Protection of coldwater fisheries is our core mission and this means protection of the water, watersheds and aquifers upon which trout, steelhead and salmon depend for survival.  Public policy decisions, especially those ultimately made at the Capitol can have huge consequences for the health and long term viability of Minnesota’s coldwater fisheries.  Ensuring clean, cold water is central to fisheries protection.  Educating decision makers and advocating for sound management of natural systems is thus a vital part of what Trout Unlimited members do.


As we enter Minnesota’s legislative session, we are closely following a number of priority issues. The recent legislative report, Preventing Fish Kills in Minnesota’s Driftless Region, as well as the workplan Addressing Nitrate in Southeast Minnesota both released by state agencies have presented an opportunity to work with partners to challenge and push for more ambitious action from all branches of government, including our state agencies.

In January 2024, MNTU staff identified the following issues based on MNTU member input, mission alignment, and opportunities to make significant impacts, as well as support partner-led campaigns.

  • Preventing Fish Kills is at the center of our advocacy work and is addressed in part by the issues included below.
  • Feedlot impacts and nitrate contamination must be curbed through effective manure management including timing of use, and storage practices.
  • Agricultural runoff to streams and aquifers, including pesticides, especially neonicotinoids, and fungicides, have dire impacts on the entire food chain including insects and trout.
  • Public Access to trout streams must be preserved and expanded.

You can support the protection of coldwater fisheries and prevent fish kills!

Send a letter to your Representative and/or Senator in support of the following bills addressing neonics, feedlot and manure management, and agricultural runoff:


This bill restricts the use of neonicotinoids in non-agricultural settings, eliminating their unnecessary use on home lawns and gardens.

HF 2472/SF1718

This bill closes a regulatory loophole that allows pesticide-treated seeds to escape all tracking and regulation.  It also ensures that these products can only be used where they would be beneficial.


This bill allocates money to the Board of Water and Soil Resources to distribute grants to smaller feedlot owners (less than 1000 animal units) in areas vulnerable to groundwater pollution, to limit agricultural use of vulnerable land, such as establishing karst feature buffers or conservation easements, and cost-share assistance for constructing manure management and storage facilities. Lack of storage capacity can lead to manure getting applied at the worst times.

HF4320/SF 4492

This bill requires a person who applies manure in a Level 2 or higher drinking water supply management area, must follow a manure management plan approved by the commissioner that includes the Department of Agriculture’s recommended best management practices that are published on the department website for that drinking water supply management area. Proper timing and amount of manure application is critical to prevent fish kills.


This bill puts a “personal responsibility” fee on nitrogen fertilizer to fund a private well drinking-water assistance program for the 9000 plus residents unable to drink their water due to nitrate contamination.


This hill appropriate funds from the general fund to the commissioner of agriculture for grants to organizations in Minnesota to develop enterprises, supply chains, and markets for continuous living cover crops and cropping systems in the early stages of commercial development.


This bill provides money to the Forever Green Initiative of the University of Minnesota which promotes the use of continuous living cover crops and other sustainable agriculture practices.


This bill requires reporting of any new or expanded private drainage activities to local soil and water conservation districts.

Letter Writing Tips

  • Find out who represents you at
  • If you need a head start, use this template to develop your letter
  • If you receive a response, follow up with a thank you!
  • Let us know how it goes at

Write an opinion piece and submit it to your local paper.

Contact us if you’re interested.  We can help you develop your story and get it submitted.



We will also support important partner-led issues including preventing sulfide mining impacts and ensuring proper management of Aquatic Management Areas that protects and sustains aquatic resources.

Sign up now to receive our regular action alerts so you can get involved in protecting coldwater fisheries!

Read more about some of the resource threats that Minnesota Trout Unlimited has worked on over the years:

Groundwater Protection

Steelhead Management

Beaver Management

Ballast Water