Linking Data, Public Outreach and Education: A Local and Regional Collaborative – Lakesuperiorstreams.Org
The City of Duluth, the University of Minnesota-Duluth (Natural Resources Research Institute and Minnesota Sea Grant) and other regional partners collaborated to develop Lakesuperiorstreams.org, a website that utilizes real time data (temperature, flow, precipitation, turbidity, specific conductivity) in an easy to understand animated graphical format to educate the public about (1) how streams function, and (2) the impacts of human activities on water quality, habitat, and aquatic organisms. In support of the data, the website provides a comprehensive library of information on stream parameters and information on local streams and surface water issues. It covers land use impacts on streams and positive approaches to protecting water quality. For example, a site design tool kit provides information and examples of approaches to building and maintaining homes and businesses while reducing stormwater impacts. The website also serves as a repository for regionally relevant school curricula for K-12 schools and colleges. The website has been the catalyst that has brought together regional agencies and communities, who have established the Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT), designed to develop one voice for surface water education and technical assistance for communities at the head of Lake Superior.