St. Louis River Restoration Initiative Phase 3

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
End Date
January 2021
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Overview

Kingsbury Bay: completed engineering, design, permitting, and contracting.  Began a multi-year restoration of a wetland complex impacted by excessive sediment and non-native species in 2019 (to be completed fall 2021). 

Grassy Point: completed engineering, design, permitting, and contracting. Began a multi-year restoration of a wetland complex impacted by legacy milling waste and non-native species in 2019 (to be completed fall 2021).

40th Ave. West: placed biomedium (organic-rich sediment sourced from Kingsbury Bay) to help restore benthic macroinvertebrate and aquatic plant communities at a MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) restoration site. This task was completed in 2020.

About the Issue


Project Details

From early concept design and feasibility assessments to on-the-ground construction, the SLRRI followed a programmatic, partner-driven approach to implement large, complex, aquatic restoration projects.  Conceptual designs were developed around specific restoration goals and objectives.  These designs recognized and integrated current knowledge of natural processes in the St. Louis River.  Throughout the formal design process, SLRRI involved a Restoration Site Team (RST) composed of local resource managers, experts, researchers, and stakeholders.  The RST contributed expertise and knowledge, reviewed the design at various points throughout the process, and provided input and recommendations.  This involvement contributed greatly to the goal of designing resilient, self-sustaining habitat components that met project goals and objectives.    

Grassy Point and Kingsbury Bay:

SLRRI is completing restorations at Grassy Point and Kingsbury Bay as a combined project. Project objectives include excavation of accumulated sediments from Kingsbury Bay to restore open water wetlands and coastal marsh habitats.  MNDNR will beneficially use the clean sediments removed from Kingsbury Bay to remediate wood waste impairments at Grassy Point and facilitate the establishment of healthy open-water wetland. The project will construct a complex of created islands that will shelter the bay behind them. The islands will also increase the overall project site diversity by supporting healthy upland and littoral functions. Funds from this appropriation were used by SLRRI to manage and coordinate all steps necessary to advance these large, complex restoration projects. The SLRRI also applied ML2016 funds to project design, engineering, and construction contracts. 

The SLRRI awarded a contract to Barr Engineering in March 2017 to complete the project design using funds from the OHF and the USEPA - GLRI. The design process was completed with input from the public and technical partners on the RST. A Heath Impact Assessment (HIA) was completed by the USEPA, which incorporated additional public input to evaluate the impact of the design on fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and other public health-related issues. No funding from OHF was used for the HIA. The findings of the HIA showed a positive social health outcome by implementing the MNDNR Draft Final Design. A Record of Decision pertaining to the state's Environmental Review was issued, and all necessary permits and agreements were obtained.

The Final Design and bid documents were completed in March 2018. In April 2019, a construction contract was awarded to Veit, Inc. Construction began in June 2019. Major activities completed in 2019 included: underwater buttress and berm construction at Grassy Point, sediment excavation at Kingsbury Bay with beneficial use at Grassy Point, and non-native cattail removal at Kingsbury Bay. Construction resumed in spring 2020; over 120,000 cubic yards of legacy wood waste were removed from the waters of Grassy Point, and used to construct a series of islands.  At Kingsbury Bay, the remaining non-native cattails were removed, as well as excess sediments.  The clean sediments were beneficially used to cap the constructed island features at Grassy Point, and to restore benthic habitat at both Grassy Point and a nearby project at 40th Avenue West (led by the MPCA, see below).  Channel control structures (j-hooks, boulder vanes, and log sills) were constructed at the inlets to Kingsbury and Keene Creeks.  During the 2020 construction season, it became apparent that production rates would extend the completion of both projects into 2021.  The project is currently scheduled for completion in fall 2021.

40th Avenue West
This is a "remediation to restoration" project being completed under the St. Louis River Area of Concern program and led by the MPCA.  At 40th Avenue West, MPCA constructed six underwater shoals to eliminate contaminant exposure pathways and restore shallow sheltered bay habitat to improve fish, wildlife, and native plant communities.  The shoals were completed in 2018. The project's design included a six-inch application of "biomedium" over the completed shoal features.  Biomedium describes clean sediment rich in organic material, plant propagules, and benthic macroinvertebrates and is intended to "jump start" bug and plant communities on the constructed features. After the sediments in Kingsbury Bay were characterized, MNDNR and MPCA identified an opportunity to collaborate by beneficially using approximately 19,000 cubic yards of the dredged Kingsbury Bay sediments as biomedium to cover a 27-ac portion of the shoals. This work was completed in 2020.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2016, Ch. 172, Art. 1, Sec. 2, Subd. 5(g)
Appropriation Language

$2,707,000 the second year is to the commissioner of natural resources to restore aquatic habitats in the St. Louis River estuary. A list of proposed restorations must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Measurable Outcome(s)

67 acres restored

Source of Additional Funds


Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
525 Lake Avenue S #415
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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