Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is restoring the stream/riparian habitat and fish passage along Knowlton Creek, a tributary to the St. Louis River. The creek is currently impaired due to excessive sediment loads and channel degradation, and fish passage is blocked by multiple barriers including a series of perched and poorly configured culverts. Restoration goals include: 1) stabilizing banks and reduce erosion; 2) reconfiguring the channel to a size appropriate for the flow regime; 3) creating a series of riffles, runs, and deep pools to support fish; and 4) removing or replacing four fish passage barriers. This project is working to reducing peak flows into the creek during storm events and reducing sediment inputs to the creek and the St. Louis River system. In addition, it is providing habitat and flows capable of supporting a naturally reproducing brook trout population and other native fish. These efforts will contribute to the recovery of Beneficial Use Impairments for Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat, Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations, and Excessive Loading of Nutrients and Sediment within the St. Louis River System Area of Concern.
“The Save Our Great Lakes (SOGL) funding has allowed the MN DNR to move the Knowlton Creek project forward in a manner that allows us to coordinate with the efforts of the Spirit Mountain Recreation Authority (SMRA) and the City of Duluth. SMRA & the City are working on a water acquisition and treatment project to reduce the sediment load that is delivered to the creek by the operation of the Spirit Mountain ski area. The MN DNR is working on a project to restore the natural stream channel of Knowlton Creek and allow fish passage and spawning. The SOGL grant will allow us to integrate these efforts to the benefit of the partners and the long-term ecological function of the trout stream.” – Martha Minchak, Habitat Restoration Project Manager MN DNR – Ecological and Water Resources
“The Save Our Great Lakes (SOGL) funding has allowed the MN DNR to move the Knowlton Creek project forward from the concept phase to the design and implementation phase. This project will allow us to restore approximately 3,700 lineal feet of creek and tributaries to a more resilient and natural stream channel. It will also allow us to restore the riparian floodplain and wetlands which have been impaired by sedimentation resulting from the 2012 Duluth flood and previous anthropogenic activity in the watershed. The stream restoration will eliminate barriers to fish passage and restore a healthy, naturally reproducing brook trout population in this designated trout stream. The restored wetland areas will improve water quality in the riparian corridor and reduce peak flows in the creek.” – John Lindgren, Area of Concern CoordinatorMN DNR – Fisheries