• 41°

Shoreline restoration project planned at Itasca State Park

A project to restore the shoreline at the Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca State Park will begin Oct. 5, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Trails.

The work will address erosion by restoring the original river channel width and stabilizing the streambank at the headwaters site.

“We will minimize closure time to accommodate park visitors,” said Aaron Wunrow, Itasca State Park manager. “Once work begins, access to the site will be restricted for a five-day period.”

Heavy foot traffic has carried soil and other material from the shoreline into the river. Additionally, the dam below the surface has become ineffective, resulting in water flow that is undercutting the shoreline and widening the mouth of the river.

The restoration project to correct the issues will not dramatically change the appearance of the headwaters, according to the DNR press release. Visitors will notice a narrowing of the channel, added vegetation on the streambank and the addition of boulders on the shoreline, including flat boulders that will provide safe access to the river.

The DNR divisions of Parks and Trails, Ecological and Water Resources and Fish and Wildlife are partnering to combine expertise and resources to undertake the work. The project cost is approximately $35,000, funded in part by the Parks and Trails Fund. The fund was created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.