Duluth, Minnesota has 43 named streams, 12 trout streams, and borders both pristine
Lake Superior and the Duluth-Superior-Harbor Area of Concern. Duluth's storm water
infrastructure includes 93 miles of streams and wetlands, and urbanization and rural
development impact these waters by increasing runoff and velocity, temperature,
turbidity and sediment, road salt, organic matter and nutrients. In 2002, an EPA
(Environmental Monitoring for Public Access & Community Tracking) grant established
a Partnership called DuluthStreams between the City of Duluth, University of MinnesotaDuluth
professionals at the Natural Resources Research Institute and Sea Grant Program,
and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Western Lake Superior Sanitary
District. Their goal was to enhance public understanding of streams and their connections
to watershed land use by using real-time data and interpretive materials to illustrate the
nature and consequences of degraded stormwater and its real costs to society.
This has included issues associated with too much runoff such as flooding, with a key
issue in the region being sanitary sewer overflows from infiltration and inflow (I&I).
These events have imposed risks to public health and environmental risks to the coastal
zone of Lake Superior and the Duluth-Superior Harbor, and required costly programs to
reduce stormwater flows from key neighborhoods and construct storage tanks for
temporary storage of stormwater enhanced sanitary sewer flows. The consequences of
excess water and peak flows have also included excess sediment and turbidity, and
potentially excess nutrients and pathogens. High salt concentrations for significant
periods in late winter and early spring runoff from winter road and parking lot de-icing
can present additional stress to trout and their prey. Increasing impervious surface and
direct and indirect removal of riparian vegetation increases peak temperatures, especially
during base flow periods creating additional periods of stress to cold water species with
the additional potential stress of lowered dissolved oxygen.
In 2003, sixteen governments and groups in the North Shore Region joined to form the
Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT). The Team's mission is to protect and
enhance the region's shared water resources through stormwater pollution prevention by
providing coordinated educational programs and technical assistance. One of the vehicles
that the RSPT has harnessed for its stormwater education campaign is the DuluthStreams
website as part of a regional effort to provide water pollution information to the public.
The project has now expanded to now include 22 communities, agencies and
organizations. In 2005 the website was re-named lakesuperiorstreams.org to reflect the
broader geographic region that it represents in terms of climate, soils, quality of life,
natural resources, the Lake Superior watershed, and culture. The website now averages
more than 300,000 "hits"/month and >75,000 "page requests"/mo with a national target
audience that includes: the general public; students and teachers; contractors, consultants
and developers; decision makers; and agencies (local, state, and federal). Additional
information is best found by examining http://lakesuperiorstreams.org.
Axler, Richard P; Schomberg, Jesse; Will, Norman; Reed, Jane; Lonsdale, David; Granley, Mindy; Hagley, Cynthia.
Conservation Design Toolkit for LakeSuperiorStreams.org Stormwater Pollution Prevention Pilot Project.
University of Minnesota Duluth.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
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