Cold Water River and Stream Restoration, Protection, and Enhancement
$2,050,000 in fiscal year 2010 is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Trout Unlimited or successor to restore, enhance, and protect cold water river and stream habitats in Minnesota. A list of proposed acquisitions and a list of proposed projects, describing the types and locations of restorations and enhancements, must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan. The commissioner of natural resources must agree to each proposed acquisition, restoration, and enhancement.
Total acres restored or enhanced: 277
Trout Unlimited, Nat. Fish Habitat Action Plan, Legislative Citizen Commission on MN Resources, MN DNR
This program will restore and enhance in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in 11 watersheds across the state of Minnesota. The proposed projects will improve habitat for both game and non-game fish and wildlife species uniquely associated with cold water trout streams and provide expanded recreational opportunities for Minnesota anglers.
As part of our ongoing program of trout and salmon habitat restoration and enhancement, the Minnesota Council of Trout Unlimited ("MNTU") has identified the priority conservation projects listed below. MNTU proposes to restore or enhance in-stream and riparian fish and wildlife habitat in and along the following Minnesota waters (counties) between July 2009 and June 201, with most projects completed by October 2010:
1. Hay Creek (Goodhue);
2. Kabekona Creek (Hubbard);
3. Lawndale Creek (Wilkin);
4. Little Rock Creek (Benton);
5. Middle Branch of Whitewater River (Olmsted);
6. Mill Creek (Fillmore);
7. Pickwick Creek (Winona);
8. Trout Run Creek (Fillmore);
9. Straight River (Becker & Hubbard);
10. Sucker River (St. Louis);
11. Vermillion River (Dakota).
Degraded cold water habitat is an important statewide conservation issue that requires immediate investment through habitat restoration and enhancement projects. The distinct natural resource characteristics of each ecologically distinct region of Minnesota, together with the variation in the type and magnitude of poor land uses practices in different watersheds, require that fish habitat restoration methods vary around the state. MNTU understands this and tailors our projects accordingly. In the Lake Superior basin, this may mean restoring in-stream cover which was removed decades ago to facilitate log drives. In Southwest Minnesota this may mean restoring overhead bank cover, while drastically sloping soil back to remove thick sediment deposited from the uplands and restore streams' access to their floodplains.
The projects to be undertaken by MNTU as part of this program will be designed to accomplish a number of the following purposes: a) reduce stream bank erosion and associated sedimentation, b) reconnect streams to their floodplains to reduce negative impacts from severe flooding, c) increase natural reproduction of trout and other aquatic organisms, d) maintain or increase adult trout abundance, e) increase biodiversity for both in-stream and non-game species, f) be long lasting with minimal maintenance required, and g) improve angler access.
The results of the projects will be evaluated not only in measures of habitat restored and/or enhanced, but also through trout population assessments.