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Construction Begins on Barker's Island Beach Restoration Project

Taylor Holt
Updated: September 07, 2018 07:10 PM

Keeping our local beaches clean for wildlife and the people who use them is essential, and that's the goal of a beach restoration project at Barker's Island inner beach that started this week.

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Construction on an $800,000 restoration project started Monday. The project was listed as a project in the St. Louis River area of concern remedial action plan.

"This project is happening for the community because of the beach being on the impaired beach list, so sometimes when something gets bad enough fortunately, the other part of it is the ability to get funding," said Linda Cadotte, City of Superior's Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

The project was mostly grant funding through the Wisconsin DNR. The goal is to reduce the high E.Coli levels in the water that have caused many beach closures the past few summers.

As part of the efforts to improve the beach quality, UWS students with the Lake Superior Research Institute received a grant in June to do E.Coli testing, and will continue to monitor the beach.

"They've noted the levels of E.Coli being higher concentration for a variety of reasons from the gulls, to the storm water run off, also from pets and humans so there are multiple efforts to reduce those levels through the creative design elements in the project," said Cadotte. 

The overall the plan will manage runoff, enhance the wetlands area and deter wildlife.

"This project will be removing the asphalt surfaces, adding boardwalk and other things to be able to treat the water that's coming off the roadways and surfaces before going into the lake," Cadotte added.

Part of the improvements will be making adding parking and making it more centralized for locals and tourists who come to visit. That as well as replacing the 17,000 feet of pedestrian trail with a raised boardwalk and restroom facilities. 

Cadotte says the inner beach gets a lot of people and wildlife traffic, and that's another reason for the restoration.

"Barker's Island is really centrally located within the city and very visual for the people coming in town. I think the counts are somewhere in the 22,000 count of traffic driving past a day," she said."The hope is for an improved beach area just for the residents and folks visiting the community, tourists, and folks coming to the festivals in the region, it's very exciting for that perspective."

Parts of the beach will be inaccessible during the project. It's advised for people to use caution when going into the area.

"We just ask people to be safe and start. When there's machinery working, or there's fenced off areas respect that boundary, it's there for their safety and to be a little patient," said Cadotte.

Construction is expected to be finished next Summer. 

Credits

Taylor Holt

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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