Between 1880 and 1895, two saw mills operated on the banks of Radio Tower Bay along the St. Louis River estuary in Duluth. Saw dust and lumber waste were dumped into this 29 acre Bay, literally filling it in so that the depth overall became only one-foot deep. As a result, few fish could survive the conditions and the area was identified as a priority for restoration site as part of the Lower St. Louis River Area of Concern’s Remedial Action Plan.
This summer, the Minnesota Land Trust assisted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with a project to remove over 115,000 cubic yards, more than 5,000 truckloads, of waste industrial material from the Bay. This fall they will restore native wild rice beds to a portion of the bay. The highly organic removed material is chipped and composted and will be reused as soil amendment on upland forest restoration sites.
Daryl Peterson with the Minnesota Land Trust shared, “In the winter the Bay would freeze solid providing very little fish and wildlife habitat value. Now, we expect the river bed to naturally revegetate and provide the food and resting places the fish need.”
A $7,000 HOW grant from Freshwater Future used by Minnesota Land Trust and their partners—Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the St. Louis River Alliance—leveraged over $9 million in grant funding for their projects.