BY COUNCILOR STOVER:
WHEREAS, the lower St. Louis River estuary is recognized as a globally important natural area due to its unique wetlands in the Lake Superior watershed and surrounding upland forest; and
WHEREAS, important wetland habitat for breeding birds and fish has declined in the estuary due to excessive sediment inputs from past development and road building; and
WHEREAS, planned bridge reconstructions provide an opportunity to concurrently restore adjacent riparian and upland habitat; and
WHEREAS, the St. Louis River citizens action committee, the nature conservancy, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, and the U.S. bureau of Indian affairs have formed a conservation partnership under the state habitat corridors partnership to conserve and restore priority habitat in the lower St. Louis River estuary; and
WHEREAS, conservation partners have pledged matching funds for a one million dollar proposal before Congress to appropriate federal transportation funds for habitat restoration in the lower St. Louis River estuary to mitigate effects of bridge reconstructions at Minnesota trunk highways 23, 210, and 53 over the St. Louis River and its tributaries of Kingsbury Creek, Keene Creek and Miller Creek.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Duluth City Council supports efforts to appropriate federal funds for habitat restoration related to bridge reconstructions over the St. Louis river and priority tributaries, and urges Congress to pass legislation for this purpose.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the clerk shall provide a copy of this resolution to Congressman Oberstar and to Minnesota's two senators.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: The public has enjoyed the positive results of past measures taken to help restore the lower St. Louis River, which had been negatively impacted by industry and development. Erosion and surface run-off have badly injured the important wetlands and habitat needed to allow the eco-system to function. The current reconstruction of bridges in the area present a unique opportunity to protect this habitat. This resolution urges Congress to authorize the necessary mitigation projects.