Environmental group criticizes Poplar River projectby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
Projects are under way to reduce sedimentation in the Poplar River on Minnesota's North Shore. But they're not doing an adequate job, according to an environmental group.
The Poplar River runs through the Lutsen Mountains ski resort. It's a designated trout stream and currently provides water for snowmaking, which will end when a pipeline to Lake Superior is built next spring.
With steep hills, packed soil, parking lots and roads -- along with natural sources -- sediment levels often exceed federal standards.
The Poplar River Management Board and other agencies are working on several big mitigation projects that are expected to reduce 45 percent of the sediment load to the Poplar River.
Kerrie Fabius, the manager of the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District, said the system includes a drainage collection pool, pipes and a concrete vault to slow the water flow.
"The system collects all the runoff and lets it out to the Poplar River at slower rate," she said, "and it prevents erosion and sediment."
But Save Lake Superior President Le Lind said it's not happening fast enough.
"Lake Superior is a big, clean lake," Lind said, "and you can't continue taking clean water out and dumping dirty water back in."
The work was paid for by a $687,000 grant from the Great Lakes Commission. It's one of several projects designed to improve water quality in the Poplar River.
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