Efforts to address a "substantial" erosion problem at one of Superior's most-used recreation sites have started. The Wisconsin Point Committee has motioned agreement to start efforts to do something about the issue.

The vote comes to move forward comes with a two-prong approach to the problem:  start a "beach nourishment project" and also put together a "long term plan to stabilize" the beach area that is seeing the erosion.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

What's most-concerning to city leaders and those in the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry department is the proximity of Wisconsin Point to the Municipal Landfill. Wisconsin Point  exists geographically just to the north of an old landfill area.  Standard operating procedure for erosion in regards to city-managed shoreline is to let it run it's course.  However in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], Superior Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Director Linda Cadotte explains what's different in this case:

"You could say 'gosh, the boardwalk. Big deal'. In this case, it's an old landfill.  If we let that continue to erode, we're going to have a lot bigger issues than not having a beautiful boardwalk access."

Those close to Wisconsin Point have been tracking the erosion for a while.  What's going on - especially near Lot 1 - is "very aggressive".  David Grandmaison, St. Louis River Wild Rice Restoration and Habitat Project Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources explains:

"There's some pretty substantial change on the beach that  we're seeing.  What was unclear was the extent of this erosion process and the severity of the problem.  Not to mention there are concerns about the possible integrity of the nearby landfill."

All of the expert parties agree that the significant erosion is happening at Lot 1.  Cadotte shares her observations:

"Part of the reason I started asking the question is because I noticed when we started to design the boardwalk to when we installed, we had already removed about 20 feet of it."

So what constitutes "nourishment"?  One possible solution would be dredging up materials from the harbor area to use to fill in (or nourish) the beach.  That plan, though would be watched closely to maintain that the sediment and sand materials were similar in composition.

Longer-range plans then would shift focus to "stabilization" and resiliency.

Now that the Wisconsin Point Committee has voted to approve the plan, it moves on to a vote by the full Superior City Council.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

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