Minnesota's Legacy

Minnesota Trout Unlimited Coldwater Fish Habitat Enhancement and Restoration, Phase 10

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Outdoor Heritage Fund
MN Trout Unlimited
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
July 2018
Activity Type
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Legal Citation / Subdivision
ML 2018, Ch. 208, Art. 1, Sec. 2, subd 5(h)
Appropriation Language

$2,291,000 the second year is to the commissioner
of natural resources for an agreement with
Minnesota Trout Unlimited to acquire permanent
conservation stream easements using the payment
method prescribed in Minnesota Statutes, section
84.0272, subdivision 2, and to restore and enhance
habitat for trout and other species in and along
coldwater rivers, lakes, and streams in Minnesota.
Up to $20,000 is for establishing a monitoring and
enforcement fund as approved in the accomplishment
plan and subject to Minnesota Statutes, section
97A.056, subdivision 17. A list of proposed land
acquisitions and restorations and enhancements
must be provided as part of the required
accomplishment plan.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Improved aquatic habitat indicators - Measured through surveys of fish, macro invertebrates and/or exposed substrates. Abundance, size structure and species diversity are considered..Improved aquatic habitat indicators - Measured through surveys of fish, macro invertebrates and/or exposed substrates. Abundance, size structure and species diversity are considered..Rivers, streams, and surrounding vegetation provide corridors of habitat - Enhancement of in-stream and riparian corridor habitat creates miles of connected habitat. Outcomes in aquatic life are measured through surveys of fish, macro invertebrates and/or exposed substrates. Abundance, size structure and species diversity are considered. .

Source of Additional Funds


Project Overview

Minnesota Trout Unlimited will enhance and restore habitat for fish and wildlife in and along priority coldwater streams located on existing Aquatic Management Areas and public lands around the state. Accelerating habitat work to reduce the backlog of degraded streams is urgent given the increasing threats to these scarce coldwater fisheries. Population outcomes will be maximized by improving the connectivity of habitat and fish and wildlife populations, and building upon earlier work on adjacent stream segments. Trout stream easements will be acquired in one priority watershed to facilitate this approach. These durable habitat improvements will create more productive, self-sustaining fisheries.

About the Issue

Just six percent of Minnesota’s streams are capable of supporting any trout, and degraded habitat conditions severely limit the productivity of many of them. The riparian corridors of many streams are largely protected from future harm, but this cannot reverse past habitat degradation. Minnesota Trout Unlimited (“MNTU”) proposes to directly restore or enhance degraded habitat on nine or more priority streams with existing protections under the Aquatic Management Area system or public ownership. We propose to restore or enhance habitat in and along these public waters (and counties):1. South Branch of Whitewater River (Winona);2. Wisel Creek (Fillmore);3. Winnebago Creek (Houston);4. Vermillion River (Dakota);5. Keene Creek (St. Louis);6. Stewart River (Lake);7. Silver Creek (Lake);8. Stoney Brook (Cass);9. Numerous streams statewide (prioritized maintenance list).If substantial contracting efficiencies or leveraged funding allows we may extend project lengths and work on Beaver Creek (Houston), Pine Creek (New Hartford Creek) (Winona), Miller Creek (St. Louis) or other streams.We will protect via trout stream easements segments of the Stewart River which are the highest priority for habitat restoration or enhancement, to ensure access to strategically restore or enhance all priority segments within this watershed. The MNDNR will acquire and hold the easements.Individual project descriptions are provided in an attachment.Goals and scope of work.The goals of each project are to increase the carrying capacity and trout population of the stream, increase angling access and participation, improve water quality and provide other benefits to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. Each project will accomplish one or more of these objectives: (a) increase adult trout abundance, (b) reduce stream bank erosion and associated sedimentation downstream, (c) reconnect streams to their floodplains to reduce negative impacts from severe flooding, (d) increase natural reproduction of trout and other aquatic organisms, (e) increase habitat for invertebrates and non-game species, (f) improve connectivity of habitat along aquatic and riparian (terrestrial) corridors, (g) improve angler access and participation, and (h) protect productive trout waters from invasive species. The scope of work and methods utilized vary by project and are discussed in the individual project descriptions provided in the attachment. How priorities were set.MNTU focuses on those watersheds likely to continue to support viable, fishable populations of naturally reproducing trout and steelhead fifty years and more from now. Work is done only where degraded habitat is a limiting factor for a quality, sustainable fishery. Priority locations are determined using MNTU members’ knowledge of watersheds, MNDNR management plans and surveys, other habitat and conservation planning efforts, consultations with MNDNR professionals, and science based criteria. All things being equal, we consider the potential to draw new anglers outdoors, increase public awareness, engage landowners in conservation, foster partnerships, and increase public support for OHF projects.Stakeholder support.We continue to receive strong support from landowners, rural communities, and local civic and sporting organizations. We will continue gathering local input and developing partnerships in the planning and implementation stages. Landowners typically become very enthusiastic partners.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Trout Unlimited
Street Address
P O Box 845
Zip Code
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