Calls needed Wednesday morning, April 24, to keep trout fisheries protections in Senate Game & Fish bill

Calls needed Wednesday morning, April 24, to keep trout fisheries protections in Senate Game & Fish bill

The Senate Game & Fish bill contains three key protections for trout fisheries in southeast MN.  The bill has unexpectedly been schedule to be heard at 12:00 Wednesday by the Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Division of the Senate Finance Committee.  Support by a majority of committee members now appears tenuous.  Calls are urgently needed this morning.  Your message can be simple:

“I fish for trout in southeast Minnesota, which contains some of the best trout fishing in the country.  The Game and Fish bill, S 796, contains a few simple provisions which will protect these trout fisheries by steering silica sand mining away from sensitive areas.  Please support these provisions and oppose attempts to remove them from the bill.”

Please call or e mail members of the committee before noon today.

Members of the Senate Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Division:

More background:

Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing has listened to anglers’ pleas for action and worked with geologists and hydrologists to craft three commonsense restrictions needed to preserve trout fisheries.  To ensure the continued existence of these coldwater fisheries, vital groundwater can be protected by steering future sand mining away from harmful locations and methods.  Senate File No. 796 accomplishes this through these restrictions:

1.  Silica sand mines may not be located within one mile of any spring, trout stream, or perennial tributary of a trout stream (so that subsurface flows to springs and trout streams are not disrupted);

2.  Mining of silica sand may not be conducted within 25 feet of the water table (to prevent removal of groundwater through construction dewatering); and

3.  No more than 1 million gallons per year of groundwater may be pumped from any single site for washing, sorting or processing industrial silica sand (thereby directing new businesses to readily available alternatives).

These restrictions would apply only to the unique corner of southeast Minnesota known as the Driftless area or Paleozoic Plateau, and not to areas where existing sand mines are located, such as the Minnesota River Valley.  Since coldwater fisheries cannot exist without cold groundwater, these restrictions are essential fisheries protections.

Of course it never hurts to point out that protecting southeast MN trout fisheries will also preserve thousands of existing jobs.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to help preserve our trout fisheries.