Wetlands grass

Wetlands in Superior

When our founders, over 150 years ago, went in search for the perfect land to settle a transportation hub with rail, road, and water potential in the most central region of the United States, the western tip of Lake Superior was the perfect place to establish a community. Those of us who live, work, and play in Superior today still agree!

The flat lands and clay soils that made this location a perfect place for a port community are also two perfect elements for wetlands. When Superior was founded, wetlands were better known as "wastelands" and were filled, ditched, and drained in preparation for building. Superior is located in what is known as the Lake Superior Clay Plains . . . a region south of the lake, which is very flat, preventing water from running down hill, and made up of up to 300 feet of unconsolidated red clay, preventing water from quickly soaking into the soil.

Benefits of Wetlands

While settlers may not have been aware of it then, wetlands provide many important functions to our residents, business owners, visitors, and the wildlife we share our community with.
  • Wetlands are natural place to store stormwater
  • Wetlands filter sediment and pollutants from stormwater
  • Wetlands recharge our groundwater and streams with clean, fresh water

  • Wetlands provide wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities
  • Wetlands provide a cropland for wild rice and other resources
  • Wetlands provide an outdoor scientific laboratory to study wildlife, hydrology, and the cycle of life

Frog in wetlands

A Rare Land Type

Less than 5% of the US consists of wetlands. However, in Superior, more than 86% of the undeveloped areas within the City limits are wetlands. Long considered wastelands in need of draining and/or filling, wetlands are now recognized as highly specialized and functional components of our community and need to be protected and managed. Explore more about How Wetlands Benefit Your Community in this booklet prepared by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.

Environmental Regulatory Coordinator for the City of Superior:

Darienne McNamara
Ph: 715-395-7506
Cell: 715-817-6967