Construction of stormwater basins planned to protect Tischer Creek
According to the City of Duluth, they are partnering with St. Louis County to protect Tischer Creek for the future.
St. Louis County Public works is planning a number of construction projects in 2024 to improve a portion of Woodland Avenue. These projects include repaving, replacing curbs and gutters, and adding sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and more for improved safety.
The County is now also working with the City of Duluth to add a series of stormwater treatment basins on the northeast corner of Hartley Park.
These vegetated basins will mimic natural wetlands, capturing and filtering pollutants that currently flow into Tischer Creek from Woodland Avenue. This project also reduces erosion along the creek by slowing the flow of runoff.
Another part to this project is the basins will be built in a place heavily infested with buckthorn and other invasive plants. These invasive species will be replaced with native upland and wetland trees that will benefit local wildlife.
The goals are to improve the water quality and trout habitat in Tischer Creek, and to protect the lands of Hartley Park and Hartley Nature Center. Hartley Park was designated by the City as the Hartley Natural Area in 2020.
“It has been really exciting to see this project come together and grow over the last two years from a smaller, County-only project to a joint County-City project that builds on the knowledge and abilities that each entity brings to the table,” said Carol Andrews, St. Louis County Public Works Environmental Engineer. “Now we can build a treatment system large enough to hold runoff from storm events up to two inches of rain in 24 hours that fits well into the park landscape and will only impact a small number of mature trees.”
The basin project is expected to cost up to $2 million and St. Louis County has already secured a $1.5 million grant from the US Army Corps of Engineers. They are seeking an additional $500,000 from the state Clean Water Fund administered by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.
“At first this area will look quite disturbed, but over time the land will heal and the quality of the landscape will emerge. We will start seeing a diversity of plants and animals that invasive plants had historically pushed out of this part of the park, benefiting park users, the trout stream, and wildlife. It’s a very exciting project from an ecological restoration perspective and I think is a model project Duluthians can be proud of,” said Jim Shoberg, City of Duluth Senior Parks Planner.
The project is expected to be completed next year, though work to remove buckthorn may begin later this year. To learn more about the project, visit the Duluth Parks page.