We speak with Nelson French, a supervisor for the Great Lakes/Lake Superior Project of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, about the completion of a three-year pilot project that used 350,000 cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Duluth Harbor Basin by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help restore aquatic habitat in the St. Louis River estuary.
The dredged material was placed in the river and along the shoreline of the 350-acre 21st Avenue West site, at the base of the Blatnik Bridge in Duluth. The site had been converted from estuary to harbor in the late 1800s. This restoration softens the shoreline and creates gentle slopes to encourage water plants, animals, and bugs that live in sediment and support a better fish habitat. The successful pilot will provide Duluth with a new attraction for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. In addition, this restoration method can be used to reconstruct aquatic habitats at other sites.