DNR Stream Habitat - Phase II
$2,166,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources to restore and enhance habitat in degraded streams, critical aquatic species habitat, and to facilitate fish passage. A list of proposed land restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
Improved aquatic habitat indicators - For fish passage projects we will use routine fish surveys to gauge changes to the fish community, and compare with pre-project data. .Rivers and streams provide corridors of habitat including intact areas of forest cover in the east and large wetland/upland complexes in the west - For fish passage projects we will use routine fish surveys to gauge changes to the fish community, and compare with pre-project data. .Rivers, streams, and surrounding vegetation provide corridors of habitat - For stream habitat enhancement projects we will use routine fish surveys to gauge changes to the fish community, and compare with pre-project data. .Protected, restored, and enhanced habitat for migratory and unique Minnesota species - For fish passage projects we will use routine fish surveys to gauge changes to the fish community, and compare with pre-project data. Specialized sampling to evaluate Topeka Shiner population response to the Blue Mounds project will be done, tracking colonization from downstream areas..
FEMA, US Fish and Wildlife
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restore or enhance habitat to facilitate fish passage, restore degraded streams, and enhance habitat critical to fish and other aquatic life. Projects are prioritized based on ecological benefit, urgency, feasibility, and stakeholder support.
Streams in Minnesota support a wealth of biodiversity, including 162 fish species and 48 mussel species of which 23 are listed as special concern, threatened or endangered. In some parts of the state that lack natural lakes, such as southeast Minnesota and the Red River Valley, streams represent the only local opportunity for fishing. Trout, smallmouth bass, lake sturgeon, and walleye are among the species stream anglers pursue.Streams can be degraded by habitat alterations such as dams, channelization (straightening), and streambank erosion. Barriers such as dams block fish from migrating to key habitats such as spawning areas, and can lead to reduced abundance or even the loss of fish and mussel species. Past fish passage projects have returned up to 10 species, including walleye, sauger, and channel catfish, to miles of river where they had disappeared. All proposed fish passage projects have no known potential to enable access by invasive species.Past channelization of streams simplified habitat and eliminated the shallow riffles and deeper pools required by different life stages of fish. Streambank erosion results in a loss of important undercut bank and overhanging vegetation, and contributes excess sediment that degrades habitat. Channel restoration and enhancement projects can address these impacts by recreating appropriate habitat, and stabilizing eroding banks. This benefits not only the project area, but reaches that lie downstream that are no longer affected by eroded sediment.Our original proposal included 12 projects in four LSOHC planning regions (refer to Figure 1). Although the footprint of projects is 54 acres which includes 2.6 miles of stream, the projects would benefit over 10,900 acres of lakes and streams through restoration or enhancement of fish passage (refer to Table 1). Projects were selected from a prioritized list using criteria such as ecological benefit, feasibility, urgency, and stakeholder support. Two of the projects on our parcel list (Whetstone River and Fish Lake Dam) would involve partners, who will contribute in-kind staff time as well as financial resources toward the projects' completion. Allocated funds will only allow completion of our highest priority project, restoration of Mounds Creek, along with three smaller fish passage projects at Fish Creek, Crane Lake, and Lake Carlos. If additional matching funds are found, available OHF money will be shifted to fund other projects on our priority list.Department resources for stream habitat work falls far short of the need; funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) has been critical to an acceleration of stream habitat work by the department and partners such as Trout Unlimited, as well as smaller groups such as lake associations who seek funding through the Conservation Partners Legacy program. We propose to continue funding for two stream habitat specialist positions to enable this increased effort. They provide technical assistance and oversight on Legacy-funded projects by MNDNR and partners, improving efficiency of coordination by providing single points of contact, and enhancing outcomes of stream projects through technical guidance.