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Track 2 Day 2: Michels


The Poplar River Story: Changing the Fate of One of Minnesota’s Outstanding Natural Resources

Thursday March 21, 2019
9:00 to 9:30 am


Jay Michels, Emmons & Olivier Resources Inc. (EOR)


For more than a decade local partners and state agencies have been battling a unique problem known as the “Mega Slump” — a 700 foot long, 100 foot tall red clay monster that was causing a dramatic reduction in water quality and loss of in stream habitat on the Poplar River, requiring the stream to be listed on the Minnesota Impaired Waters List in 2004 – a list you don’t want to be on!

The Poplar River is a rugged northeastern Minnesota trout stream, emptying to Lake Superior, that was being choked by tons of sediment sloughing from the banks of the “Mega Slump”. The effort focused on protecting and restoring the stream’s natural meander, directing it away from the slumping hillside.

The result is an impressive and dramatic 300-ton reduction of sediment load to the river every year that brings the river back in to acceptable standards, taking it off the Impaired Waters List.

Minnesota is a leader in protecting and restoring our receiving waters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but the number or waters that we have been able to delist are few. This presentation will tell the story of a community coming together to ultimately make a huge difference in the health and well-being of one of our outstanding natural resources.


Learning Objectives

1. Learn the concepts the USEPA Clean Water Act and the impacts of water quality impairments.

2. Understand the concepts of toe protection using bendway weirs.

3. Reflect on a very successful community involvement effort leading to the delisting of a designated trout stream.


Jay Michels

Jay Michels

Jay Michels, CPESC, is a Partner and Project Manager with Emmons & Olivier Resources in Oakdale, MN with over 30 years of experience in construction management, erosion control and stormwater management.

The emphasis of his work is in LID design and implementation, ordinance/by-law and stormwater policy and program development and outreach and education.

Jay is known for his work throughout the upper Midwest and Canada as an educator on LID, stormwater management and erosion and sediment control.