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Cash Flows Towards Coast

More federal cash is flowing Lake Superior’s way. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently endorsed a management program for Lake Superior’s shoreline in Minnesota. The new program, founded on existing policies (no new regulations) and generated by itizens and state agencies, promotes environmentally-sound growth and historic preservation along Minnesota’s 189 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. The program makes federal money available for projects like wastewater treatment, erosion control, and wildlife management within townships adjacent to Lake Superior and the metropolitan area around Duluth.

By adopting the coastal program, Minnesota joins 32 other states and U.S. territories that receive federal funds through the reauthorized Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The law encourages states to work with NOAA to identify, solve and prevent problems in the nation’s coastal areas. Because of its federal connection, Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program gives local and state governments the ability to require that federal projects affecting Minnesota’s coastal areas are consistent with Minnesota’s coastal program goals.

Two Harbors Lighthouse.

The Two Harbors Lighthouse (now a bed and breakfast in Two Harbors, MN) was recently the site of a ceremony celebrating participation by the state in Lake Superior’s Coastal Program. Photo by Dorothy Pramann.

Historic distrust of federal and state legislation in northern Minnesota made embracing the program especially difficult for some.

“That such a divisive issue has been tackled and resolved is remarkable,” said Cindy Hagley, Minnesota Sea Grant’s Environmental Quality Specialist, after the christening ceremony at the Two Harbors Lighthouse in September. Throughout the program’s three-year development Hagley facilitated discussions among concerned citizens, local governments, and state and federal agencies. People with diverse opinions worked to set physical boundaries for the program, define how the program would be implemented, and how the money would be distributed.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office in Two Harbors will administer the federal funds, which equal an estimated $480,000 annually. Tricia Ryan, Program Coordinator of Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program said, “Lake Superior’s Coastal Program will be primarily a grant program, with pass-through grants to local units of government and regional agencies. They can apply for a variety of projects that deal with shoreline protection, enhancements, recreational uses, rehabilitating historical structures, fixing waterfronts, planning, engineering designs, and education and interpretation of coastal resources.”

A state-appointed Coastal Council comprised of residents from each of the four coastal counties in Minnesota will review proposals and award the funds. Ryan anticipates that the first projects could be selected by April of 2000. For more information, call Tricia Ryan at 218.834.6625.

By Sea Grant Staff
November 1999

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