More than 10 inches of rain fell on Saxon Harbor on July 11-12 last year, an area on Lake Superior on the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Duluth News Tribune reported that $1.375 million in funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be dedicated to dredging and repairing the flood-damaged harbour. The funds are dedicated to a project that will adjust the depth of the harbour and maintain it as a safe refuge for boats during future Superior storms.
The News Tribune recounts the flood damage included destruction of Saxon Harbor’s marina and campground, washed out roads, overflow of Oronto Creek, and 19 boats beached (others sank or set adrift). Three deaths were confirmed in the flood’s wake, and several people had to be rescued from the Apostle Islands. Significant amounts of sediment and mud were swept out to Superior’s shoreline, causing concern for drinking water quality.
The dredging and repair project is part of the Army Corps’ 2017 budget, with a project bidding opportunity to be released Sept. 30. When work begins in 2018, the project will aim to restore the harbour to a depth more suitable for larger boats. Eric J. Peterson, a forest administrator for Iron County, WI, told the News Tribune that this will improve the harbour’s now-limited use. Before the storm, Saxon had three boat launches that could handle boats of 40 feet or more. Currently, the harbour only has one boat launch, facilitating boats of 24 feet or less.
“Saxon Harbor is a designated harbor of refuge on Lake Superior,” he said. “With that comes the responsibility for Army Corps to maintain the channel entering to the marina and the channel down the north basin of the marina.” (Eric J. Peterson to the Duluth News Tribune, 30 May 2017)
Funding for the work laid out above came about after U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) sent a letter to the Army Corps last fall for assistance in rebuilding the area. On behalf of Iron County, she requested the project be made a priority. In addition to the dredging project, efforts are underway to rebuild the camping ground and marina; construction is to take place in 2018, with a target completion for the 2019 recreation season.
The Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan will meet at 7 p.m. on June 22nd in the Red Rock Marina Interpretive Centre in Red Rock, Ontario. Anyone interested in the environmental health of Lake Superior and its surrounding watershed is welcome to attend. The meeting is free of charge.
Rob Hyde of Environment and Climate Change Canada will provide a presentation on the Lake Superior Action and Management Plan. The plan guides Binational Partnership efforts aimed at Lake Superior restoration and protection.
Additionally, a representative of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change will provide an overview of ongoing environmental monitoring in Nipigon Bay on Lake Superior. Environment and Climate Change Canada will provide information about Nipigon Bay’s status as a Great Lakes Area of Concern. The PAC will also discuss future direction.
- Meeting Agenda
- Lake Superior Action and Management Plan
- Draft Terms of Reference outlining potential PAC future direction
- Original PAC Terms of Reference from the early eighties.
- Red Rock Water Treatment Plant: Call for tender
The Red Rock Marina Interpretive Centre is located at 7 Park Road, Red Rock, ON, P0T 2P0.
The Public Advisory Committee for the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan will be holding a meeting on June 7, 2017 at Lakehead University. Remedial Action Plans deal with environmental impairments in Areas of Concern on the Great Lakes. This includes chemical, physical, and biological degradation resulting in pollution and impacts to habitat.
The June 7th meeting will focus on an overview of mercury and other contamination in the northern portion of Thunder Bay Harbour, work completed toward cleaning up the contamination, and planned efforts to move forward with the project. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Advanced Technology and Academic Centre (ATAC) building room 3004 (located in the NW corner of 3rd floor). Free evening parking at Lakehead University is available right beside the ATAC building.
Lakehead University graduate student Nathan Wilson will also outline work he will be undertaking aimed at developing a “habitat strategy” for the Thunder Bay Area of Concern. Nathan will conduct research to pinpoint locations which could benefit from protection or restoration. Shorline, coastal wetlands and stream and river mouths entering Superior are highly productive for fish and wildlife but have been heavily impacted by development.
A detailed agenda and a map showing the meeting location are accessible via the links bel0w:
- Agenda for the June 7th meeting
- Map of Lakehead University Campus showing ATAC building (AT)
(enter the university from Balmoral at Beverly)
- Minutes of April 12th meeting