Whitewater River – Middle Branch/Crow Spring
Hiawatha TU President
Completed June 2010, pictures and summary coming soon!
Middle Branch of Whitewater (Olmsted); Mill Creek (Fillmore); Pickwick (Winona); and Trout Run Creek (Fillmore): Accelerate restoration of approximately 5 miles, or 300 acres, of in-stream habitat and stream banks throughout SE Minnesota in 2009 and 2010. Trout Unlimited has been the leader in the design and construction of productive trout stream habitat improvements for over 30 years. Using qualified and experienced TU members in design and construction, MNDNR personnel in permitting and assessment, volunteer TU labor, and private fundraising to pay contractors, TU restores approximately one half mile of stream per year in southeastern Minnesota. Supplemental funding will enable us to accelerate stream restoration to more than 2.5 miles per year. Our habitat restoration and improvement projects enhance stream quality, cure stream bank erosion and increase stream productivity including trout populations, increased wild trout reproduction and increased biomass. Removal of undesirable, non-native woody vegetation, a known factor in stream degradation, from the stream corridors is also included.
Accelerate and supplement stream restoration on existing Aquatic Management Areas (AMA):
Accelerate in-stream habitat improvement (“HI”) in Trout Run and Mill Creek of Fillmore County, Pickwick Creek of Winona County and the Middle Branch of the Whitewater River Watershed in Olmsted County. Traditional Trout Unlimited volunteers have completed approximately 0.5 miles of HI per year. HI work would be contracted and accelerated to 5 miles/year, utilizing qualified designers and contractors teamed with volunteer labor from the Minnesota Trout Association (1,500 volunteer hours). Traditionally the work has been designed and permitted in cooperation with the MNDNR and constructed over two (2) or three (3) weekends/year. The accelerated program would contract with experienced stream restoration designers and permitting experts to be accomplished over 70 days in the fall of 2009 and thirty days in 2010.
Fuel for Habitat will consist of stream bank restorations by removing undesirable woody vegetation from the riparian corridor on approximately 90 acres along approximately 6.25 miles of streams. Work will be completed in areas where fishing access easements already exist. The undesirable woody vegetation (invasive, non-native species) that is responsible for increased erosion, stream degradation and flood risks will be removed from the riparian corridor (66 feet) where public access is available. This will include removal of invasive vegetation and woody biomass for fuel conversion based on stream management and restoration plans.
The combined projects, between in-stream habitat restoration and tree removal, will result in the restoration of approximately 390 acres of in-stream habitat and stream banks throughout Southeast Minnesota and should employ up to 10 full time jobs. Stream habitat improvement is a proven technique to enhance stream quality, cure stream bank erosion and increase stream productivity including trout populations. This project would add an element of stream bank work of removing undesirable woody vegetation from the stream corridor, work to be completed during the winter (during October 15 – April 1) when in stream habitat work is prohibited. Trout Unlimited has been the leader in the design and construction of habitat improvement work in southeast Minnesota for over 30 years and has traditionally relied on the DNR for permitting and assessment, on volunteer labor and fundraising to pay contractors. In the past, TU completed an average of 0.05/year. This plan would fund 5 miles/year, employing qualified consultants for assessments and surveys, qualified contractors supervised by experience stream restoration consultants. The Fuel for Habitat removal of undesirable woody vegetation will make wood available to the wood burning energy plant in St. Paul. All work would be completed between July 1, 2009 and October 30, 2010.
Local governments will be made aware of the projects through permitting. Local SWCD’s will be involved in the erosion control and management plans. All the work will be completed on existing permanent Aquatic Management Area Easements.
This project supplements the continuing efforts of DNR Fisheries and the Trout Unlimited volunteer efforts. Organization and partners: Hiawatha Chapter Trout Unlimited/Minnesota State Council Trout Unlimited/ Minnesota Trout Association.