Only one of 67 streams along Lake Superior's far North Shore fails to meet state criteria for clean and healthy waterways, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Monday.

All of the 157 lakes in the area meet state guidelines, the PCA reported.

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It's the third and final report on North Shore streams and lakes following reports on the Duluth area and the near North Shore earlier this year. Those reports showed more problems with sediment, bacteria and other pollution and human impact problems.

Among the far North Shore streams, only the Flute Reed River near Hovland had problems, mostly with sediment levels higher than state standards, a problem that could affect trout in the river.

The Poplar River, previously listed as impaired due to excessive sediment, is greatly improved after a decade of local landowners' efforts to tackle stormwater runoff, erosion and slumping bluffs in the area around the Lutsen ski hill. As a result, the PCA is proposing to remove its impaired status.

Four lakes - Deeryard, Poplar, Devil Track and Tom - are showing downward trends in transparency (cloudy water conditions) but still meet state standards. The reports now open for public comment quantify pollutant levels, identify pollution sources, propose ways to return water quality to an acceptable level and describe protection strategies to ensure continued high quality water resources, the PCA said.

Local citizens and the Cook and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation Districts have recommended several restoration and protection actions in the more-developed areas within the watershed. These include culvert inventories and replacement, septic system assessments, replacements and improved management, stream access improvements, streambank and lakeshore buffer improvements and natural stream channel restoration and stabilizations. Other recommendations include improved forestry management and stormwater management, ordinance reviews and revisions, aquatic invasive species investigations and management, and low-impact development design to maintain natural hydrology.

The far North Shore report is out for public review through July 19. For more information or to comment on the report go to