State of the Beach/State Reports/MN/Beach Description

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Minnesota Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access66
Water Quality66
Beach Erosion3-
Erosion Response-4
Beach Fill4-
Shoreline Structures3 4
Beach Ecology1-
Surfing Areas35
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}


Lake Superior’s North Shore, located in northeastern Minnesota, extends from the St. Louis River on the south to the Pigeon River on the United States/Canadian border. From south to north, St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties have Lake Superior shoreline. The North Shore’s spectacular scenery is renowned for vertical cliffs, lower rock outcroppings, and rocky beaches. Twenty-two Minnesota streams flow into Lake Superior creating beautiful waterfalls, part of the area’s spectacular scenery. The area has retained a pristine quality with large expanses of wilderness because the population and industrial bases have remained small. Technological advances, such as the ability to telecommute, changes in consumer behavior, and increases in tourism present challenges to the protection of Lake Superior and its coastal ecosystems. Major issues identified include: water quality, sewage treatment, shoreline and ridgeline development pressures, shoreline erosion, recreation, tourism, stream corridors, and unique management areas.

Contact Info for the Lead Coastal Zone Management Agency

Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
1568 Highway 2
Two Harbors, MN 55616
(218) 834-6620

Coastal Zone Management Program

Led by the Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program was approved in 1999. The Department of Natural Resources works in partnership with other state and local resource agencies including the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and others to implement the Coastal Program and ensure federal and state projects are consistent with state coastal policies. Key legislation includes the Shoreland Management Act and the North Shore Management Plan. Minnesota's coastal zone boundary includes the area approximately six miles inland from Lake Superior following the nearest township boundaries along the shore.

The Coastal Program administers a competitive local community grants program to help implement the coastal program. Local issues addressed include: coastal outreach and education; land use planning and development; public access and recreation; enhancement, protection, and management of natural and cultural coastal resources; and support for coastal economic activities and analyses. The Governor's Council on Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, or Coastal Council, comprised of citizens from the four coastal counties, advises the Coastal Program in setting funding priorities and recommending local projects for funding.

Minnesota’s Coastal Program was approved in July 1999, and is administered through Minnesota DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, in Two Harbors, MN. The Program encourages greater cooperation, simplifies governmental processes, and provides tools to implement existing policies, authorities and programs within the Coastal Boundary. The Program Manager is Amber Westerbur.

The Coastal Boundary includes 31 local units of government. The boundary covers 189 miles of shoreline, including the Lake Superior coast and the lower St. Louis River and its estuary.

NOAA's latest evaluation of Minnesota's Coastal Management Program can be found here.

State of the Beach Report: Minnesota
Minnesota Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
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