In November of 2018, the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve staff worked with the Parks, Recreation & Forestry Director, to submit a grant application to design the improvements for the two rustic launches in the St Louis River Estuary.
The first site, Woodstock Bay launch, is 14 acres purchased with support from the Wisconsin Coastal Management program in 2017. The property offers excellent access and views of the river, as well as potential connectivity to the paved city trail system. The second, Pokegama Bay launch, is the only water access site in the 4400-acre Superior Municipal Forest. It is a component of the NOAA-led Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, and a key location for Reserve-led research and educational activities. The area offers protected paddling and diverse wetlands, and provides a unique wilderness experience in an urban setting. Both locations are the sole Wisconsin launch sites on the proposed National Water Trail and both are currently unimproved, subject to heavy erosion and illegal dumping. This grant funds a phase-one combined design project for both sites.
This project will produce a low-impact design for both the Woodstock and Pokegama Bay launches. The design will be developed with public input from both the community at large and user groups, including paddlers, anglers, hunters and researchers. The final design empowers the City of Superior to pursue funding for construction and completion of the launches. The ultimate outcome of this project is increased access to the St. Louis River Estuary and the transformation of degraded coastal sites into valuable community assets.
Grant funds will enable the completion of a site improvement design and engineering process for two important water access points along the St. Louis River. Site improvements at both launches are needed to stabilize the shoreline and ensure that the sites contain adequate facilities to accommodate users. Respecting the fact that these locations are and will continue to be “rustic” launch sites, design improvements to both sites will allow for groups of users to more easily approach and gather by the waterfront while maintaining the unique natural qualities of these sites. Grant monies would support the entirety of the design phase for improvements to both launch sites, including:
(1) RFP development by the City of Superior that emphasizes incorporation of low-impact design principles for erosion management, natural plantings, use-appropriate amenities, and improved ability to access these sites on foot, on the water, and via motorized vehicle or bus;
(2) a contractual arrangement with a design firm to develop complete improvement plans for both sites,
(3) incorporation of public input into the design during a draft stage, and
(4) final, bid-ready designs completed by June of 2019.