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Crosslakers appreciate team's help

In 2016, many residents attended the Crosslakers-Minnesota Design Team community

meetings. They voiced their hopes, concerns and fears about the direction Crosslake could go.

The most prevalent area raised was the health of our lakes. Our lakes are the key to

Crosslake's future. The lakes are what brought many of us here and they are entwined in our

lives here. If the lakes are healthy and the water quality is good, Crosslake's future is bright.

Over the last two years, the Crosslakers Water Quality Work Group has been focused on how to

preserve and protect our lakes. The group meets monthly to look at how it can implement projects that will positively impact our waters.

One of its major projects is dealing with a problem that has existed for over three decades - the storm sewer runoff from Highway 66 that runs directly into Cross Lake and Island-Loon Lake. The storm sewer runoff from Highway 66 carries large volumes of sediment and phosphorus, which fertilizes weed growth, into the lakes.

The Crosslakers Water Quality Work Group, all volunteers, has partnered with the city of Crosslake (Mayor Norgaard and the city council, public works, planning and zoning), Crow Wing County (Highway Department), Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District, Whitefish Area Property Owners Association, Pine River Watershed Alliance, and Widseth Smith Nolting (engineering) to analyze the problem and find a solution.

This group studied the location and structure of the 96 storm sewers along Highway 66. They

analyzed the mini-watersheds and amount of runoff.

From this information, it was determined that the 42-acre mini-watershed located around the intersection of Highway 66 and Manhattan Point Boulevard would be the best location to start managing and reducing the runoff into the Island-Loon Lake.

A system of three mechanical separators and a bioretention area should, based on computer models estimates, reduce runoff from entering Loon-Island Lake by 2,200 pounds of sediment and six pounds of phosphorus (which supports over 300 pounds of aquatic weeds) annually.

The next step is funding for this project. Using expert assistance from Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District, the Water Quality Work Group is now applying for a grant from the 2019 Minnesota's Clean Water Fund. Those grants will be awarded Dec. 19.

Pending the grant award, the project could begin construction in 2019. The partnership efforts of the Crosslakers volunteers and the city of Crosslake, Crow Wing County, Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District, Whitefish Area Property Owners Association and Pine River Watershed Alliance, and Widseth Smith Nolting will next be focused on the remaining Highway 66 runoff areas to preserve our lakes.

The Crosslakers appreciate the cooperation of all the parties in this effort and look forward to

continuing the work to ensure the future of our lakes - and Crosslake.