Photo Credit: Todd Carlson, April 12, 2007

The Lester River approximately 1 mile above Superior St., showing the steep clay banks that can pose a challenge with sediment.

(Click image to enlarge)

Stream or Fluvial Geomorphology:

The study of how the geological features and shape of the stream channel change over time.

Fixing problems and designing with nature

Increasingly, we're hearing about problems of too much sediment, eroding banks, controversies over how close homes and condos are to streams and lakes, and about stormwater problems and costs.

Doing the best planning and managing the land to protect our streams

Watersheds that have been altered by land clearing, channelization, and ditching present extra difficulties in preventing the degradation of water quality and biological communities. Understanding how these man-made disturbances overlay the natural forest, stream channels, drainage patterns, floodplains, terraces, and bluffs is needed to predict erosion, sediment transport and deposition, and stormwater runoff.

We have choices. Protecting water resources up front, by designing development to reduce stormwater and erosion, is cheaper than paying restoration costs for decades.

Stream images

The most comprehensive classification of Duluth's urban streams was performed for
more than 20 streams in 2003 and 2004, including all of the designated trout streams.
Here is the
complete report (7.2 MB pdf).

USGS report

Faith A. Fitzpatrick, Marie C. Peppler, Michele M. DePhilip, and Kathy E. Lee
In cooperation with the City of Duluth, Minnesota
Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5029

Study area and sampling sites
Study area - click image to enlarge

Mission Creek
Sargent Creek
U.S. Steel Creek
Morgan Park
Stewart Creek
Lenroot Creek
Knowlton Creek
Kingsbury Creek
62nd Avenue Creek
Keene Creek
Merritt Creek

Miller Creek
Buckingham Creek
Coffee Creek
Brewery Creek
Greys Creek
Chester Creek
Tischer Creek
34th to 50th Ave. Creeks
Amity Creek
Lester River


Fish-eye view of a
gravel stream bottom.

(Courtesy USDA Forest Service)

summer storm
riffles and pools

Find out more:

stream branches
stream channel