Watershed Restoration and Protection Work

Our office partners with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to help provide research and outreach assistance for their Major Watershed approach to water quality restoration and protection. A major watershed is comprised of smaller watersheds which all drain into the same larger lake or river. For instance, the major watershed called St. Louis River includes the smaller watersheds of Keene and Kingsbury creeks.

Our office is providing both field research and community outreach assistance for  four  major watersheds within the Lake Superior Basin: The St. Louis, Cloquet, Lake Superior South and Lake Superior North. We are also providing assistance with the Duluth Urban WRAPS program.

What’s Stressing our Streams?
During field season, South St. Louis SWCD technical staff,  together with our MPCA partners, head to remote reaches of streams all along the north shore of Lake Superior.  In addition to water-quality monitoring, staff assess the stability of our local waterways, including the installation of permanent survey markers to measure long-term hydrological changes. This on-the-ground (or in the water) survey work is crucial for establishing and evaluating existing water quality conditions, a task that is mandated to each state by the Clean Water Act. 

This summer look for us in the Upper Cloquet watershed, the Midway River (a tributary of the St. Louis River) and in Silver Creek north of Two Harbors.

Cloquet River Watershed WRAPS
The MN Pollution Control Agency, together with its partners Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District and the South St. Louis Soil & Water Conservation District, are beginning a 10 year process of assessing the health and condition of the many streams, rivers and lakes of the Cloquet River Watershed as part of our State’s responsibility to know the condition of our public waters under the Clean Water Act. Besides the Cloquet River itself, other lakes and rivers in this watershed include Fish Lake, Island Lake, Grand lake, Us-Kab-Wan-Ka River, Boulder Creek, and Wolf Creek.

This 10-year process, called the Watershed Approach of the WRAPS: Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy, is being initiated by the MPCA and its partners throughout the State’s 81 major watersheds on a rotating schedule.

St. Louis River Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG)
In 2019 and 2020 our office partnered with the MN Pollution Control Agency to collect water quality data at six stream sites within the St. Louis River major watershed. Results from this Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) monitoring work can be found on the Final Report.  St. Louis River SWAG Final Report