St. Louis County is planning improvements to Woodland Avenue from Snively Road to Anoka Street during the 2023/2024 construction seasons. Improvements will include mill and overlay, new curb and gutter, and bike lanes. Constructing green infrastructure is not a required part of the project; the County and City recognize the value of including it in the design considering the proximity of Woodland Ave to the Hartley Natural Area. When it rains, salt, sand and litter from a such a wide, busy road washes into the nearest waterway, which in this part of town is Tischer Creek. If not properly managed, this polluted runoff will negatively impact this designated Trout Stream.
The County and City of Duluth have elected to use Green Infrastructure, a type of water management practice that uses vegetation, soil and grading to capture and filter stormwater to treat the runoff from Woodland Avenue. Although it requires a little more foresight and planning, using green infrastructure instead of the typical, gray infrastructure (concrete and pipes) will provide many benefits to the Hartley Natural Area and the Tischer watershed. Green Infrastructure mimics natural hydrological processes instead of shunting rainwater through artificial conduits. By diverting the rainwater to specially designed vegetated areas, pollutants are removed through infiltration, erosion is mitigated by slowing the flow of heavy runoff and an area of Hartley that is currently not heavily used by the public, and infested with buckthorn, will be naturally improved and used to mitigate impacts to Tischer Creek. Currently in the design phase, this project is slated to be in place by 2024.
For more information, please contact the St. Louis County's Environmental Engineer at 218-625-3862, visit the County project website at: https://woodland-anoka-slcgis.hub.arcgis.com/, or contact the City's Natural Resources Coordinator at 218-576-8068.