Minnesota Trout Unlimited Coldwater Fish Habitat Enhancement and Restoration, Phase 9
$2,403,000 in the first year is to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Minnesota Trout Unlimited to restore or enhance habitat for trout and other species in and along cold water rivers, lakes, and streams in Minnesota. A list of proposed restorations and enhancements must be provided as part of the required accomplishment plan.
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. .
SWCD, NRCS, USFWS, TU
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. Durable habitat improvements will be completed on nine or more streams, creating more productive, self-sustaining fisheries.
Just six percent of Minnesota's streams are capable of supporting any trout, and degraded habitat conditions severely limit the productivity of many, or even most, of them. The riparian corridors of many streams are largely protected from future harm, but this protection 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 the following public waters (in these counties):1. Sucker Brook (Clearwater)2. Keene Creek (St. Louis)3. Stewart River (Lake)4. Fiddle Creek (Cook)5. Timber Creek (Cook)6. West Indian Creek (Wabasha)7. Wisel Creek (Fillmore)8. Rush Creek (Winona)9. Long Creek (Wabasha)10. Numerous streams statewide (prioritized maintenance list)We will also design and permit the project proposed for the South Branch of Whitewater River (Winona). If we realize significant contracting efficiencies and/or leverage substantial other funding we may also design and permit the project proposed for Miller Creek (St. Louis) and construct this or other additional projects.Individual project descriptions are provided in a revised 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' extensive knowledge of the 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 for these projects 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, working alongside TU.