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Duluth Urban-area Watershed Restoration And Protection Strategies (WRAPS)


Minnesota has adopted a watershed approach to address the state's 80 major watersheds. This approach looks at drainage area as a whole instead of focusing on lakes and streams one at a time, thus increasing effectiveness and efficiency. This watershed appraoch incorporates the following activities into a 10 year cycle:


Duluth-area streams are divided by two major watersheds: Lake Superior-South and St. Louis River. Duluth-area streams are more similar to each other in land use (urbanized), geology (both glacial till and bedrock present) and landform (flat, wetland-dominated uplands with steep, bedrock-dominated lowlands) than their counterparts in the surrounding major watersheds, and thus were grouped as their own major watershed unit.

[Map coming soon]

Monitoring & Assessment were conducted in 2015-2016 at 6 locations - Keene Creek, Merritt Creek, Miller Creek, Chester Creek, Tischer Creek, and Amity Creek - and built on an already extensive monitoring network dating back to 2002. Water quality data was collected and analyzed by both NRRI and MPCA scientists.

Waters not meeting state standards are listed as impaired and TMDL studies are performed. A TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, determines the maximum amount of pollutant a water body can handle and still be healthy.

10 streams in the Duluth-area are considered impaired for bacteria (too much of it) and/or biology (too little coldwater fishes; unhealhty macroinvertebrates aka water bugs). TMDLs for suspended solids (floating sediment in a stream's water column with harm fish and bugs) and E. coli (bacteria) are currently in review, and draft documents are available for download below. A WRAPS document outlining implementation activities to address these impairments, and to protect those streams which are still healthy, is also in the draft phase.

Draft documents are available for download:

DRAFT TMDL for TSS & E. coli in Duluth Urban-area

DRAFT WRAPS for Duluth Urban-area


DRAFT Duluth Urban WRAPS HSPF Model Report

Appendix A - Detailed Snow Calibration Results and Validation

Appendix B & C - Detailed Flow Calibration Results & Validation

Appendix D - Suspended Sediment Calibration & Validation

Appendix E - Nutrients and DO Calibration & Validation

Appendix F - Chloride Calibration & Validation


Duluth Urban Streams: An Implementation Focused Assessment of Six Streams

Amity Creek Stressor Identification Report

Amity Creek Supplemental Data


Unique to the Duluth WRAPS process, this project also supports community education through citizen science as well as community engagement through an advisory board.

Advisory Committee

The Duluth Urban WRAPS Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from the municipalities (county, city, and townships) in the Duluth Metropolitan Area. Representives from the Department of Natural Resources, Pollution Control Agency, and other natural resource management organizations will also be involved in the Advisory Council.

One of the committee's primary purposes is to serve as an information exchange and coordinating mechanism for a wide variety of projects underway with consequences for the region’s water resources. A secondary goal is to recognize efficiencies and opportunities to share expertise.  Finally, this concept of building a shared urban watershed management framework is fundamentally about providing the intellectual space for partners and the citizenry to explore and institute practices that make sustainability of the region’s water resources  a core part of how the region functions.

The advisory committee has three primary objectives:

  1. Sharing information: Extensive monitoring is underway in these urban watersheds, and research that relates to urban watersheds continues to develop and offer new answers to water quality problems.  The council will help refine the monitoring efforts, while also learning about the findings, and sharing relevant information about new and upcoming projects with other councilmembers. 
  2. Fostering collaboration and engagement: The council will help the communities take advantage of opportunities to identify and implement watershed protection initiatives and actions.  To foster greater engagement with the residents and stakeholders across the watersheds, two workshops will be organized by MN Sea Grant annually, and the council will participate in setting the agenda for these public workshops.
  3. Exploring watershed management frameworks: Watersheds cross political boundaries, and unless the entire watershed is involved, efforts to maintain or improve water quality will fall short.  The council will evaluate and review potential frameworks for managing these urban watersheds that take into account the unique needs of our Northeastern Minnesota communities.

Vision Statement:

Our water resources and associated ecosystems become healthier and more resilient through public engagement and local government collaboration.


Advisory Committee Member List

Meeting Notes


Moving Forward - New Contract: Agenda-Minutes and PowerPoint (PDF)

February 2017 Committee Update: Handout


Wrapping Up the First Two Years: Agenda-Minutes and PowerPoint (PDF)

Summary of Community Meetings: Outline (PDF)

December 2016 Committee Update: Handout

Oct - Nov:



Presentation to Communities: PowerPoint (PDF)

Summary & Voting on Management Models: Overview Handout (PDF)

Fall 2016 Committee Update: Handout


Final Review of Managment Models: Agenda-Minutes and PowerPoint (PDF)

Fist-to-Five Voting: Results (Excel)

September 2016 Committee Update: Handout


Review of Managment Models: Agenda-Minutes

Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Model: Summary Results

Overview of Management Models: PowerPoint Presentation (PDF)

Wetland Conservation Act & Wetland Delineation: PowerPoint Presentation (PDF)

August 2016 Committee Update: Handout


Residual Designation Authority & Toronto Living City: Agenda-Minutes

Learn more about Toronto Living City here.

June 2016 Committee Update: Handout


Joint Powers: Agenda-Minutes

Joint Powers Worksheet: Summary Results

Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization: PowerPoint Presentation

Miller Creek Joint Powers Board (1998): Joint Powers Agreement

April 2016 Committee Update: Handout


Voluntary Cooperation: Agenda-Minutes

Voluntary Cooperation Worksheet: Summary Results


Harbor Technical Advisory Committee: PowerPoint Presentation

Regional Stormwater Protection Team: Prezi Presentation

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) & MS4: Prezi Presentation

March 2016 Committee Update: Handout


Open House

Did you miss the Duluth WRAPS Open House? Or do you want to see the presentations? Find links here:

What has the Duluth WRAPS Committee been up to in 2015? - Handout

Duluth WRAPS Overview, Activities, and Goals Pdf Presentation - Jesse Schomberg

What's Stressing Our Streams Prezi Presentation - Kate Kubiak

How to use the LakeSuperiorStreams DataViewer Tools Pdf Presentation - Andrea Crouse

Link to "How To" videos for using the LakeSuperiorStreams DataViewer Tools - YouTube



Meeting presentation

Water Regulations (Shoreland Protection Act) presentation



Meeting presentation



Meeting presentation

Watershed Game

TMDL presentation

MPCA's Impaired Streams Webpage



Meeting presentation

Fist-To-Five Modified Consensus

Visioning Responses

Learn more about Watershed Managment Organizations, Watershed Districts, and the MN Association of Watershed Districts. Read more about the Toronto Living City



Ground Rules

Impaired Streams in Duluth urban area

Project Overview Presentation-Brian Fredrickson

Monitoring Plan Presentation-Rich Axler

Contact Local Decision Makers

Elected Officials


Duluth Streams

Amity Creek
Brewery Creek
Buckingham Creek
Chester Creek
Clarkhouse Creek
Coffee Creek
Gary Street Creek
Greys Creek
Keene Creek
Kingsbury Creek
Knowlton Creek
Lester River
Merritt Creek
Miller Creek
Mission Creek
Morgan Park Creek
Oregon Creek
Sargent Creek
St. Louis River
Stewart Creek
Tischer Creek
U.S. Steel Creek
34th Ave E Creek
37th Ave E Creek
38th Ave E Creek
40th Ave E Creek
43rd Ave E Creek
47th Ave E Creek
50th Ave E Creek
58th Ave E Creek
32nd Ave W Creek
82nd Ave W Creek


Understanding Impairments and TMDLs

Understanding Landscapes

Geology Highlights


Solstice Flood

Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT)