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It's time for summer fun!
SUMMER is a time marked by lower streamflow most of the time (baseflow) punctuated by hours to day-long episodes of intense thunderstorm rainfall and surges in streamflow. This is also a time when trees and shrubs leaf out and shade the stream; when aquatic insects like mayflies, caddisflies and blackflies emerge and take flight; when the trout are biting; and when people, especially kids, are spending lots of time at the creeks.

Watching big summer storms

Summer thunderstorms do a lot more than just water our gardens. Rain water flows from our yards, parking lots and streets, through storm sewers, and into Duluth streams and Lake Superior.

This water can carry a LOT sediments and pollutants with it. One such storm carried over 12,000 pounds of habitat smothering, gill fouling, mud past our sensor in Tischer Creek in just a few hours. Read more about that storm here.

Not all of the rain water ends up in the creeks. A lot of the rain that should pass through storm sewers and creeks into the harbor or lake gets into the sanitary sewers that take sewage to WLSSD, our wastewater treatment plant, leading to overflows. This Inflow & Infiltration problem is going to cost the City of Duluth and its residents a bunch of money to fix. Read more about it here.

Fishing for supper
Duluth streams are filled with possibilities! 12 of the Duluth Streams are designated Trout Streams. Before you fish, read up on fishing regulations and consumption advisories. You can find this information, along with tips on where to go here.

Swimming with friends

Duluth streams are littered with popular swimming holes, and Lake Superior has many popular swimming beaches. Find out about the weather and lake conditions, including rip current risk, at Park Point before you go at ParkPointBeach.org. Even though the water looks clear and pristine, sometimes it can be contaminated with bacteria. Many Lake Superior Beaches are monitored for high bacteria levels by the MPCA. Check for swimming advisories here. Swimming holes in the local streams aren't currently being monitored. A good rule of thumb is to avoid swimming in the streams for 24 hours after a rainfall. Summer rains wash contaminants into the streams, and it takes some time for them to be washed out.

When is it too cold to swim? Check out these recommendations from the National Center for Cold Water Safety.

Dog owners beware of slimy Blue-Green algae. Algae blooms can be toxic to pets and humans alike. Be sure to check water conditions when dogs are playing near lakes or slow-flowing streams. While most blue-green algae are not toxic, there is no way to visually identify whether a particular bloom contains toxins that are harmful to people or animals. If possible, keep your pets away from algae-laden water entirely. If your dog does go into water with heavy algae growth, hose it off right away, before it has a chance to lick itself clean. Animals become ill when they ingest the toxins, so preventing them from drinking affected water or licking toxins from their coat is key to preventing illness. Learn more.

Bugs Bugs Bugs!
Summer is the time when many aquatic insects emerge from the water to fly, mate, lay eggs and die. Some can be nasty. Learn to identify some of these insects here.