Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Those behind the multi–million dollar restoration of the Saint Louis River estuary acknowledge that, though they're ahead of schedule, the workload will only pose greater challenges in the years to come.
On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has lifted, one year ahead of schedule, the first of nine environmental impairments afflicting the Saint Louis River.
Officials say this milestone mainly dealt with sediment removal, habitat restoration, and overall aesthetics of the river.
But the next of nine impairments to check off the list deals with identifying the problem related to fish tumors and deformities found within the Saint Louis estuary.
MPCA Supervisor Nelson French says they're currently securing funding for the third year of fish sampling to identify the scope of the problem, if any.
"So we think that possibly, within a year, we will have the information that will tell us whether we've hit a home run on that one as well," said an optimistic French during Friday's announcement.
French adds that studying fish in the river has been happening for many years in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Future improvements to the corridor from now until 2025 are estimated at anywhere from $150 million to over $200 million.
MPCA officials say part of that funding will come from private investments.