News release: Highway 23 culvert replacement at Perch Lake to start May 13

April 30, 2024

Work to complete the Highway 23 culvert replacement project at Perch Lake near Gary New Duluth will begin on May 13.

The culvert replacement under the Highway 23 causeway is a part of a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Land Trust habitat restoration project to restore and enhance coastal marsh wetland habitat, improve fish and wildlife passage, and improve water quality by enhancing Perch Lake’s connection to the St Louis River Estuary.

Perch Lake was once a bay of the St Louis River Estuary. The construction of the railroad and Highway 23 embankments greatly reduced this connection. A narrow
4-foot culvert is being complimented by a 12-foot by 16-foot culvert to increase the circulation of water flow and fish passage between the bodies of water and allow navigation by small watercraft for improved recreational access.

Contractors will begin mobilizing heavy equipment to the site on May 7. Motorists should expect a signal-controlled single lane bypass. Work is expected to last about one month. A final phase of work to install a recreational bridge on the adjacent Marten Trail is expected to take place later in the summer of 2024.

Perch Lake was identified in 2013 as one of 17 sites located in the St. Louis River Area of Concern in need of habitat restoration. Eleven habitat restoration projects have now been completed by the DNR and partner agencies. Restoring these sites will bring the St. Louis River AOC one step closer to removal from the binational list of most impaired regions on the Great Lakes. The project is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

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