In 2016, the Crosslakers hosted a number of public meeting sessions to talk about what residents thought were priorities in making sure Crosslake and the surrounding areas would be the type of community they wanted to live, work and play in. Those priorities became part of the Crosslake Comprehensive Plan’s Guiding Principles:

  • Enhance the unique ecology of Crosslake.

  • Create vibrant places that connect people with nature.

  • Balance facilities for driving, biking, boating and walking.

  • Provide a diverse balance of housing, business and public amenities.

  • Celebrate Crosslake’s heritage.

The “unique ecology” is the natural environment with magnificent lakes and wonderful forests. Water quality is a key to local lives in the Crosslake community. The Crosslakers thought area residents might be interested in knowing what is happening this year to protect and enhance area waters.

  • Runoff management: The 42-plus acre runoff management project located on the northwest corner of County Highway 66 and Manhattan Point Boulevard was recently completed. Using mechanical filtering and a large infiltration pond, this facility will reduce phosphorus and debris from running directly into Loon Lake where it has been directed for decades.

This is a $500,000-plus project initiated by the Crosslakers Water Quality Work Group working with the city of Crosslake, Crow Wing County, and Crow Wing Soil & Water Conservation District. More than 90% of the cost was made possible through grants.

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A second Crosslakers runoff project is in process. It will redirect runoff from County Highway 66 between the old Crosslake City Hall and the intersection with County Highway 16. This project has grant funding for $315,000 and will also reduce runoff of phosphorus and debris into Cross Lake.

This project will involve rerouting of portions of the current curb and gutter system to redirect runoff away from Cross Lake. It is planned to be constructed in conjunction with the city’s sanitary sewer extension.

  • Water testing: Whitefish Area Property Owners Association continues to do water testing on all 14 lakes in the Whitefish Chain of Lakes plus 38 other lakes and streams in the area.

Volunteers test the waters monthly May through September and water analysis is done by RMB Labs. WAPOA has been tracking key water quality indicators, including water transparency, phosphorus and chlorophyll-a for more than 25 years.

This summer, WAPOA and the Pine River Watershed Alliance are doing special water testing on a weekly basis in Upper, Middle and Lower Whitefish to provide input for analysis and development of a management plan that is designed to understand what conditions caused the heavy weed conditions and algae blooms that occurred on Upper Whitefish in 2018.

The objective is to be able to anticipate this problem in the future and, if possible, take steps to limit recurrence.

  • One Watershed, One Plan: What happens to water on the land directly impacts the water quality of area lakes, streams and rivers. A plan called One Watershed, One Plan is now in place in the Pine River Watershed.

This plan is the result of cooperative work and an agreement by Cass and Crow Wing counties, the Cass County and the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the first projects will be implemented with the support of lake and watershed associations (i.e., WAPOA, PRWA, Friends of Lower Hay, Kimble Lake Homeowners Association, and Ossawinnamakee Lake Association) in an effort to protect and improve the waters.

It identifies problem areas, recommends necessary stewardship steps and projects and is well-funded. First steps include projects on Lower Hay, Kimble and Ossawinnamakee lakes. More areas will be included as the plan is rolled out.

  • Aquatic invasive species boat inspections: WAPOA and other lake associations have coordinated with Crow Wing County and the DNR to provide boat inspections to ensure that aquatic invasive species aren’t brought in or out of lakes. Funding for the inspection programs is both public and private.
  • Shoreline restoration: WAPOA coordinated both a workshop and then advised riparian property owners on ways to protect and enhance their shorelines. In some cases, these projects were assisted with financial support.
  • Education: The Crosslakers Water Quality Work Group and WAPOA members worked on the Northern Lakes Initiative, part of the National Loon Center and the Freshwater Institute, in a partnership with the University of Minnesota. Their work has led to preparation of a curriculum and exhibits about loons and their lakes that they share with people. This effort will be the basis of the educational efforts at the new National Loon Center and the Floating Classroom.
  • Other: The new Pine River rock dam at Big Pine Lake was completed earlier this year. It was designed with five weirs to be more natural in allowing fish and other aquatic species to move upstream. In addition, the new dam should save significant repair costs that plagued the earlier dam. The major portion of the project was paid for through grant funding.

Area forests are a key to maintaining water quality. Over the last five years, the annual WAPOA tree sale has sold more than 10,000 trees to property owners.

The National Loon Center has supported the statewide effort to educate people about the wildlife mortality dangers due to ingestion of lead fishing sinkers. The program is called Get the Lead Out.

Every year hundreds of volunteers spend thousands of hours helping to maintain the quality of waters. And a great deal of the costs are covered by grants and non-tax funding. If you are interested in finding out more or contacting one of the organizations above, here is a list of contacts: