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.
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.
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.