Through a federal grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ has awarded more than $450,000 in local grants to protect and enhance inland coastal resources.
The annual grant program is managed by the Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program, which is a voluntary federal-state partnership distributing federal dollars to projects along the inland coast of Lake Superior. This year, grant funding is being awarded to nine projects in the coastal area:
- Researchers at the University of Minnesota will monitor and analyze measures designed to reduce erosion of bluffs adjacent to North Shore streams. Results will inform guidance on design criteria for future projects. $35,900.
- The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission will conduct an economic impact assessment of paved trails within the coastal area; determine the number of users of four popular trails (Duluth Lakewalk, Willard Munger State Trail, Gitchi-Gami State Trail, and St. Louis River Trail), and simultaneously conduct large-scale survey of trail-user habits and impacts on coastal economy. $11,500.
- Laurentian Resource Conservation and Development is planning to host a two-day conference for academia and coastal managers to bridge a gap between research results and practices of watershed assessment, protection and stream restoration. $23,000.
- Researchers at the University of Minnesota will increase scientific understanding of success rates of coastal forest seeds. Results will inform coastal managers for improved adaptive management and help determination whether coastal trees should be protected and treated as a unique seed collection zone. $98,875.
- Duluth Children’s Museum in collaboration with Positive Energy Outdoors will create a year round, innovative outdoor science, technology, engineering, and math active learning experience for children, particularly those in low-income households with limited access. $33,100.
- University of Minnesota Duluth – Natural Resources Research Institute and several partners will develop protocols for assessing the biomass of periphyton (algae attached to rocks) in Duluth area trout streams for use by professional aquatic and citizen scientists. $77,440.
- City of Duluth will improve public safety and access to the St. Louis River estuary through upgraded wayfinding signage and amenities on the Western Waterfront Trail. $89,080.
- Lake County will develop engineering designs and construct trailhead for Lake County Mountain Bike Trail System, a planned 100-plus mile mountain bike trail system. connecting both beginner and advanced cyclists to nature and physical activity in the coastal area. $70,000.
- City of Carlton will replace an outdoor restroom facility at the Willard Munger trailhead in city of Carlton. The updated structure will meet current sewer requirements and meet compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act. $11,225.
For 18 years, the DNR and NOAA have worked together to better Minnesota’s inland coast. Together, the agencies have granted $12.6 million in pass-through funding to more than 550 local projects and provided thousands of hours of technical assistance. Projects are selected for funding through an annual competitive grants process.
For more information about Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program, visit www.mndnr.gov/mlscp.