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Coastal Communities & Land Use

Lake Superior’s coastal communities depend on healthy ecosystems for their economic survival. Population growth, increasing tourism, and coastal development can threaten the main economic engines of the region — natural resources. Balancing varied, if not competing, community goals and coastal resource quality requires an understanding of ecological systems and a commitment to sustainability by residents and those working in government and business.

The tight link between land use and water quality makes it important to use sound development practices and explore new and innovative land management options that minimize runoff and stormwater pollution to protect Lake Superior and the watershed that surrounds it.

Seven cities ranging in size from less than 200 people (Beaver Bay) to 87,000 (Duluth), dot the Minnesota coastline of Lake Superior. Historically, these cities and other North Shore communities have been hubs for:

  • Native American settlements
  • Mining
  • Timber
  • Commercial fishing and
  • Transportation industries

Minnesota Sea Grant helps coastal communities wrestle with economic, social, and environmental issues by:

  • Developing tools to help communities better understand and manage impacts of existing and potential future development on water and environmental quality.
  • Developing and evaluating approaches for balancing a sustainable economy with a healthy environment and communicating results to the public.
  • Encouraging adoption of an integrated resource management approach to natural resources.


This page last modified on December 04, 2008     © 1996 – 2017 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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