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ST. LOUIS RIVER ESTUARY

The St. Louis River estuary runs along the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin and is home to the country’s busiest and largest bulk inland port. The area is also a major tourism and recreational draw.

Historically, the area was a center for lumber and paper production. Unfortunately, it has a long history of environmental degradation and pollution. Discharges from industrial sites, chemical spills, and other sources have contaminated sediments, water, plants and wildlife in the estuary.

THREATS


The St. Louis River system has a long history of ecological degradation and pollution that continues into the present. Historical discharges included mercury, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Pollution continues to accrue from contaminated sediments, abandoned hazardous waste sites, airborne deposition, industrial discharges, chemical spills, improperly sewered wastes, and surface runoff.

The discharges have led to high concentrations of toxic contaminants in the sediments, water column, plants and wildlife. Due to its proximity to the largest port in the Great Lakes, the habitat degradation in the St. Louis River estuary has particular economic significance.

 

NEXT STEPS


NOAA will now develop an implementation plan for the St. Louis River estuary. The plan will
include a major focus on fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation and restoration, along with
identifying non-degraded areas in need of protection..

 

Please email any questions to Heather Stirratt at Heather.Stirratt@noaa.gov.