended.

The Saint Anthony Falls Lab is the oldest fluid dynamics lab in the United States. It was built on the largest waterfall on the Mississippi River to make use of the flowing water in their work.

You can view the webinar presentation here: UMN Boat-Generated Wake Study: Overview of research, findings, and next steps.

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MLR’s advocacy model has four legs; science to inform public policy decisions, media outreach and education to inform the public of issues and solutions, public policy formation with partners, and civic organizing of committed lake advocates. A broad coalition of partners from across the country including marina owners, boat dealers, anglers, and lake advocates raised the money for this work through an innovative CrowdFunding campaign.

This year Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Tonka Bay Marina, Marine Retailers Association of Americas and Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations is working to advance legislation through the Minnesota Legislature to create a boaters education and certification program. The conclusions from this study will inform the training requirement.

MLR believes that by training boaters on where it is safe ecologically to run watercraft, the best way to fully clean drain and dry watercraft for Aquatic Invasive Species prevention, how to prevent impacts other lake users and how to keep everyone safe, we can protect not only our lakes, but the enjoyment of those who rely on our lakes for recreation and the economies of water based recreation. 

With training and certification in place based on the best available science, we hope to see significant behavior change out on the lakes. Having the best science is the critical first step.