Logo by UMD Student Chosen to Represent Regional Stormwater Education Project

February 9, 2004

In 2002, City of Duluth crews removed 573 gallons of garbage from area creeks and streams, including a microwave oven, a construction dumpster, and a bicycle frame. Crews also removed three tons of dog droppings from the Lakewalk alone. Several beaches were closed last summer due to high bacteria levels. In a long-term effort to promote positive community and individual activities to protect the waters of the region, 16 governments and groups combined in 2003 to form the Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT). Their mission: to protect and enhance the region's shared water resources through stormwater pollution prevention by providing coordinated educational programs and technical assistance.

The next step for the group was to decide on a logo to go with the TV ads, brochures and exhibits that will be shown extensively in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. The RSPT conducted a logo design contest, open to students from UWS and UMD's Graphics Design programs. The winning concept, designed by UMD student Eric Lichtenberg, was unveiled today at a news conference at UMD. Honorable mention designs were created by Jenna Akre and Brenda Anderson, both from UMD.

"We hope that our new logo will help identify our group as a leader in stormwater management and will help our cause," said Marnie Lonsdale, City of Duluth stormwater manager. "We hope homeowners will associate this logo with caring for their watersheds. The different colors on the logo represent problem areas of the environment ­ soil, streams, and lakes ­ that we're trying to work on with this education campaign."

UMD students aren't the only ones involved in the RSPT. Like other municipalities, UMD is required to lessen its impact on surrounding waterways. UMD facility managers plan to add a rain garden filled with native plants to collect and filter water from one of its largest parking lots before it runs into nearby streams.

Slowing down the water and allowing it to filter naturally through soil is an important part of the solution. Natural buffer areas between hard surfaces protect ponds and nearby Oregon and Tischer creeks. New construction projects, like the Swenson Science Building, are making stormwater concerns an integral part of the project design. Even during construction, special care is taken to minimize polluted runoff.

"Being a great University on a Great Lake means we have a tremendous responsibility to the nearby waterways that feed into Lake Superior, and we take that responsibility seriously," said UMD Chancellor Kathryn Martin. "We'll find ways to soften our impact on the environment in every phase of development, and we hope the rest of the Duluth community will also."

Public education and outreach is a key part of any stormwater pollution prevention plan. The Internet is an effective way to provide stormwater information and DuluthStreams.org is the Web site most turned to for advice about living in Duluth's watersheds. The site was developed by UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the City of Duluth as part of a regional effort to provide water pollution information to the public.

The RSPT consists of the cities of Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor, Cloquet and Superior; UWS; UMD and its Sea Grant Program and Natural Resources Research Institute; St. Louis County; South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District; the MN Dept. of Transportation; Western Lake Superior Sanitary District; MN Pollution Control Agency; the Fond du Lac Reservation; and Duluth Township.

The RSPT educational campaign is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-Waters and Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program through the Coastal Zone Management Act, which is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

CONTACT: Marie Zhuikov, Minnesota Sea Grant Communications, Email: mzhuikov@umn.edu;
Office (218) 726-7677