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City plans to fix dunes

People tromping over the dunes on Wisconsin Point at 20 different parking turnouts have left their mark -- deterioration. The steep slopes from Wisconsin Point Road along Allouez Bay also has been slipping away to erosion. But Superior has a plan...

People tromping over the dunes on Wisconsin Point at 20 different parking turnouts have left their mark - deterioration.

The steep slopes from Wisconsin Point Road along Allouez Bay also has been slipping away to erosion.

But Superior has a plan to repair the damage, and shore up the peninsula between Lake Superior and Allouez Bay within the St. Louis River Area of Concern and Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. And the city is seeking help through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to restore the city’s shore.

The city has applied for a more than $1.2 million in grant funding in an effort to implement a plan to restore Wisconsin Point’s dunes and solve erosion problems along Allouez Bay.

To restore the dunes, the city would eliminate 16 of the parking turnouts and expand the four that remain using low-impact design techniques to accommodate public use. Boardwalks over the dunes would allow continued access to the beach. Dunes would be restored and revegetated and forested areas damaged by foot traffic would also be replanted.

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Tom Bridge, chairman of the Wisconsin Point Plan Implementation committee, said the goal is to maintain the available parking so people can continue to use the point, but the number of places where people will be able to access the beach will be reduced.

Overall, the project would restore 44,000 square feet of dunes, 95,000 square feet of pine barrens dunes habitat, 3,600 linear feet of shoreline and 40,000 square feet of shoreline wetland habitat, and it would reconnect 150 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat on the 228-acre peninsula.

The dune restoration project is part of the master plan for maintaining Wisconsin Point as a natural area.

"The idea isn’t to lessen the recreational activity but to contain it," said Linda Cadotte, Superior’s next parks, recreation and forestry administrator.

Wisconsin Point Plan Implementation committee member Keith Allen said the plan also calls for retaining the boat and canoe landing area.

Cadotte said the next step is to do the engineering for the proposed project and hold public information sessions before the project gets underway.

Councilor Tom Fennessey, who represents the district, said without the engineering, the city really doesn’t have enough information to share with the public. He said he wouldn’t support the project if it restricts public access to the point.

Public meetings will be scheduled after the engineering plan for the project is developed.

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The goal is complete the project in 2017.

Related Topics: SUPERIOR
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