This year marks the 75th year that the Lake Detroiters Association has been promoting their mission of protecting and enhancing the lake. Over those years, LDA's Friend of the Lakes Award has become a special honor, bestowed to its recipients for their extraordinary contributions to the association's mission and goals.
This year's recipient, Barb Halbakken Fischburg, is a native of Detroit Lakes, who has demonstrated her commitment to protect the community's lake resources in multiple ways.
"Crush the Rush" was a landmark effort to protect the mile-long City Beach. Barb spearheaded the effort with community and lake homeowners' support, and the 2008 and 2009 awareness campaigns were a huge success in eliminating the visual flowering rush on the mile-long City Beach.
With the support of the City of Detroit Lakes, Pelican River Watershed District, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Detroit Lakes City Beach is now a vibrant asset for our community and tourists to enjoy.
Barb praised all of those organizations in her acceptance speech, but added that "without the support and gratitude shown me from lake homeowners, none of my efforts would have been possible."
"The encouragement and appreciation I received over the past 10 years cannot be measured," she said.
Barb also talked about how she first became involved in water protection, stating that after growing up just a few blocks away from the Pavilion, one of her early teenage dreams was to understand all she could about the water.
Over the years, Barb has tirelessly dedicated her volunteer hours to better protect and enhance Detroit Lake. During her five years as LDA president, she championed many lake protection efforts, including the following:
• Spearheaded the first ever "Aquatic Invasive Species Legislative Summits" in 2011 and 2012, which drew the attention of state legislators and ultimately prompted the Minnesota Legislature to pass milestone Aquatic Invasive Species legislation;
• Directed a hands-on AIS watercraft inspection program for Detroit Lake until Becker County's Soil & Water Conservation District acquired responsibility for the project in 2014;
• Diligently lobbied for the statewide AIS Prevention Aid funding, of which Becker County has received $1.8 million and Detroit Lake continues to receive benefits to fund watercraft inspections;
• Organized several citywide meetings to advocate more public awareness and aggressive AIS prevention programs;
• Developed a comprehensive and secure database of all lakeshore parcels, including owner contact information;
• Implemented a statewide recognized LDA website in 2011;
• Created an LDA Facebook page which by early 2018 had nearly 2,800 followers and posts frequently reached over 5,800 Facebook users;
• Instrumental in passing the 2010 City of Detroit Lakes 1% Food and Beverage Tax, which provides a portion to be allocated to Detroit Lake protection efforts;
• Re-established a Beach Captain program in 2014, creating 50 Beach Neighborhoods;
• Created numerous information rich Annual Newsletters for lake homeowners;
• Represented LDA at many regional and statewide stakeholder meetings and lake related conferences over the years which elevated LDA as being recognized as a vibrant organization among lake associations statewide;
• Instrumental in increasing LDA memberships by 266%;
• Recognized as 2012 Becker County Conservationist of the Year as a representative with Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations and;
• Received the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award from Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.