The St. Louis River – River Watch project is a youth-based water quality monitoring program for the St. Louis River and its tributaries in northeastern Minnesota. This project aimed at secondary school students promotes and inspires stewardship of the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior and other area streams. The St. Louis River is the largest United States tributary to Lake Superior. Its 3,634 square mile watershed is one of the largest in Minnesota. The river and its tributaries flow through diverse landscapes and land use areas, including remote forested areas, flat wetlands and farmlands, and both small communities and industrialized cities. Currently, students and teachers in 30 public, private, tribal, home, and alternative schools enthusiastically gather chemical, physical, and biological data twice per year at river sites located throughout northeastern Minnesota. In most participating schools, these activities are integrated into the secondary science curriculum. An estimated 900 youth per year strengthen scientific skills while working together to serve their communities and their watershed. Since 1997, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Minnesota has coordinated this monitoring effort.
- to provide environmental education opportunities to students and their teachers by offering a hands-on approach to learning about the natural and cultural history of the St. Louis River watershed
- to cultivate a life-long sense of stewardship toward the river and the river communities
- to collect and interpret baseline water quality data using sound scientific techniques
- to share water quality information with state and local communities in a variety of ways such as the media, brochures, and public presentations
- to encourage citizen participation in reaching the long-range management goals for the river
- to collaborate with agencies and groups on watershed-related studies
When these data are collected at many sites over the long term, they can serve as a valuable scientific monitoring and educational tool for students and their communities. As with all monitoring projects, River Watchers will continue their work so that long-term trends in the health of the watershed can be evaluated and protected.
This article was written by Program Coordaintor, Courtney Kowalczak, and photos are by Kristi LeMair. (Note: As of September 2007, funding for this program was lost, so a coordinator is no longer in place.)
To view programs that were highlighted on this site in the past, visit our highlighted program archives.
Tuesday, 27-Nov-2012 10:41:40 CST