Nemadji River Basin Information Management Project
Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
Various land use practices, such as past logging activities, land clearing for
agriculture, and wetland drainage, have greatly increased Nemadji River, stream
velocities, peak flows and runoff. The altered stream hydrology has led to channel
scouring and streambank undercutting. In the harbor, this has resulted in increased
suspended sediment loads, increased turbidity, and reduction of available sunlight
for aquatic plants and animals. Frequent dredging and filling operations threaten
already impacted wetlands and increases turbidity in the harbor.
The goal of the Nemadji River Basin Information Management Project was to provide
program and administrative support to a multi-partner River Basin Study approved
by the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Forest Service. The River Basin Study identifies
and recommends Best Management Practices (BMPs) and remedial actions that will
reduce nonpoint pollution and sedimentation in the Duluth-Superior harbor and
within the Nemadji Watershed.
The Nemadji River Basin covers 275,000 acres in Carlton and Pine counties
in Minnesota (60% of the watershed) and Douglas County in Wisconsin (40% of the watershed). Approximately 90% of the watershed is forested.
The erosion in the watershed has been identified in Stage I and II documents
of the St. Louis River Remedial Action Plan as a high priority problem affecting
both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Approximately 50% of the total annual sediment
delivered to the Duluth-Superior harbor comes from the Nemadji Watershed.
The Great Lakes Basin program provided $10,000 over a fifteen month period
to carry out the non-technical aspects of the River Basin Study including the
development of an information and education plan, the development a project
video and the logistic support for three technical committees.
With the funding provided through this grant, the Nemadji River Basin Project
staff were able to efficiently and effectively communicate with the Planning
Committee, Steering Committee, and eight technical work groups of the federal
River Basin Study. The Information Manager was responsible for facilitating
eight Planning Committee meetings and one Steering Committee meeting, and the
coordination of a two-day conference and tour where technical workgroup reports
were presented to more than 60 people. Presentations about the Nemadji River
Basin Project were made at 13 local government meetings (townships and county
boards) and 3 St. Louis River Remedial Action Plan meetings.
A watershed landowner mailing list was developed and four "Nemadji Notes"
Newsletters have been mailed out to over 4,000 landowners with each mailing.
A portable information display was developed and used at five locations/events
including the Army Corps of Engineers Marine Museum, the Holiday Center Earth
Day Fair, the Nature Conservancy Annual Meeting (all three in Duluth, MN), Pattison
State Park (Superior, WI), and the Carlton County Fair (Barnum, MN).
The display was also used at the International Joint Commission's biennial
meeting in Duluth, MN in September, 1995. A bus tour of the Nemadji was also
conducted that looked at successful and unsuccessful past practices in the watershed.
A tree planting project was carried out where 100 watershed residents (including
several youth groups) planted 5,000 trees on six sites in the watershed covering
approximately ten acres. There were 30 American Indian youth and 30 elementary
school youth that participated in water quality monitoring exercises in the
watershed. The importance of good land stewardship practices to prevent erosion
was stressed in all these programs.
Script development and filming for a video about the Nemadji River Basin project
was completed. The video was finished and aired on the public television series
Venture North ( WDSE Duluth) in October, 1995. A copy of the video
is housed at the District office for future educational programs.
As a result of the Nemadji project, many recommendations have been developed
to improve soil erosion and sedimentation. A road side erosion inventory and
feed lot inventory were completed and will lead to the implementation of site
specific projects in the watershed.
The Great Lakes Basin Program funds have leveraged more than $13,730 over the
life of the project from non-federal sources.
Contact: Carlton SWCD, (218) 384-3903