St. Louis River Alliance

Degradation of Aesthetics

When the St. Louis River was listed as an Area of Concern on the Great Lakes, one of the problems identified was the degradation of aesthetics. The appearance of the St. Louis River was considered negatively impacted due to:

  • Oil, chemical and tar residues from two major superfund sites in Minnesota and the Hog Island/Newton Creek Inlet site in Wisconsin.
  • Grain and grain dust
  • Taconite pellets on the shoreline
  • Large accumulations of foam


Addressing the Issue

Extensive clean-up activities have been completed at two of the three superfund areas. Tighter regulations on cargo handling have reduced grain and taconite problems and the foam has been determined to be naturally occurring and not caused by pollution.

It is a current priority to remove this issue from the AOC. During 2011-2012, the St. Louis River Alliance is working with state and local agencies to review the progress that has been made already on this issue, to gather public input on whether there are any remaining aesthetic problems on the river, and to determine if this issue can be considered resolved.

What You Can Do

In September, public input is being sought in a number of ways. People are encouraged to let us know if they did NOT see any of the substances listed above.  Any reported sighting of the substances will be passed onto a state agency for follow up.

Boat Launch Surveys: During the next two weekends, the Alliance will be surveying people at boat launches in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Alliance staff will be at Rice’s Point and Munger Landing launches in Duluth and Arrowhead Pier and Loon’s Foot Landing in Superior.

Public Meetings:

none currently scheduled

River Monitor Volunteers: The Alliance is looking for people who will be spending time on the river either fishing, hunting, or any other recreational boating to volunteer to log what they see and don’t see during these outings.

Interested persons who wish to volunteer should call (218) 733-9520.

Survey Form:  People can also provide input on their recent outing on the river by: calling the St. Louis River Alliance at (218) 733-9520, or emailing