Striving to transform an estuary from an Area of Concern to a revived ecosystem
At the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin sits a 330-acre (143-hectare) industrialized segment of the St. Louis River estuary. It was designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) in 1989 due to reduced wildlife habitat and populations and poor water quality. With funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative contract, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) completed a preliminary assessment of the site and developed an ecological design to improve shoreline, aquatic, and deepwater habitats to increase fish and wildlife populations to remove it as an AOC.
Partnered with Jewell Associates Engineers, we worked closely with USFWS, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and numerous stakeholders to develop a final restoration plan for the site. To finalize this plan, we completed multiple assessments including vegetation, sediment contaminants, water quality, benthic community, bioaccumulation, bathymetry, wind fetch, shoreline, landownership, and watershed to evaluate restoration design options. We also created several design options for off-site stormwater discharge improvement, wind fetch control, shoreline naturalization, and concrete/dock enhancement.
Following completion of the baseline assessment and planning, USFWS proceeded with mitigation and restoration efforts.
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