Restoring impaired Superior tributaries: Stormwater BMP evaluation, education and outreach

Duluth, MN trout streams watersheds are generally similar to watersheds along Lake Superior's North Shore with >70% forested, generally similar geology and hydrology, and for Amity Creek, the potential for increased development pressure. Therefore, Duluth's streams can serve as suitable pilots for evaluating restoration, mitigation and planning strategies for use with more pristine, but developing, North Shore streams. Our primary goal was to coordinate with local remediation/BMP projects, the (LSS) water quality monitoring and public education effort, and Weber Stream Restoration Initiative (WSRI, to assess BMP effectiveness at reducing stormwater runoff problems via upstream-downstream and before-after water quality and biological monitoring. Three projects on impaired streams were identified to have high likelihood for long-term success and potential for educational use and public visibility: 1) Lower Amity-Graves Road Creek restoration– upstream from automated Amity sensors, this intermittent tributary discharged a muddy plume during rainstorms and snowmelt runoff since a 1946 flood destroyed the road. WSRI/LSS partner, City of Duluth carried out a restoration including new culverts, flow rerouting, bank slope reductions, and sediment stabilization; 2) East Branch Upper Amity Creek bank stabilization- Eroding banks were identified from NRRI surveys, and WSRI/LSS partner South St. Louis SWCD led an effort to mitigate two of the largest sediment sources and redirect high flows using J-vanes– the first such project on the Superior North Shore; 3) Miller Creek Sediment Trap- a natural-bottomed trap completed in 2004 below the Miller Hill Mall complex, was evaluated for the first time for its effects on temperature, sediment transport, and protection of aquatic habitat. The overall project was initiated by a gift from a former Duluth resident that created the WSRI with the goal of improving water quality in Lake Superior streams via a collaborative process focused on educating, implementing projects, and critically evaluating restoration efforts.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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