Cleanup Talks Lead 2019 St. Louis River Summit

Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve organized event.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The cleanup of the St. Louis River was in focus at University of Wisconsin-Superior.

The college held a St. Louis River Summit that included experts on the topic of clean and safe water.

Currently the Wisconsin DNR said that of their 77 cleanup tasks, they’re about halfway done.

They added that collaborating with others at the Summit is bringing them closer to their ultimate goal of making the river safer for the ecosystem and the community.

From water that runs into the river directly off of ships, and even people’s feelings of distress caused by with environmental change, issues were brought closer to home with the Summit’s theme: River Towns: Landscapes and Livelihoods.

Because organizers said the river is too important to neglect its larger impact.

“It’s the headwaters of the Great Lakes so that’s 20% of the freshwater on Earth,” said Deanna Erickson, Education Coordinator with the Estuarine Research Reserve.

“And so our responsibility here is particularly important really on a global scale.”

Presentations also detailed the Estuarine research reserve and the DNR’s upcoming projects.

“2019’s gonna be a really big year,” Erickson said. “There’s some really interesting technology that will be happening at the Thompson Reservoir, Scanlon Dam, areas upriver, and also lots of restoration, including Interstate Island.”

But they say there is a step that needs to be taken before anything else can be done.

“Working to delist this river as an area of concern,” said Wisconsin DNR representative, Matt Steiger. “So we’re working diligently through many partnerships on the remediation and cleanup work, and the habitat restoration work.”

They say they hope to have the area delisted by the year 2025.

Students from UWS, St. Scholastica, Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College, and other institutions attended parts of the summit, to learn more about cleanup projects.

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