Lake Superior College is situated along north bank of Miller Creek, one of Duluth’s 16 designated city trout streams. With any built system comes impervious surface. From buildings to parking lots and grounds, our landscape planning incorporates innovative and natural structures aimed at reducing the amount of stormwater that reaches the stream directly.
Managing Stormwater, Naturally
LSC’s landscape incorporates multiple rain gardens aimed at catching and filtering large amounts of water from spring melt and heavy rains. This water often contains large amounts of sediment or pollutants. Rain gardens are designed to be maintenance free after a couple of years when plant roots establish.
The main campus has installed three major rain garden systems. In 2006, the first rain garden near the west parking lot was a cooperative effort between the college and the South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District. In 2007, the second garden was constructed with the Student Services Building addition. The primary purpose of this garden is to capture hillside runoff from the north side of the building through an under-building tunnel. The largest and most recent bio-swale system was completed in 2011 with the Health and Science Building. Learn more about LSC’s rain gardens.
In addition to rain gardens, LSC has converted almost 10,000 square feet of typical turf grass to native vegetation or no-mow areas. These areas were designed and installed with expert assistance from Boreal Natives. They provide aesthetic interest, pollinator habitat, and also serve to manage stormwater in place. Find more information about the benefits of native grass and prairie species from the Minnesota DNR. Fourteen seasonal interpretive signs dot the campus and provide additional information on many of these stormwater features.
Keeping these structures free of trash and debris is also a major component of keeping them functional. By encouraging on-campus groups to adopt parking lots on campus, the sense of pride and ownership of the campus is shared by everyone.
Lake Superior College operates as an Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) under our own Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Find more information on MS4s and SWPPPs on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s MS4 website. View LSC’s most current SWPPP.