St Louis River Estuary: The stories and the science

Chambers Grove

Synopsis

Chambers Grove is a reach of the St. Louis River near the Fond du Lac neighborhood north of the Highway 23 bridge. The section of the river between the Fond du Lac Dam and Highway 23 is designated as a critical spawning area for Lake Superior migratory fish species including lake sturgeon, walleye and longnose sucker. A city park was built adjacent to the river in the 1960s and the shoreline was stabilized with a wall of steel sheet piling. Currently, this area lacks habitat for lake sturgeon spawning and the wall along the shoreline has eliminated shallow, slow-moving water these fish and other species need.

Chambers Grove. Click to zoom.

Chambers Grove

The walkway and fishing pier were damaged by the June 2012 flood. The City of Duluth proposed repairs to the park infrastructure and asked for assistance from resource managers. Recognizing this as an opportunity to restore shoreline and improve spawning habitat for critical fish species, the St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC) partners are working with the city to integrate habitat restoration into park improvements.

What is happening now?

Construction is underway to create 3 acres of enhanced spawning habitat by replacing nearly 1,000 feet of sheet pile and gabion baskets with wooden structures, build rock structures similar to those found below the Fond du Lac Dam, and grade and plant a naturalized shoreline. Plans will allow areas for canoe and kayak access. The city will follow-up with repairs to the facilities and landscaping the grounds. The shoreline restoration will be complete by Fall 2015. The city will complete its park improvements in 2016.

An example of spawning habitat created by riffles. Click to zoom.

An example of spawning habitat created by riffles.

What do we expect?

  • Enhancement of fish spawning and rearing habitat for lake sturgeon, walleye, smallmouth bass and longnose sucker.
  • Restoration of fish and wildlife habitat in the AOC integrated with City of Duluth improvements to the park.
  • Establishment of a more natural riparian corridor between the park and the river channel.
  • Improvement for recreational user access (fishing, wading, walking, carry-down access, etc.) along the riparian corridor and to the river.

Restoration timeline

  • May 2014 - May 2015 - Planning and design phase
  • Jun 2015 - Dec 2015 - Construction
  • 2016 - Shoreline and park improvements

Maps