NRRI  >  North Shore Community Futures: Aquatic Resources and Growth Scenarios

Last Update Wed May 4 10:32:00 CDT 2011

North Shore Community Futures: Aquatic Resources and Growth Scenarios

Objective Progress / Results

Develop community growth (also known as `build-out`) scenarios for several locations along Lake Superior`s North Shore to demonstrate potential effects on natural resources based on existing zoning, a conservation design scenario, and a smart growth scenario. The three locations are; the Lester-Amity watershed, Lakewood Township, and the town of Two Harbors. We have determined the guiding principles and growth amounts for the Conservation Design and Smart Growth scenarios and have chosen example locations within each community to show what each scenario type would look like "on the ground". We have developed our list of indicators to use to compare the scenarios and determined the types of data and calculations needed for each indicator. The data will be generated either by Community Viz or by ArcGIS. The Lakewood Township comprehensive planning group continues to be interested in our project and keeps in touch. We gave a presentation on our approach and progress at the May 1 State of the Coast conference, with many local planning groups in attendance. This project is now complete and a full final report, along with our presentation, have been submitted. We have given a number of presentations on the results of this research.


A build-out scenario creates a map showing changes in land use patterns and development of infrastructure (chiefly roads) that would result from a particular land use plan or set of zoning regulations. Such scenarios are used to help communities visualize the results and potential impact of their land use decisions for some time period in the future. Thus, these scenarios represent possible "futures" for communities and can help them make decisions based on their priorities. These scenarios can also help communities estimate potential impacts of various zoning regulations or growth types to significant environmental and community resources. The goal of this project is to demonstrate how local units of government can better protect north shore aquatic resources by applying a land use planning tool that promotes natural resource protection while still allowing the full amount of community growth that would have been expected.

Previous Activity / Results

We have compiled the current zoning ordinances for the four townships, city of Duluth, and town of Two Harbors, and these have been coded into the Community Viz software. Creating the futures scenarios requires accurate projections of growth in each community for the next 50 years. We have refined population projections using census information from all project areas. Finally, we presented a summary of our project's goals and objectives to the NRRI Advisory Board, the Northeast Landscape Association, and at the Watershed Festival, highlighting how the information generated by this project can be used in future planning efforts by north shore communities.

Start Date 09/28/2006
End Date 12/31/2008

Principal Investigator

Valerie Brady PI