Watershed Projects
Priority Watershed Projects >
  Chester Creek

Miller Creek

Knife River
Amity Creek
PCA Major Watersheds

An Overview of Our Watershed Projects & Plans
Our region's rivers and creeks are a unique resource. The City of Duluth has 42 named creeks and streams running down its hill to the lake. Proctor, Hermantown, Floodwood, and Meadowlands all have their own unique and beautiful lakes, bogs, and streams. The South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District works collaboratively with many agencies and citizen groups to help improve the quality of the myriad of waterways that beautify and sustain our region.

Ongoing work on impaired waterways
In accordance with the priorities set forth in St. Louis County's Comprehensive Water Management Plan, we focus much of our work on impaired watersheds including Miller Creek, Knife River and Amity Creek (click links to read about our work on each of these watersheds). A watershed is considered 'impaired' if one of its designated uses, such as human recreation or aquatic habitat, is being harmed by a pollutant. One example of this would be e. coli bacteria making a lake unsafe for swimming. Because of our clay soils and surface bedrock, many area rivers are impaired for 'turbidity.' That means the water is too muddy from erosion and storm runoff to make good habitat for species like brook trout. Each creek and river has its own particular issues and plans for improvement.

Research & outreach assistance for MPCA's Major Watershed Approach
For the past three years, we have been helping the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) achieve the goals and tasks set forth in their Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies Program (WRAPS), also called the Watershed Approach. The Watershed Approach is a 10-year cycle of assessing, monitoring, and restoring lakes, rivers, and streams across the 81 major watersheds that make up our state. CLICK HERE for more information from the MPCA's website. Our work with the MPCA involves data collection in the field, writing technical documents and engaging citizens. For more information on how we are assisting with this process, go to our PCA Major Watersheds page.

Conservation Corp at Tischer CreekOther Watershed Projects
A stable stream channel is one that has little to no disturbance. It has minor erosion on the stream banks, contains diverse and suitable habitat, and changes little from year to year. Stable channels are able to withstand large flood events with minimal to no effects.

Our office, in cooperation with our engineering partners, the DNR, St. Louis County, and the City of Duluth, is about to embark on a series of large-scale stream restoration projects thanks to funding from the State of Minnesota. These projects are separate from our flood recovery projects with BWSR, but all of them do have elements of repairing damage incurred by the 2012 flood. Short descriptions of these exciting projects are provided below. We will keep our website and Facebook page updated as work progresses, so check back often or call our office for more information.

Chester Creek
Grant Amount: $516,000, funded by DNR Disaster Relief Funding

Goal: Re-align and stabilize 900 feet of stream. Provide trout habitat. Improve aesthetics of the creek and park. Preserve historical values. Increase resilience to future flooding.

Location: The restoration reach runs right through Chester Park, which was greatly impacted by the flood, especially due to the dams, which were under so much pressure from the water that they were partially destroyed.

Special Consideration: Chester Park is one of if not the busiest park in the City with summer camps, concerts, and festivals. Great care will be taken to ensure that the community's desire for the park is incorporated into the project and that as few events as possible are impacted during construction.

This project is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature.

Mission Creek
Grant Amount: $1.25 million, funded by DNR

Goal: Build a new, stable channel - as many feet as funding allows. Repair and stabilize tributaries and gullies. Increase resilience to future flooding. Provide trout habitat.

Location: Upstream of the Fond du Lac neighborhood. The restoration will not include the reach that runs through the neighborhood.

Special Considerations: The bridge at Highway 23 is being replaced by MNDOT and they will remove the damaged and defunct debris catcher in the restoration reach at the same time. This area is popular for hiking, biking, and other recreation, so great care will be taken to ensure that all user groups are included in the process of developing and implementing this project.

Sargent Creek
Grant Amount: $1.375 million, funded by DNR Disaster Relief Funding

Goal: Stabilize and repair the channel. Provide trout habitat. Mitigate sediment impacts.

Location: Just east of the Mission Creek project. Just downstream of where the Munger Trail crosses over the creek.

Special Considerations: Sargent is a high quality trout stream running through high quality terrestrial habitat. The project reach is remote, however the Superior Hiking Trail and the Munger Trail are in close proximity. Sargent also lies within the St. Louis River Area of Concern. Many groups are working diligently to restore the St. Louis enough to have the AOC status removed, and restoring Sargent Creek will help reduce sediment in the St. Louis.

This project is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legistlature.

Watershed Goals

Learn about all the watershed and conservation issues in South St. Louis County. These plans set long- and short-term goals for our district.

Additional watershed info
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

County Comprehensive Water Management Plan, 2010-2020

Construction bidding info
Click here for info on conservation construction projects for which we are currently seeking bids.

© 2015 South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District