Duluth wins first of new EPA grantsThe city of Duluth will receive the first ever “Shoreline Cities, Green Infrastructure’’ program grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
The city of Duluth will receive the first ever “Shoreline Cities, Green Infrastructure’’ program grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The grant, part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, will funnel $250,000 in federal money toward water quality and stormwater projects at the Lake Superior Zoo and Chambers Grove Park, both hit hard by the June 2012 flood.
Part of the grant also will go to stormwater control efforts at the city’s Atlas Cement industrial redevelopment site in Gary New Duluth.
Susan Hedman, Region 5 EPA director, made the grant announcement at the Lake Superior Zoo on Thursday morning. Duluth is the first of 16 Great Lakes cities that will receive money from the new program in coming months.
The money will “help reduce floods and improve water quality,’’ Hedman said, noting Duluth has been a leader at pursuing Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects.
The federal money will be matched with another $250,000 from Minnesota’s Legacy Fund, the city, the Duluth Economic Development Agency and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.
The zoo project will include rain gardens and buffer strips to capture runoff, cool it and filter it before it runs into Kingsbury Creek, which flows into the St. Louis River and harbor and on into Lake Superior. The zoo project will focus on the parking lot and will be part of major changes expected in 2015, as Grand Avenue is reconstructed.
The Atlas Cement site project will go to create man-made ponds and buffers to capture and divert runoff so it doesn’t seep into potentially contaminated soils under the site. The runoff will be diverted to the river before it can absorb any contaminants. City and Port Authority officials hope to overcome legacy contaminants at the site and make it available for new industrial “brownfield” development.
At Chambers Grove Park, heavily damaged by the 2012 flood, the money will help rework the park to reduce water runoff from nearby hills.
Duluth Mayor Don Ness noted all of the projects have a common theme — helping improve the water quality of the St. Louis River by making improvements on land.
Dawn Mackety, Lake Superior Zoo chief executive office, said the project is another in a long line of efforts to rebuild the zoo after the devastating flood that damaged much of the grounds and killed and displaced several species of animals at the 16-acre facility.