By Bob Olsgard, Lake Superior Alliance
Nearly a decade spent appraising the financial value and assessing the ecological significance of 370 acre Clough Island located in the St. Louis River between Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota has culminated in its sale to a developer. While The Nature Conservancy (TNC) had been active in approaching owners with its interest in acquiring the island, in the end TNC’s policy of purchasing only for fair market value- in this case an appraised value of $400,000. 00-prevented the conservation organization from buying the island. A commercial developer by the name of North Oaks LLC purchased the island for a reported price of $1. 2 million dollars.
The developer has outlined plans for a golf course, condom iniums, individual homes and a marina.The island’s present lack of utilities-sewer, water and electricity-raises concerns over access from the city of Superior to the Island, a route which may affect shoreland wetlands. Clough Island and adjacent wetlands are identified in the St. Louis River Citizen Advisory Committee’s recently published habitat plan as one of two of western Lake Superior’s most productive areas of aquatic habitat. Potential construction on the island and consequent boating and other activities raise serious concerns about the continued health and productivity of this ecologically significant area. Multiple federal and state permits will be required. As of this time no permits have been applied for.