Star Lake Award

The Cross Lake and Snake River Association was designated as a Star Lake in 2011.  Below are two affirmations of that prestigious award. 


From Our Lakes and Rivers publication

The Cross Lake Association of Pine County has been designated a Star Lake
Association.  The Minnesota State Legislature established a statute for a
Star Lakes and Rivers program in 2008. A Star Lake Board was also
established to encourage and reward citizen-based associations that actively
participate in protecting and enhancing surface waters of Minnesota.  The
program provides financial incentives, educational efforts and
public-private partnerships. An awards event has been scheduled for early

A key criteria for eligibility for this recognition was the development of a
lake management plan.  With training and financial support  from the
Initiative Foundation, the association had already gone through this phase.
Local citizens may recall participating in a Visioning Session several years
ago, which was part of the process of developing a plan.

A second criteria was participation in a water quality monitoring program
meeting Minnesota Pollution Control Agency standards. In this category the
association has a long-standing record of carrying out its own program of
chemical, physical and bacteria testing of streams, lakes and the river, as
well as partnering with Pine County Soil and Water, the Snake River
Watershed Management, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center, and
the Minnesota EPA.  The association will continue to collect testing data in
the second year of a two-year diagnostic TMDL study  of Cross Lake for the
Minnesota EPA. This will lead to specific recommendations for improvement of
water quality in the Snake River Watershed.

A third criteria requires high participation of shoreland property owners.

And fourthly, continual analysis of monitoring results by the water quality
team and input from property owners has lead to addressing specific

The Association recognizes that improvement of water quality will require
continued cooperation and initiative at all levels.  Local support has been

Jerry Trent
Water Quality Chair



Cross Lake Association of Pine Country receives award 

By Shirley Schmidt

In recognition of exemplary diligence in protecting and enhancing local surface waters, the Cross Lake Association of Pine Country received the Minnesota Star Lakes and Rivers Program award during a ceremony held at Wings North on Sunday, May 1. This special occasion was well attended by association leadership, past and present; Mayor Jane Robbins; Don Howard, Pine City Administrator; Dale Gustafson, president of the Minnesota Star Lake Board and many faithful members. 

The Star Lakes and Rivers Program was established by Minnesota state l egislative action in 2008 to encourage and reward citizen-based lake and river stewardship. The program provides financial incentives, educational opportunities and public/private partnerships to assist lake and river associations with water quality efforts. 

Dale Gustafson, president of the Minnesota Star Lake board, presented the Star Lake award to Cross Lake Association president, Judy Yorston and vice president Jerry Trent. Gustafson is a landscape designer and site planner for Gustafson Design, Inc. who lives in Golden Valley and owns property on Sugar Lake in Wright County near Annandale. He is active in the Sugar Lake Association as chair of the vegetation and water quality committees. 

In order to be eligible for the Star Lake award, an association must develop and execute a lake management plan, participate in a water-monitoring program that meets with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency standards then maintain on-going analysis of monitoring results, illicit the participation of shore land property owners and use their input to address specific problems. The Cross Lake Association fulfilled all the criteria to earn the award that included a check for $2560 and a sign that will be posted at a public landing. 

Both Judy Yorston and Jerry Trent draw on extensive technical backgrounds to manage the technical aspects on water quality control. Yorston spent 23 years as a quality control technician and eventually as a manager and consultant for H.B. Fuller. Trent taught high school science at St. Paul Academy for 38 years. 

With a background in biology, chemistry and physical science, Trent has tested water quality of Cross Lake, the Snake River and numerous streams for a number (how many????) of years. Until five years ago, the samples were sent to laboratories for analysis. But Trent began testing for e-coli bacteria in his home laboratory. The cost of home testing is estimated to be about 10% of the cost of sending the samples to a lab. Also, the results are available in only 24 hours. 

This is just one example of the contribution of Cross Lake Association members. Judy Yorston describes the effectiveness of this group. “Everyone brings something to the task be it carrying out a project, deciphering data, doing testing, entering and reporting date to the appropriate entity, taking readings on lake levels and much more.” 

Also, the Cross Lake Association recognizes property owners and interested citizens who support the on-going work to protect and maintain local waterways. Shore land practices have proven effective for keeping soil and organic matter from entering the water. But there’s much more that needs to be done. To get involved, contact the Cross Lake Association, Box 325, Pine City, MN 55063, Attn: Judy Yorston or call 320 629-3697.