Premier scenic area also home to increasing development, impairments

Contacts: Anne Perry Moore, 218-302-6605

Lake Superior’s North Shore between Duluth’s Lester River and Beaver Bay is one of the state’s premier scenic and recreational attractions. Unfortunately, increasing development, altered drainage, forests and vegetation have contributed to seven impaired streams. Two Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) draft water quality reports, open for public comment from Feb. 26, 2018, through March 28, 2018, address these problems and propose several restoration and protection strategies.

The reports open for public comment are the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) study and the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) report. The two are companion documents that quantify pollutant levels, identify pollution sources, and propose ways to return water quality to an acceptable level.

The WRAPS Report summarizes information, tools and stakeholder input that can be used by local governments, landowners and others to decide on the best strategies and most effective places for those strategies to protect and restore water quality.

Known as the Lake Superior – South watershed, most of this area’s streams have good water quality. Problem areas tend to be in the streams’ lower sections as they approach Lake Superior.  Conditions affecting the watershed’s water quality include highly erosive clay soils that are typical of former lake sediments deposited about 11,000 years ago, and stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces that contribute E.coli bacteria.

The reports recommend strategies to stabilize streams, minimize lawns and impervious surfaces, plant trees, and establish conservation easements.

The draft reports are available on the MPCA’s Lake Superior - South Watershed webpage or at MPCA’s Duluth office, 525 Lake Avenue South, 55802. Comments should be submitted in writing by March 28, 2018, to Brian Fredrickson, MPCA, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth, MN 55802, or by email to No comments will be accepted by telephone. However, if you need further assistance or clarification, please call Fredrickson at 218-302-6604.

Written comments must include a statement of your interest in the report, a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft report you believe should be changed, and specific reasons for your position.

After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the draft reports and submit them to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for finalization. The reports will form the basis for projects and watershed implementation strategies that will follow.