St Louis River Estuary: The stories and the science

Grassy Point Restoration Site

The Grassy Point Restoration Site is an open-water, flat and sheltered bay in the mid-portion of the estuary known as St. Louis Bay. The site includes the lower 1,000 feet of Keene Creek, a designated trout stream. Once the site of sawmill businesses in the late 1800s and early 1900s, areas of wood waste have impacted aquatic habitat along with sediment deposition from the Keene Creek Watershed.

This project will remove some large wood waste, enhance the shoreline by softening the edges, and create shallow areas to help break the waves and shelter the bay. This will in turn enhance aquatic plant beds on the estuary flats near the main channel and provide for warm-water fish spawning areas along the Keene Creek channel.

What's happening now?

The site is in the final stages of engineering the design for construction of an expanded island, a renewed stream channel, and improved spawning and over-winter fish habitat. Sediment samples are being analyzed to ensure structural integrity. Pre- and post-restoration sediment samples will help verify improved habitat and successful removal of impacts to the site.

What do we expect?

Sheltered bays are considered the most important type of habitat to restore in the estuary. This habitat has been severely impaired over the last century, reducing the biological productivity of the estuary. The restored stream channel and delta will provide spawning habitat for game fish such as muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth bass, bluegill and black crappie, as well as habitat for critical forage species such as white sucker, shorthead redhorse and silver redhorse.