I’ve lived in Duluth for four years now, and I’m constantly amazed at how special this place is. The view, the beaches, the music, the food – I could go on and on. For a city its size, Duluth has an incredible variety to offer its citizens. The things that astonish me the most, though, are the streams and wild places that flow right through the city. There are dozens of them – 42 to be exact – each with their own history, personality, and secluded charm.

Unfortunately, many of these streams are being slowly degraded. Due to development, increased runoff, and use of chemicals like fertilizer and pesticides, the streams are increasingly at risk. Streams like Miller, Chester, Tischer, and Amity creek once used to be pristine trout streams. Old-timers tell stories of landing huge brook trout in areas that are now devoid of fish. It saddens me to see these resources in peril, especially when they play so large a role in the natural character of the city.

Fortunately, there are steps that residents can take to make Duluth streams healthier.

  1. 1. Visit your neighborhood stream – the more people that visit our streams the more advocates the streams will have. Most have public, accessible land along them. Some have well-constructed hiking trails. Visit www.duluthmn.gov/parks/trail_pages/new_trails_page.cfm for more information.
  2. 2. Learn more about the streams. Anything you would ever want to know about your favorite stream – including the challenges it faces – can be found at www.lakesuperiorstreams.org/.
  3. 3. Try reducing the size of your lawn – especially if you live next to a stream. This will save you time and money, and make wildlife much happier. Instead of trimmed Kentucky bluegrass, try planting native species of trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. For more information about the possibilities of native plants, visit the Wild Ones website at www.for-wild.org/.
  4. 4. If you are a streamside landowner interested in improving your stream, contact the Duluth Stream Corps!

The Duluth Stream Corps is an EPA-funded program that works with streamside landowners to complete habitat restoration projects along Duluth streams. We provide labor, plants and project design assistance for free. All that we ask is for your willingness to let us plant native trees and shrubs where you want them, and to help pay for fencing to protect the trees from deer. Don’t worry if you think that you don’t have enough money to pay for fencing, we will work with you to develop a project design that fits your budget. There are also opportunities for lower-income residents to apply for financial assistance to help cover fencing costs.

Almost two hundred streamside landowners have already contacted us and are excited to receive this free work to make their stream healthier. Contact me, Tim Beaster, at (218) 726-1665 or tim@communityactionduluth.org if you are interested. Visit our website at http://www.communityactionduluth.org/streamcorps.html. Together, we can help repair Duluth’s natural places and leave a legacy for generations to come.

-Contributed By Tim Beaster

Visit our Go Green area and learn about great local businesses that offer green products or services.