Public comment period extended for two draft Duluth urban streams reports

Contact: Anne Perry Moore, 218-302-6605

The public comment period has been extended until June 18 for two draft Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) documents related to Duluth’s Urban Streams Watershed. The reports focus on human-related activities — and possible remedies — for impairments in 11 of 16 state-designated trout streams.

The draft Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) study and the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) report 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.

The watershed’s problems are related to a highly-developed environment that includes impermeable roofs, paved streets, and parking lots. As a result, the collective runoff generates water temperatures too warm for cold-water fish, E.coli bacteria, sediment, stormwater and road salt. Other streams’ fates include passage through concrete culverts, manmade ditches or being buried underground.

The MPCA and local partners assessed Duluth’s urban streams and lakes as part of the state’s watershed approach. This effort monitors water quality, conducts watershed analyses, encourages civic engagement, planning, implementation, and effectiveness evaluations to help determine the health of the state’s 80 major watersheds.

The Duluth Urban Area Streams Watershed designation was created to address the unique combination of a significant metropolitan area split by the Lake Superior-South and St. Louis River watersheds.

The two Duluth Urban Area Streams Watershed draft reports are available on the MPCA’s St. Louis River watershed webpage or at MPCA’s Duluth office, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400. Written comments should be submitted from now through June 18, 2018 to Brian Fredrickson, MPCA, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth, MN 55802, or by email to brian.fredrickson@state.mn.us. No comments will be accepted by telephone. However, if you need further assistance or clarification, contact Fredrickson at 218-302-6604.

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

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