St Louis River Estuary: The stories and the science

Pickle Pond

Pickle Pond is a shallow, sheltered bay-like site along Superior Bay near Barker's Island. With a busy highway nearby, Pickle Pond is a highly visible area with recreation and habitat value. A potential habitat enhancement project is being developed there to increase habitat diversity and create a functional wetland.


Pickle Pond is a potential remediation and restoration site in the St. Louis River Area of Concern, created when a rail line was constructed in Superior Bay. Two small rail bridges allow for limited water circulation between the pond and Superior Bay. An ecological assessment of Pickle Pond found it supports a number of plants and animals and serves as an important nursery for young fish and a stopover site for migratory birds. The pond has been receiving stormwater runoff for decades and contains contamination from industrial and urban sources in its sediment. Restoring habitat in Pickle Pond would increase the amount of fish and wildlife habitat in the Area of Concern.

Mallard Ducks stop at Pickle Pond. Click to zoom.

Mallard Ducks stop at Pickle Pond.

What is happening now?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), City of Superior and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to assess the current conditions and restore the site. A feasibility study is underway with funding from the USFWS. This feasibility study will fill data gaps and be used to inform the restoration site design. The goal of the study is to have the necessary information to design a project that will enhance fish and wildlife habitat, address sediment contamination, and restore a functional wetland to the pond. The project plans also to determine what can be done in the watershed to prevent future habitat deterioration.

Restoration timeline

  • 2011-2013 - Habitat, water and sediment quality, and biological assessment of Pickle Pond
  • 2014-2015 Complete the feasibility study
  • 2016- Develop restoration and remediation design
  • 2017 - Implement the remediation and restoration project

Read more

Pickle Pond Phase 1 Report