It's been almost a year since Duluth’s flood, and there are still many repairs that are left to be made throughout the city. Although there have been some improvements, many roads, buildings and homes have been left untouched due to complications and Duluth’s long winter months.
“We’re finishing the first major round of the long-term rebuilding,” said Drew Digby, Carlton County’s special projects and long-term recovery manager.
Digby said he has dealt mostly with the individuals and families who were directly affected by this summer's flood.
“We estimated that in February, about 65 percent of people would have either finished their repairs or have come up with a plan for repairs and found financing for it,” Digby said.
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is a state agency that works primarily with private landowners.
“We have just issued another $3.2 million to the city of Duluth and the South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District,” said Jen Maleitzke, communications director for BWSR.
The funding will go towards a number of recovery projects, which are scheduled to start this spring. Some of these projects include replacing or repairing culverts around Prairie Lake, Artichoke River, Morgan Park, Tischer Creek, Coffee Creek, Miller Creek and Amity Creek.
There will also be projects to help stabilize slopes, gullies and the shoreline around Lake Superior as well as to stabilize severe bank erosion around Chester Creek and the Chester Park hiking trails.
Duluth parks also took a big hit during the flood and were placed behind homes and roads when it came time to repairs. Trails, streams and bridges were damaged or destroyed at some of the city’s major parks, and some of the damaged streams included trout streams, which makes recovery efforts more complicated.
“There was significant damage that requires us to coordinate restoration with the DNR," said Kathy Bergen, director of Duluth's Parks and Recreation department. "We have to get different kinds of approval to do work."
Bergen said the damaged trails that were easy enough for staff or volunteers to restore using hand tools were taken care of last summer.
“The damage that is significant, that is going to require a contractor to come in with large equipment, that’s what we’re working on for this summer,” Bergen said.
The job at hand for the Duluth Parks and Recreation department is to address an issue that received great concern following the flood. Some streams in the parks have moved to a completely different location, and the department is deciding how to respond to this issue.
“We have to work with engineers that have special knowledge about streams and how they flow and how the fish interact and the temperature of the water,” Bergen said.
Volunteers from neighborhoods throughout Duluth have been able to come together and help fix some of the damage that was done. For example, on Sunday, April 21, the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Minnesota Duluth will hold the second annual CHAMP Day of Service.
This event is an opportunity for UMD staff, faculty, students and alumni to come together and participate in volunteer projects throughout the city.
“We are really lucky to have a big group of students who are going to do a whole day of working on the kinds of projects that anyone can do,” Digby said.