• 15 Mar 2010 /  Conservation

    In a couple weeks, we’ll celebrate the 7th annual Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo. It’ll be one of our best, with an unrivaled congregation of fly fishing and fly tying experts, conservationists and good members of Trout Unlimited and the Midwest fly fishing community.

    Our field trip to the Vermillion River is a real chance to learn about an on-going endeavor to protect the Vermilion River south of the metro area and its trout population. It is an tribute to the Minnesota DNR and to Twin Cities Trout Unlimited that a level of optimism has been achieved. The Vermillion, as most TUers know, is at risk today, but in a far better place than it was just a few years ago. Come with us on Saturday morning March 27 to witness for yourself the good work being done to restore this wonderful trout stream, and to learn more about trout stream ecology and why so many of our trout waters are at risk as a result of creeping industrial development, home building and “bad” agricultural practices. The Vermillion tour is being conducted by Brian Nerbonne of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Twin Cities Trout Unlimited and the Fly Fishing Women of Minnesota, with the assistance of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This is a rare and fascinating opportunity to learn about one trout stream’s survival in an urban setting and the people who are protecting it. You’ll need to register by emailing mwfly@mwfly.com, or calling the Great Waters office at 962.920.9028. There is no charge for the tour, or transportation, but you’ll need to purchase an Expo pass for that day (or a weekend pass) before you leave on the bus at 7:30 a.m. Please be warned that the bus will leave at 7:30 a.m. sharp!

    (Learn more about the Vermillion River Project at http://www.mntu.org/vermillion.html

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  • 08 Mar 2010 /  Misc

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold six open houses in March and April to update the public on accomplishments and goals for management of trout streams in southeastern Minnesota.

    Fed by the cold water of natural springs, the valleys of southeastern Minnesota are an angler’s paradise, with more than 700 miles of trout streams. Ecologically sensitive, and popular with anglers from around the upper midwest, these streams require special attention to assure that they remain healthy and productive.

    The DNR in 2003 worked with anglers and other interests to develop a 12-year strategic plan and a 6-year management plan to maintain the recreational and biological values of these coldwater resources. Now, at the midpoint of that 12-year period, the DNR is reporting on its progress and fine-tuning plans for the next six years.

    The DNR’s 2004-2009 management plan for southeast trout streams included four major goals related to angling opportunities, habitat improvement, research and monitoring, and public information.

    Accomplishments for this period include:

    • Added 20.26 miles of angling easements on 20 streams.
    • Reintroduced native brook trout in 17 streams.
    • Implemented tiered trout fishing regulations to increase angling opportunities.
    • Assessed fish populations in 68 streams.
    • Published 68-page booklet highlighting angling opportunities.
    • Intensified long-term monitoring program to better evaluate factors influencing annual variability of trout populations.

    While retaining the four major goals of the earlier plan, DNR fisheries staff has identified a number of opportunities for further improvements in their management of southeast Minnesota’s unique coldwater resources for the next few years, including:

    • Increase angling opportunities.
    • Accelerate acquisition of angling easements.
    • Explore simplification of angling regulations.
    • Secure new funding for habitat improvement.
    • Enhance research and monitoring efforts.
    • Augment information on DNR Web site.

    Public information meetings on recent accomplishments and proposed plans will be held from 7 -9 p.m., with formal presentations at 7:45 p.m., on:

    • Tuesday, March 16, at the DNR Central Office cafeteria, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul
    • Tuesday, March 23, at the University Rochester/Heinz Center, 851 30th Ave SE, Room HA 102, Rochester
    • Thursday March 25, at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, 28097 Goodview Drive, Lanesboro
    • Monday, March 29, at the Frontenac Sportsman’s Community Center, Co. Rd. 2 and Territorial Road, Frontenac
    • Monday, April 5, at Elks Lodge 327, 4540 Service Drive, Winona
    • Thursday, April 15, at the Four Seasons Community Center, 900 N. Kingston St., Caledonia.

    Copies of the draft management plan can be found on the DNR Web site.

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