The idea for this project was conceived in 1996 when the City of Duluth was beginning to address its stormwater issues. It was during a public meeting addressing such stormwater concerns where Sweetwater Alliance Executive Director, Jill Jacoby realized that an education and outreach component focused on the functions of wetlands, would go hand-in-hand with city, state and federal stormwater objectives. The idea was to create wetland gardens that would educate the public about the functions and values wetlands provide in stormwater management. Such a project would also allow the public to see numerous types of wetland plants, with the goal of building understanding of, and stewardship for, native wetlands.
The Bayfront Stormwater Garden will intercept the stormwater pipe that brings runoff from I-35 and into slip 2. When there is a storm event, this project will treat stormwater, sending it through a series of wetland plant ponds. When there is no storm event, the project will pump water from slip 2. Water quality analysis has shown that slip 2 contains a variety of stormwater pollutants and that the slip holds these contaminants as if in a reservoir. This project is designed as a water garden and will exhibit a wide variety of wetland plants. These plants need water to live and thrive. In this way, our project is different from a rain garden that is designed to hold water, slowly release it into the ground, and then remain dry in between storm events. This requires the pumping of slip 2 water to maintain a constant water level.
Design Work Completed
The work completed under the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program includes inventory and analysis of two possible site locations on the Bayfront property of Duluth. Patricia Johanson created the conceptual designs; Barr Engineering completed the final designs, planning, engineering, and bidding package. Conservation Technologies designed photovoltaic components. Meetings with groups, individuals, and City staff occurred throughout the design process with Sweetwater Alliance and Patricia Johanson.