Lake Zumbro Forever, Inc – MAIN

Lake Zumbro Forever

Above Logo  Copyright LZFI 2012

Lake Zumbro Forever, Incorporated (LZFI)

LZFI is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit corporation,


LZFI Mission Statement

The Lake Zumbro Forever, Inc. Committee is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the beauty, environmental character, recreational quality, hydroelectric capacity, and regional value of Lake Zumbro.



In 2002, the Lake Zumbro Improvement Association (LZIA) began evaluating options for restoring the lake areas that had been lost to sedimentation.

In 2003, the LZIA developed a plan to establish a separate entity to work within the Zumbro Watershed to slow sedimentation rates.

In 2004, the LZIA held the first “Legislative Night on the Lake” event to introduce legislators to our project.

The Association also helped found the Zumbro Watershed Partnership (ZWP).

One of the primary goals of this tax exempt nonprofit organization is to reduce sediment in the Zumbro River by 30% over the next 5 years.   The ZWP has received a $200,000 federal grant to reduce farmland erosion in the upland watershed.  The Partnership is currently working with Soil and Water Conservation Districts in four pilot watersheds.  One of those is the Pine Island Creek watershed which flows directly into Lake Zumbro at Ruschs’ Bay.

In 2005, the LZIA appointed the Lake Zumbro Restoration Committee. The Committee worked with local residents who contributed approximately $75,000 of “in-kind” work to measure sediment depth contours.  Ray Romon completed a detailed bathymetric map of the entire lake with funding assistance provided by Rochester Public Utilities.  With the help of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Lake Depth maps from 1919, 1957 and 1978 were also used to assess sediment accumulation rates and a detailed assessment of lake sedimentation rates was completed.  The data showed that sedimentation rates had declined by 90-percent since the mid-1950s.  These assessments were used to prepare a preliminary dredging proposal. Committee members then met with representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers to assess lake restoration options.

In 2006, the LZIA formed a new entity, Lake Zumbro Forever Inc. The Finance committee raised funds from Lake Residents and, with matching funds from Rochester Public Utilities, completed a $30,000  assessment of lake sediments via core sampling and developed a preliminary plan for sediment management.  Lab analysis of the core samples found that all of the lake sediment meets the state standards for land disposal.  A second “Legislative Night on the Lake” event was also held.

In 2007, Olmsted and Wabasha County boards adopted resolutions of support for restoration work on Lake Zumbro which included supporting funding in state bonding for preliminary engineering costs for lake dredging. The Restoration Committee held a series of meetings with County, State, and Rochester Public Utility officials to review the work that has been completed.  The Committee has also met with mining and dredging specialists and has toured an active dredging operation in Winona.

In 2008, Lake Zumbro Forever Inc was granted tax exempt 501 (c) 3 status.  They also received $175,000 in State bonding and matching funds of $100,000 from RPU to fund preliminary engineering work.

In 2009, The Lake Zumbro Olmsted/Wabasha Joint Powers Board’s authorities were expanded to allow them to administer grants and loans, purchase engineering and construction services, and to purchase land and easements for construction access and dredge materials management. Barr Engineering Co. was contracted to do the engineering and assessment of lake sediments and to develop a preliminary plan for sediment management for the Lake Restoration Project.

In 2010, the Olmsted and Wabasha County Boards established a Lake Improvement District for the purpose of providing a mechanism for raising matching funds for state and federal grants.

Additionally, a new Development Committee was formed to pursue all options of raising funds for the Lake Restoration Project.

In 2011, the LZIA and LZFI held another “Legislative Night on the Lake” event to introduce new legislators  to Lake Zumbro and the Lake Restoration Project.  Legislators were shown a presentation on the  Restoration Project and History as well as a first hand view of the Project areas on the lake via pontoon boat rides.  Barr Engineering completed the first phase of the Engineering for the Lake Zumbro Restoration project.  LZFI supported a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) flight over the Lake Zumbro area.  (LiDAR is a type of Lake Depth and Shoreline contour mapping utilizing Lasers.)  This information will be used in the design and engineering of the Lake Zumbro restoration project and the Zumbro River restoration in Oronoco. The LiDAR data will also be used in modeling and managing flood risks in downstream communities.
LZFI also received a $5,000 Community Grant from IBM Corporation.

In 2012, the Minnesota Legislature allocated $3 million in bonding funds for this project, with a matching fund requirement.

In 2013, the Olmsted and Wabasha County Boards re-established a Lake Improvement District (LID) for the purpose of providing a mechanism for raising matching funds for state and federal grants.

In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature allocated an additional $500,000 in bonding funds for this project, with a matching fund requirement.  LZFI received a Bank Donation Match of $3,047 from Peoples Energy Cooperative and a $2,000 Community Grant from IBM Corporation.  We are presently working on raising the matching funds with RPU, the LID and other fund raising opportunities.


Lake Zumbro Forever Inc will continue, in future years, to assume responsibility for maintenance of the lake.