Duluth Streams: Community Partnerships for Understanding Urban Stormwater and Water Quality Issues at the Head of the Great Lakes

EPA Grant Number: R829321
Title: Duluth Streams: Community Partnerships for Understanding Urban Stormwater and Water Quality Issues at the Head of the Great Lakes
Investigators: Lonsdale, Marion , Richards, Carl , Host, George E. , Munson, Bruce , Hagley, Cindy , Axler, Richard
Institution: Department of Public Works & Utilities - Duluth , University of Minnesota - Duluth
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: $724,261
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Water , Aquatic Ecosystems , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


Duluth lies at the western end of Lake Superior, essentially the source and headwaters of the entire Laurentian Great Lakes ecosystem. With 42 named streams, Duluth has one of the highest densities of stream corridors of any US metro area.. Urbanization and rural development impact these streams by increasing temperature, turbidity and suspended sediment, road salts, organic matter and nutrients. Duluth Streams establishes a Partnership of the City, University researchers, education and outreach professionals, and local resource agencies and educational institutions. Their chief goal is to enhance the general public's understanding of aquatic ecosystems and their connections to watershed land use to provide both economic and environmental sustainability.


DuluthStreams will: 1) link real-time remote sensing of water quality in four urban streams and GIS technology to current and historical water quality and biological databases (all 42 streams) using advanced data visualization tools in Internet–World Wide Web and Information Kiosk formats; 2) incorporate visually engaging interpretive text, animations and videos into the DuluthStreams website to illustrate the nature and consequences of degraded stormwater and the real costs to society; and 3) engage the public in the stormwater issue via programmatic activities such as establishing high school directed neighborhood stewardship/monitoring of 3 streams, developing curricula for high school and college students for inclusion in our Water-on-the-Web curriculum, hosting a DuluthStreams Congress as a community forum for presenting all project results, and by adapting the NEMO nonpoint education program to the greater Duluth Metropolitan Area.


Project goals will be achieved by presenting information using existing and novel data visualization and interpretation techniques to couple real-time and historic monitoring data with watershed and land use data, and cultural information. A final component of the project, though performed throughout, will be to assess the success of DuluthStreams as defined by a variety of survey instruments targeting the specific user groups.

Expected Results:

DuluthStreams will provide direct public access to the information needed for good land use planning and decision making. It will facilitate the development and implementation of the Duluth stormwater utility's Surface Water Management Plan. The data, information management and delivery systems, and community education program will be designed for easy adaptation to other communities as done previously by Lake Access for urban lakes.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 8 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

EMPACT, restoration, TMDLs, limnology, Great Lakes, remote sensing, Midwest, stormwater infrastructure, I & I, nonpoint source pollution, CSO, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, ECOSYSTEMS, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, Ground Water, Water & Watershed, Monitoring/Modeling, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Monitoring, Wet Weather Flows, Environmental Monitoring, Terrestrial Ecosystems, Ecological Risk Assessment, Urban and Regional Planning, Watersheds, aquatic ecosystem, EMPACT, remote sensing, hydrologic dynamics, nutrient transport, wetlands, community-based approach, streams, nutrients, downstream effects, runoff, sediment transport, stream ecosystems, community water quality information system, stormwater, community outreach, community tracking, nutrient monitoring , water quality, community partnerships, aquatic ecosystems, lake ecosysyems, ecological models, nutrient transport model, stormwater runoff, ecology assessment models, water management options, watershed assessment, land management, stream ecosystem, Great Lakes, storm water, Storm Water Management Model, land use

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final Report