Water Quality

The effort to protect Lac Courte Oreilles is backed by the best science available. COLA has partnered with established, independent experts in the fields of limnology, water conservation, and land and soil impacts.

Click on the photos at the bottom of the page to learn more about:

  • COLA's Total Maximum Daily Load study and Site Specific Phosphus Criterion proposal, which detail how COLA has worked with the LCO tribe and an independent contractor, LimnoTec, to compile and assess water quality data over many years.
  • How phosphorus pollution coming from Musky Bay is now affecting all of the West Basin of LCO. 
  • Why COLA's science led to the listing of Musky Bay as an impaired water in 2014 and the likely listing for the entire lake in 2018. 
  • How rare and precious is LCO's two-story cold-water fishery.
  • The historical timeline detailing the challenges facing LCO.

Please take a look at our highest-priority initiatives and accomplishments.

recent threats

Blue-green algae bloom

When a lake looks like pea soup, that’s the effect of a blue-green algae bloom. A first-ever bloom of this kind developed on Stuckey Bay on or about Sunday, November 6, 2016 and lasted for five days.

Fish die-off

In October 2016 there was a massive die-off of whitefish and cisco in LCO. Poor water conditions choked off the rare habitat. See a comprehensive report here.



Issue 2  Saving the lake

Issue 3  COLA takes another giant step in stewardship

Issue 8  'Lac Courte Oreilles - a rare gem'

Issue 13  ‘Death by a thousand cuts,’ Chairman Mic Isham’s focus on water quality, environment'