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Find out about stream restoration activities that are on-going or have taken place within the Western Lake Superior Basin and in the St. Louis River Estuary (exit)

Stream Restoration

There are an estimated 720 perennial and 127 intermittent streams that flow into ultra oligotrophic Lake Superior, including 309 trout streams and their tributaries along the Superior north shore and St. Louis River Estuary. Bedrock escarpments create a high density of stream corridors in forested watersheds with steep gradients, thin, erodible soils, typically low productivity, and “flashy” hydrology. These trout streams are especially sensitive to potential impacts from urbanization and rural development: rising water temperature, increasing water and sediment runoff, openings in riparian cover/canopy, impervious surfaces, road crossings, and construction runoff.  Impacts from watershed disturbance would likely be exacerbated by concurrent trends in warming and increased frequency of severe storms, that climate change models predict will persist and worsen.

The overall goal of stream restoration is to return a degraded stream to a more healthy condition. The process involves many steps including planning, designing, funding, constructing, and follow-up monitoring. Each step is crucial to achieve restoration success.


Download the EPA's new stream restoration booklet. Released in 2012, it offers a new framework for approaching stream assessment and restoration from a function-based perspective.

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