North shore communities have recently been growing rapidly, and coastal streams are showing
signs of stress. One third of north shore streams are on the MPCA list of impaired waters,
including the Lester-Amity system (www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/tmdl-303dlist.html) .
Similar rapid development has been happening all around the coasts of the U.S. (Bartlett et al.
2000). However, few communities have the tools to forecast the potential effects of future
growth on their natural and aquatic resources, or to evaluate various growth or zoning scenarios.
Nor is it always obvious how the effects of various zoning regulations will be manifested on any
given landscape. Insidious cumulative effects of small incremental land use changes can be quite
difficult to detect or predict until much of the damage has already occurred. These effects and
interactions can be made much more specific and obvious by creating GIS-based maps of the
landscapes in question, showing potential development of particular areas of land based on a
community’s current zoning and also on alternative zoning options. These location-specific maps
can highlight areas where current zoning scenarios have the potential to allow degradation of
important aquatic resources and natural features. This knowledge can allow a community to act
and create alternative, more protective, zoning scenarios that will reduce future restoration costs
by reducing or preventing the harm from occurring in the first place.
Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program; Project no. 306-18-08; Contract no. A92543
Brady, Valerie; Schomberg, Jesse; Sjerven, Gerald.
North Shore Community Features: Aquatic resources and growth scenarios.
University of Minnesota Duluth.
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