The St. Croix River is protected under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. People who live and work throughout the region want the river to be protected, historic properties to be preserved, and still have a safe, efficient way to cross the river. There is a way to both protect the river and improve access to it and transportation across it.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act divides the St. Croix River into two zones. The section of the river north of Stillwater is mostly undeveloped and has firm protections and heavily curtailed development. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act recognizes that the section of the river south of Stillwater has always been used more for recreational, commercial and industrial purposes, and is subject to fewer restrictions under the act.
The bridge would be located south of Stillwater in the less wild stretch of the river near a marina, prison, wastewater treatment plant, and power plant.
A National Park Service review of the St. Croix River Crossing determined that the project will improve river water quality, reducing nutrient loading by a projected 20%. This is the top goal of the St. Croix River Basin Team.
The location of the St. Croix River Crossing was selected because it has fewer environmental impacts than other options, including those advocated by the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations. In addition, the preferred route impacts fewer parks and wetlands and preserves the aesthetic beauty of the bluffs more than the other designs reviewed.