This project was funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA’sOffice of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjunction with Minnesota’sLake Superior Coastal Program. The Lake Superior Zoo staff would also like toacknowledge the South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) staff.Although they were a paid partner for this project, the staff was very supportive andpatient during the various staff changes at the zoo and was generous with their assistance.
As Kingsbury Creek runs through Lake Superior Zoo and flows directly into the St. LouisRiver, zoo staff desires to reduce the impact on the creek and the watershed. The zooexhibits animals on both sides of the creek. This creates fecal runoff and erosion in someareas. The zoo also attracts large numbers of geese which create fecal matter thateventually ends up in the creek. It was determined that with grant funding, an audit of our current practices could assist the zoo in practicing best management in terms of erosion and fecal control.
A complete, four-season Stream Protection Audit was conducted by various SWCD staff.This audit includes photos of problem areas and suggestions for change in managementpractices such as: No-mow zones, rip-rap repair and equipment use. As part of theequipment suggestions, a power washer and trailer were purchased and a trainingguideline is included with the audit.
The audit is a first step in a larger process for the zoo to reduce its impact on KingsburyCreek. The audit is the evaluation component of this process and will provide guidancefor future decisions. Using the audit as a guidance tool, zoo staff can incorporate theaudit suggestions in the master planning process. The master plan will include optionsfor horticulture and animal exhibit development. As certain animals cause more soilerosion than others, and particular plants create better filtration than others, these optionswill be considered in future planning. The acquired power washer will be used to sprayfecal matter and eroded material into grassy, filtration areas rather than letting it flowdirectly into Kingsbury Creek. A new partnership has developed between the zoo andSWCD as SWCD attended a booth at our annual Earth Tracks event. They will continueto be invited to that field day which educates regional school students about reducingtheir impact on the Earth.For a variety of reasons, there were some set backs in equipment purchase decisions.Some equipment suggestions that were initially made did not turn out to be realistic intheir intended use. Spill pillows had been one of the suggestions. These would beinflated with water and placed along the creek paths to catch and redirect runoff to grassyareas. However, these pillows would have taken a large amount of water to fill, thenwould have to be dumped to move. This seemed like a wasteful option. In addition, itmay be possible to purchase a mulching mower in the future. However, at the presenttime there is a mowing contract for the zoo via the City of Duluth and no mowing