Conservation Minnesota

Lutsen Mountains works to protect the Poplar River

Poplar River 1Lutsen Mountains embraces the natural resources that enable them to lay claim to the largest ski area in the Midwest. For several years Conservation Minnesota has partnered with Lutsen Mountains to provide the Favorite Places feature on our website. The tool and our partnership reflect the joint commitment to providing Minnesotan’s opportunities to enjoy and protect the Minnesota we all love.

One of Lutsen Mountains’ specific priority commitments is to the restoration and protection of the Poplar River. Set among Lake Superior’s unique mountain-like topography, the high profile Poplar River watershed is a vital natural area, trout fishery and economic engine for the North Shore. It runs through the heart of Lutsen Mountains.

For over a decade, the Poplar River Management Board (PRMB), lead by Lutsen Mountains and other landowners along the river, has been working in partnership with the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and others with the specific goal of identifying and implementing conservation projects and practices that will meet the MPCA’s water quality standards and be removed from the impaired waters list.

To date, project work has reduced sediment by 35% and PRMB is now poised to reach their goal of de-listing the Poplar River.

Poplar River 2A 2014 Targeted Watershed Grant from the Clean Water Legacy Fund will enable additional significant project work to advance within the watershed over the course of the next two construction seasons. This grant will have a big impact in a short time period.

The Targeted Watershed Grant represents the continuation of over ten years of private and public research and construction projects benefitting the Poplar River and Lake Superior. PRMB, the Cook County SWCD, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and other stakeholders identified and implemented $1.7 million in conservation projects in the watershed. This work addressed the most significant sources of sediment and is giving rise to improved water quality.

The grant will be used for in-stream stabilization, upland runoff erosion control, implementation of water bars on ski slopes and native grass and forbs plantings. As a part of the grant, Lutsen Mountains will develop new research and design guidelines for erosion control on ski runs that could be a model for resorts across the country.

This new work will build on the accomplishments of past efforts and provide benefits in sediment reduction to the Poplar River for decades to come.

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