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Examining How Land Use Influences Aquatic Conditions in the St. Louis River Estuary Joint project with Wisconsin Sea Grant

Project Summary

This bi-state research will result in detailed analyses of habitats in the St. Louis River Estuary. The analyses, particularly those of reference and compromised habitats, will guide future monitoring, restoration, and land use. Researchers will quantify land-based characteristics that affect aquatic conditions—impervious surfaces, road density, and point-source pollutants. They will then evaluate how these characteristics combine to influence water quality, aquatic plant communities, and aquatic invertebrate communities at mouths of estuary tributaries. The St. Louis River Estuary is a complex mosaic of high quality plant, animal, and aquatic habitat intermingled with areas of heavy industrial use, contaminated sediments, and urban effluents. It is an EPA Area of Concern and a candidate for a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The project will develop innovative methods to educate teachers, local governments, environmental managers, and the public—including real and virtual tours, augmented reality games, and GPS-based 'treasure' hunts.

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