Public Comment Opportunity

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Public invited to comment on proposal to remove impairment designation for St. Louis River Estuary Area of Concern (March 28—April 26, 2022)

Public meeting will be held from 5—6:30 p.m. on April 14 at the Lake Superior Estuarium.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are seeking public comments on their recommendation to remove an impairment designation from the St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC) for Degraded Fish and Wildlife Populations Beneficial Use.

The U.S. and Canada identified a range of Beneficial Use Impairments on the St. Louis River AOC, and 42 other areas on the Great Lakes, in 1987 because there was significant environmental degradation. “Degraded fish and wildlife populations” was one of nine beneficial use impairments identified in the St. Louis River AOC.

Six management actions, required to remove this impairment designation in the St. Louis River AOC, have been completed. Those management actions included fish and wildlife studies to show the estuary’s restored capacity to support healthy populations and restoration projects to restore piping plover habitat at Wisconsin Point and common tern habitat at Interstate Island.

BUI removal documents are linked below.

The St. Louis River AOC partners will host a public open house from 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Lake Superior Estuarium, 3 Marina Drive, Superior, Wisconsin. A presentation about the impairment and the partners’ recommendation to remove it will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Comment period is from 8:00 a.m. Monday, March 28—4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26

Public Meeting on April 14, 2022
5:00 p.m.—6:30 p.m. Open house, with a presentation at 5:30 p.m.
Lake Superior Estuarium
3 Marina Drive, Superior WI 54880

Public comments on the impairment removal proposal will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 26. Information about the partners’ removal recommendation and details on how to submit comments can be accessed online on the St. Louis River Restoration Initiative webpage. More information about the ongoing work to restore the estuary can also be found on that page along with directions on how to sign up to receive email updates.

The St. Louis River Area of Concern was one of 43 areas in the Great Lakes region listed by the U.S. and Canada in 1987, because significant environmental degradation occurred at those locations before environmental regulations were adopted. Degraded fish and wildlife populations was one of nine environmental problems, called Beneficial Use Impairments or BUIs, identified in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.

The St. Louis River Area of Concern Program is soliciting comments on a removal recommendation for the degraded fish and wildlife populations Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI)

Copies of the impairment removal documents are available to review in person at:

Duluth Public Library: 520 W Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802
Superior Public Library: 1530 Tower Ave, Superior, WI 54880
Fond du Lac Resource Management Division Office: 28 University Rd, Cloquet, MN 55720

To submit comments or request action please include:

  • Name
  • The action you wish the AOC agencies to take, including specific references to the section of the draft BUI removal you believe should be changed.
  • The reasons supporting your position, stated with sufficient specificity as to allow the AOC agencies to investigate the merits of the position.

Electronic comments can be submitted via email to Melissa Sjolund at [email protected]. Comments can be submitted through 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

Since St. Louis River AOC designation in 1987, three other impairments have been removed. After all the remaining impairments are removed, the St. Louis River would be removed from the list of most polluted sites on the Great Lakes. St. Louis River AOC program partners anticipate removing the remaining impairments and achieving delisting as an AOC by 2030.

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