Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

General trout, fishing, conservation, or anything outdoors related discussion. Trip reports and stream conditions welcome, but please do not name streams.
POLITICAL FREE ZONE
brntrout
Posts: 3069
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by brntrout »

There is a proven problem with the current habitat designs being used by MNTU/Eco Services on SE streams. What do "you" feel should be done to resolve the situation so every body is happy in the end, that includes making the trout happy as well?

At some point the fighting needs cease and the problem needs to be resolved! ;)
Last edited by brntrout on Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RockGuy
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:43 pm

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by RockGuy »

I am a little confused. What is eco-services thought process when it comes to this Rogan type HI work. Do they feel that it is cheaper and more effective than the more traditional rock and weir type of HI work. I fished East Indian Creek last year and found this type of HI work not enjoyable to fish and also felt the trout habitat was much better in the upstream unimproved section of the creek then through the trees stuck into the side of the creek habitat design. Is there data somewhere in the country that claims this design is better? Thanks for the clarification

brntrout
Posts: 3069
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by brntrout »

I was hoping this post would be constructive for coming up with ideas to resolve the problems which are evident with the current habitat designs Eco Services force on MNTU, and everyone else including DNR Fisheries. I think the answer to all your questions has already been hammered home countless times on this board. So instead of me repeating the same information again. Please, read all the posts, you will find all the answers to your questions!

Having said that, I hope people are willing to post ideas which may lead to resolving this conflict. There must be some resolution that satisfies all, I hope?

High Stick
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:19 am
Location: Driftless and The West

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by High Stick »

There needs to be a moratorium on stream trout projects until there is an agreement on a resolution. I have never felt that there was any good scientific basis to switch to a Rosgen heavy restoration philosophy. Show me and prove to me that it works for the trout and is superior way to do bank stabilization versus rock, skyhooks, LUNKERS, etc. The problem is that MNTU and Ecological Services has no data to show what I'm asking.

I don't understand how one can justify using a Rosgen heavy stream restoration philosophy in southeast MN. These are soft, shifting soils of a limestone nature, not high elevation, hard bottomed streams of Colorado in which they were designed.

Doing stream work takes time and money. I think we need to slow down a bit with all the projects. I'd rather see fewer projects completed at this point done to a high degree of success and completion versus doing a bunch of projects that aren't worth a damn in the end.

There has to be a re-embracing of the benefits of rock fortification along the banks, and there has to be a commitment and agreement by all parties that this is the way to go if we are going to create sustainable trout habitat.

S.T.Fanatic
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by S.T.Fanatic »

Thoughts om mine that come to mind would be:

How long does it take for the roots of the planted grasses to get deep enough to hold the soil in this design type. I think we know a fall seeding doesn't allow for adequate time (in the North country) to gets roots established.

Could this design type be improved? thoughts of mine are if this design type was to line the bank with rip rap would it protect the banks for a long enough time to get the roots of the grasses established?

Another issue of mine is would the money be more valuable if spent in other areas of the watershed? It cant cost all that much to maintain the diversion dykes in the upland or add new ones to slow the water down during spring run off before it ever reaches the stream.

Could farm land be economically leased and put into grass buffer strips in the uplands on rolling terrain?

What would be wrong with doing nothing?

Use the funding to buy easements instead of for doing H.I. work?

There are many alternative practices that could be done if one is willing to think outside the box.

Streams dont cause the flooding, it is where it takes place.

Address where the snow melt and rain is coming from not where it ends up.
“What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and by cautious experimentation to prove how it works. What more substantial service to conservation than to practice it on one's own land?” Aldo Leopold

brntrout
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by brntrout »

Here is the history of the Driftless area put together by DavId Vetrano one of most recognized Trout Fisheries Biologists in the country. I called and talked with Dave today. Dave feels the condition of our (MN & WI) watersheds is a lot of the problem, "but feels farmers are only willing to make so many changes before it impacts the $ in their pocket book". He feels watershed improvements by them self is helpful, but usually is not significant enough to make a real difference in improving degraded trout stream habitat!

He went on to explain, earlier in his career he was opposed to over using rock but as time went by the dramatic increase in row crop planting and tiling made flooding worse and projects he did earlier in his career were eroding away only in places he did not use rock. He then went on to say our watersheds are NOT naturally functioning systems any longer and all of our watersheds are in a totally artificial state, and if rock is not used heavily on habitat projects one can expect bank erosion to occur in the areas rock is not used.

Since most people are aware we have been out taking photos of trout stream damage, I should mention we looked at many projects past, and present, good or bad, and projects with and without rock rip rap. What we found was areas that had properly sloped banks with rock rip rap were in good shape, and areas that were just sloped and seeded had bank erosion problems, some were severe erosion problems.

I feel many of your suggestions have merit but can they really be implemented, that is the big question? Please, check out the slide show it applies to our area as well!

https://www.iaenvironment.org/webres/Fi ... 5-2017.pdf

Cutthroat
Posts: 243
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by Cutthroat »

I'd like to see a significant increase in the amount of acreage--preferably marginal agricultural lands, stream corridors, and wooded bluff lands--acquired by the state and added to the Richard Dorer Hardwood State Forest. I live along a trout stream in NE Minnesota, but had to keep my house at least 200 feet from the stream when I built it (actually expanded a small cabin) back in 1995. Loggers have voluntary set-backs from such streams, while in agricultural areas, farmers have had no legal restrictions until the 50-foot buffer rule was established. Trout streams (as well as all lakes and streams) are public waterways, yet who gets to do what with their adjacent lands is not the same.

brntrout
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by brntrout »

Cutthroat wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:01 pm
I'd like to see a significant increase in the amount of acreage--preferably marginal agricultural lands, stream corridors, and wooded bluff lands--acquired by the state and added to the Richard Dorer Hardwood State Forest. I live along a trout stream in NE Minnesota, but had to keep my house at least 200 feet from the stream when I built it (actually expanded a small cabin) back in 1995. Loggers have voluntary set-backs from such streams, while in agricultural areas, farmers have had no legal restrictions until the 50-foot buffer rule was established. Trout streams (as well as all lakes and streams) are public waterways, yet who gets to do what with their adjacent lands is not the same.
This would help keep pesticides and sediment out of streams, a major improvement, but it probably would not improve in-stream habitat significantly in most streams that are already in a severely degraded condition. Its certainly something that should be brought up as a step in the right direction!

brntrout
Posts: 3069
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by brntrout »

Here is a recent development that may lead the way in resolving the serious waste of LSOHC funds on project designs MN DNR Eco Service "approved" that have failed over & over and provided little if any real in -stream trout habitat.

What High Stick said as part of this string of posts will be brought up at the tour.

. High Stick
High Stick wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:53 am
There needs to be a moratorium on stream trout projects until there is an agreement on a resolution. I have never felt that there was any good scientific basis to switch to a Rosgen heavy restoration philosophy. Show me and prove to me that it works for the trout and is superior way to do bank stabilization versus rock, skyhooks, LUNKERS, etc. The problem is that MNTU and Ecological Services has no data to show what I'm asking.

Dear Mr. Sobotta & Mr. Dornack:

I have become aware of your conversations and input regarding recent failures of Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) stream restorations in Rush Creek and Pine Creek. As a result, I am wondering if we could indulge you for your assistance.

On Thursday, April 18, I am planning a site tour of Rush and Pine Creek OHF restorations. DNR staff and MN TU are already invited. We will also have Joe Pavelko (LSOHC Asst. Director), and 1-3 LSOHC council members. I would like to invite each of you to attend as well and to provide your input.

The goal of the site tour will be to exam the extent of the damage, to discuss the damage/practices used/planned fixes, and to discuss what steps may be necessary to provide additional restoration resilience in the face of increasing high water and extreme water events. In other words, our visit will be about what happened, why it happened, how will it be fixed, and what all needs to be done to make sure future OHF restorations provide resilient habitat without failures.

I am currently working with John Lenczweski to determine where and when to meet on the 18th to start the tour. If you are interested in joining us, ’ll forward that info to you sometime next week. Since it is the start of the Easter holiday, I am thinking we will need to complete the tour by early to mid-afternoon. That will mean starting probably no later than 0900 hrs.

Please let me know if you are willing to join us.

I’ll look forward to your replies.

Regards,

Mark Wm. Johnson
Executive Director
Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council
651-296-6397



Mark Wm. Johnson
Executive Director
Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council

habitat
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Resolving the Current Trout Habitat Problem

Post by habitat »

I have a number of issues in how you are presenting your photos. First off, I agree with the use of rock in the appropriate places. Though the "curb & gutter" w/lots of rock design I have seen done of some SE MN streams is way too expensive & when they blow out and they will, it leaves the stream with no protection at all. The photos of Rush Creek were interesting but taken right after snow melt when the banks are all ugly. It takes away from the issue of collapsed banks, but I suppose when you are trying to build a case, then you stack the deck. The other problem is the examples of good sections still had snow on them to give a cleaner look. The other issue is those clean stretches appear to be extremely wide and shallow & show no habitat at all. so what's the point. By the way the 2000 members of the TC chapter overwhelmingly reject the use of skyhooks in our projects. I have never seen one that wasn't silted in or collapsed or nearly collapsed and again when they go, they go big. If other chapters wish to have them, go for it, I don't object myself. As to getting Eco-waters to agree to bring back a judicious use of rock is on-going project for MNTU and as has been noted in some of the posts, with the extreme flood events we get, repairs and new projects will demand more rock in the right places. For those chapters that choose to use more rock than others, that's ok. For the rest, we will, especially in sandy soils like Rush Creek will have to budget for an occasional blowout and repair cuz when you rely heavily on prairie to maintain the banks, that can take years to establish but With proper planning, those can be minimized.

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