Clean Water Council witnesses impact of grants at four North Sho - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Clean Water Council witnesses impact of grants at four North Shore projects

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Four project sites to manage water quality in our lakes, rives and streams received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants through the Clean Water Fund a few years ago.

On Monday, Minnesota's Clean Water Council took their annual field excursion up the North Shore to see how the funding has helped achieve the mission.

Water: it's an essential part of life here in the Northland.

"Well I think a lot of us live here because we really like the North Shore and all that it offers," said Keith Anderson, a conservation engineer. "The clean water and the fisheries."

Four sites along the shore between Duluth and Two Harbors received funding between 2012-2013 to protect, enhance and restore water quality per the Clean Water Legacy Act.

Now, Minnesota's Clean Water Council is checking in on the projects' progress.

"We're just coming to one area and highlighting four projects with different parts that make up what we fund," said the council's chair and St. Louis County Commissioner, Frank Jewell. "It allows people to see them in action but it also allows us to see the impact."

Two of the projects take place along Knife River.

One began in 2014, where an eroding bluff has been dumping 102 tons of sediment into the water each year. 

"The river in certain locations is hitting large clay banks, and causing a lot of sediment to go into the river," Anderson said. "Also what that can do is impact the fisheries and habitat and discharge into Lake Superior which can have a negative impact."

Since then, a new shoreline has been created and native plants have flourished. 

Anderson said, "what we're trying to do is address and enhance that experience really in the long term. The aesthetics and also the fishing and what not."

Bob's Cabins in Two Harbors experienced issues with their well back in 2013.

"I had a well that four years ago started to have chloroform in it and twice it had E. Coli," said the owner, Bill Guse. "We worked for a couple of years, we kept the well sanitized and we started to hand out water to the guests, but everything failed." 

With the funding, a new well was built and business went back to normal. 

"What came along with the grant was really important," Guse said.

"It wasn't like the state just came in and said, well you have a problem with your well. They came in and kept in contact, and helped me right through the whole process."

All in effort to achieve one main goal.

"Improve the environment, incrementally," said Anderson.

Every two years, the council recommends to the legislature and governor how clean water money should be spent. 

In the most recent legislative session, they recommend between $200-210 million.

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