BMP Workshop on Minnesota / Lake Superior Basin
Lake Superior, MN

Grantee: Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
Basin Program Funds: $9,450
Non-federal Funds: $31,275
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 07/1996
Status: complete

Problem Statement
On a watershed basis, tributary sediment and nutrient loadings to Lake Superior are substantial. Approximately sixty miles of unstable clay shoreline areas exist along the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. Several reports including the North Shore Management Plan, drafted in 1988, and the Stage I and Stage II repots of the St. Louis Remedial Action Plan (RAP) have identified soil erosion problems.

Shoreline erosion guidebook for property owners

The goal of this project was to provide private shoreline landowners and local units of government with practical information focusing on how to install best management practices (BMPs) for the reduction of sediment and nutrient loadings to Lake Superior and its tributaries.

Nonpoint source pollution of Lake Superior is occurring along the shoreline and within the watershed. The Soil Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) are the local unit of government primarily responsible for erosion and water quality BMP implementation. The districts are well equipped to educate and inform landowners, local units of government and the general public about the importance of using BMPs to control erosion and sedimention.

The Great Lakes Basin Program invested $9,450 over a sixteen month period to support the convening of three workshops to educate landowners and local units of government on topics such as potential structural and non-structural practices for shoreline erosion control, regional shoreline geology, permit processes and sources of assistance in the Lake Superior drainage basin.

Five separate state and local agencies combined resources to coordinate and conduct a total of six workshops that focused on Shoreline BMPs in the Lake Superior watershed. Only three workshops were originally planned, but as interest grew, a total of six were conducted.

One hundred and thirty two (132) private property owners attended the workshops. Three hundred workbooks were prepared and each workshop participant received a copy (25 individuals who could not attend a workshop also received workbooks). The remaining workbooks are being used by the SWCD to bring the shoreline BMP message to property owners seeking assistance.

Graphic explaining erosion prevention on the Wood Lot fact sheet.

One direct result of the workshop series is that approximately 50 property owners have requested additional technical and financial assistance from a SWCD and/or Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to help apply some of the more detailed BMPs to their eroding shorelines. The total Lakes Superior frontage owned by these property owners is approximately 10,000 feet. At the workshops, many questions were asked concerning how to apply the BMPs and where to go for assistance.

The actual quantities of sediment and nonpoint pollution cause by erosion entering Lake Superior that will be reduced by the practices presented at the workshops is difficult to determine. However, due to the positive response and high level of property owner participation, a significant reduction can be anticipated. Many property owners who live directly in the Lake Superior watershed now have an increased awareness of shoreline erosion control BMPs at their disposal.

Due to the success of the six workshops, at least four northern Minnesota inland counties are now planning similar workshop in their regions of interest. The additional workshops and informational workbook will be patterned after the format and contents of the original six workshops.

Also, Lake County utilized the BMP steering committee and BMP workshop outline to conduct a separate workshop which focused on construction BMPs along Lake Superior. This workshop attracted more than 35 regional contractors who typically work in the Lake Superior watershed.

The high landowner interest from this project will also be used in other initiatives. For example, BWSR and the SWCDs have drafted a legislative proposal for the Lake Superior Basin in Minnesota. EPA 319 funds and Great Lakes Protection Fund dollars have also been applied for using the results from this project.

The Great Lakes Basin Program has leveraged $31,275 from non-federal sources.

Contact: Gene R. Clark, (218) 723-4752


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner