Chester Creek at Aspenwood – 2018
Over the winter and summer of 2018 we restored an upstream section of Chester Creek near the corner of Rice Lake Road and Arrowhead Road. This project, identified through a watershed assessment completed in 2016, worked to restore fish habitat and passage. This section had experienced many activities in the past that made it unhealthy. Part of the stream had been ditched and straightened to make room for the St. Louis County Poor Farm. The ditched reach had no habitat variability for fish and because there were no trees to provide shade to the stream the water was warming significantly – making the stream inhabitable for trout. Downstream of the ditched section Chester Creek ran underground through long culverts. Fish, especially native brook trout did not pass through these pipes and were therefore cutoff from coldwater in the upper watershed.
In 2018, we worked with many partners including MN Trout Unlimited, St. Louis County, Aspenwood Condominiums, and the MN DNR to restore Chester Creek. We created a sinuous meandering channel where the ditch had occurred, and we removed the long culverts and brought the stream above ground at Aspenwood. Finally we replaced the road crossing allowing brook trout to swim upstream to utilize the newly restored habitat.
We hope to continue to restore this stretch of Chester Creek in the future by creating a sinuous channel downstream of Madison Avenue.
Chester Park Restoration Project – 2017
Chester Creek runs right through Chester Park, one of the Duluth community’s favorite places. The creek is one of the City’s 14 designated trout streams, and as it currently is, fish cannot move freely up and down stream. Sometime in the 1930’s, two dams were built in Chester Creek, and no consideration was made for the needs of aquatic wildlife. Today we know that the survival of trout is dependent on their ability to swim to cooler water during warm summer months. The flood in 2012 blew out the dams, giving us an opportunity to finally restore this stretch of the creek to a more natural state.
1) Re-align and stabilize the stream, as it is currently not functioning as well as it should.
2) Remove the damaged dams. The dams are impeding fish passage and they have been determined to not have a formal historical status.
3) Provide trout habitat. Chester Creek is one of the City’s 14 designated trout streams.
4) Preserve historical values. This park has many wonderful values including historic views that need to be preserved.
5) Increase resilience to future flooding. A healthy creek that is connected to its floodplain can handle the increased volume and velocity of future flood events.
This project was made possible by a grant provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature.
Chester Creek Before:
Chester Bowl During:
Chester Bowl “After” – Spring 2018