• 26 Oct 2010 /  News

    John Lenczewski was selected as a 2010 winner for the Conservation Award - Volunteer at the National Meeting of Trout Unlimited.  Congrats John!!!

    John accepting the award!

    John accepting the award!

  • 11 Sep 2010 /  Misc

    Why/How Habitat Projects are Undertaken by MNTU

    September 2010 Update on the Sucker River

  • 09 Sep 2010 /  Alerts

    Please visit our online action center to help Interior Secretary Salazar develop President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative by urging him to adopt TU’s protect-reconnect-restore-sustain conservation strategy and to recommend key TU projects to be supported by the initiative.

    WHY WE CARE

    President Obama has asked Interior Secretary Salazar to help lead the development of a plan to carry out America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Intended to create a “21st century conservation and recreation agenda” to help “reconnect all Americans with the outdoors,” the President’s goals include protecting and restoring special places (lands and waters); featuring local partnerships to do the job; helping working lands (farms and ranches); and encouraging kids and families spend more time outdoors.

    These goals are very similar to TU’s conservation strategy. This initiative provides us with a great opportunity for the President, Secretary Salazar and others in the administration to adopt TU’s conservation strategy and implement several of TU’s high-value conservation projects.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO

    1) Visit our online action center today and use the model letter you will find there as a basis for your personal letter or email which can be sent to the Department of the Interior’s America’s Great Outdoors website.

    2) Please visit the America’s Great Outdoors website to learn more about the initiative.

  • 26 Aug 2010 /  News

    On Wednesday, August 25th, John Lenczewski (MNTU Executive Director) and I had the opportunity of presenting our latest proposal for Outdoor Heritage Funding to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Our proposal includes 12 projects across Minnesota—three in northeast MN, three near the Twin Cities Metro, and 6 projects in the southeast region. This proposal is for fiscal year 2012 and 2013. If we are fortunate enough to receive this grant, our proposed work could get started July 2011 and would be finished by the end of June 2013. A lot of input from TU volunteers across the state went into this proposal—thank you to everyone who’s been involved in this process!

    In the meantime, we’re working full steam ahead on the projects in our first OHF grant. You can see those projects on our Lessard-Sams Project page right here at mntu.org. Many projects have been completed already. We’ll soon be updating that page with the status of each project and include before and after photos where applicable. Our first OHF grant is for projects that will be completed in the July 2009-June 2011 timeframe. We’ll soon be getting underway with projects planned in our second OHF grant. The timeframe for those projects is July 2010-June 2012.

    Full details and status reports on all our projects will be coming shortly!

    http://www.lsohc.leg.mn/

    http://www.mntu.org/lessard-sams.html

    -Randy Brock, Chairman, Minnesota State Council of Trout Unlimited

  • 10 Aug 2010 /  News

    In the past two cycles of funding recommendations, Minnesota Trout Unlimited has been very fortunate to receive substantial grants from Minnesota’s Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund. This funding gives us the ability to carry out our mission of sustaining, improving, and restoring Minnesota’s coldwater resources.

    We (MNTU and its chapters) have already completed numerous projects using Outdoor Heritage funds, and have many others in process. Visit our L-SOHC Projects page for details. This work is, and has been, a tremendous benefit to Minnesota’s resources, and we are already seeing the results of our labor. Our trout stream improvement and restoration projects not only improve in-stream habitat for trout, invertebrate, and other wildlife (both in-stream and out), but we are reconnecting streams and rivers to their flood plains to improve overall function of the watershed and water quality. While this funding has been a tremendous benefit to MNTU and Minnesotans alike, it hasn’t come without a few questions and raised eyebrows.

    Through the first round of Outdoor Heritage Funding, MNTU was granted over $2 million for coldwater fish habitat restoration and enhancement. There was a tremendous amount of blood, sweat, and tears poured into the process of putting together a solid application and figuring out the logistics of handling a grant of this size. After we were granted this funding for Minnesota’s resources, some people have commented that this is a “windfall” for MNTU or that a big pot of money was deposited in our coffers. Fortunately for Minnesota’s resources, this is not the case. This grant money does not allows us to redirect or subjectively use funds for whatever random project or event we choose. Neither MNTU,  any of its volunteers, nor Executive Director, have received a check, salary, stipend, or handout from Outdoor Heritage Funds. There isn’t a “big pot of money” for us to have that option. All the money we’ve received through the L-SOHC funding process goes directly into the work we promised to do when applying for the funds.

    When applying for the Outdoor Heritage Fund grant, we (MNTU) assembled a very specific, statewide plan. We put together cost estimates for specific stream projects, which in many cases applied to a specific length of stream. Once we made it through the application process and were informed we were awarded the funds, we put together a “Work Accomplishment Plan.” This Work Accomplishment Plan was then submitted for approval to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. Upon approval, we signed a contract with the State of Minnesota, which is handled through the Commissioner of Natural Resources. All funding paid out through our grant is done so on a reimbursement basis, going directly to the cost of materials, machinery, and contracted labor, with the State of Minnesota writing the check. Just like the Minnesota DNR has to pay for a habitat crew and heavy machinery, the bulk of our costs go to paying contractors who are responsible for operating costly heavy machinery and are working, on-stream, at least 5 days/week. There are also costs associated with project planning, permitting, and proper administration of our $2 million grant.

    Our grant is supervised and payments are approved by the Minnesota DNR. No funds ever transfer through Minnesota Trout Unlimited or are available for anything other than what is specifically laid out in our Work Accomplishment Plan. This is why MNTU cannot simply pay for volunteer events or fund fly fishing camps through the “big pot of money.”

    Minnesota Trout Unlimited still depends on volunteers to continue in our mission, from local chapters to the state, especially with our expanded, statewide conservation efforts. We need help on stream projects, from seeding and mulching to building fences and lunker structures, or just helping cook lunch for volunteers. We’re always looking for dedicated volunteers to take on and take ownership of leadership positions in Trout Unlimited chapters and on the State Council. If you’re able to help, please contact us. Be part of a strong, dedicated mission to improve Minnesota’s environmental resources.

    -Randy Brock
    Chairman
    Minnesota Trout Unlimited

  • 20 Apr 2010 /  Alerts

    Northern Minnesota forests not only support an important timber products industry, but also provide important functions and benefits needed for streams to support coldwater fisheries.  This is especially true in watersheds with little groundwater, such as those along the North Shore.  In the late 1990s Minnesota developed timber harvesting guidelines intended, in part, to provide minimal resource protections, including to aquatic resources.  The adequacy of the voluntary “best management practices” for logging in riparian areas has been a contentious issue since their formulation.  The Minnesota Council and Minnesota Trout Unlimited chapters have been pressing for improvements to the riparian guidelines since 1996, including those suggested by a Riparian Science Technical Committee.

     The Minnesota Forest Resources Council (MFRC) will be considering revisions to guidelines beginning in the summer of 2010.  The MFRC is requesting comment now on the suitability of existing guidelines, and suggestions for new guidelines. Riparian area guidelines will be a focus of this second revision, but all topical and formatting suggestions will be considered.  Comments and suggestions for the scope of revisions must be submitted in electronic format to Rob Slesak at rob.slesak@state.mn.us by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 30, 2010 (the deadline has been extended).

    Inquiries and questions may be directed to Mr. Slesak via that e mail, or the address or telephone numbers below:

    Robert Slesak
    Site-level Program Manager
    MN Forest Resources Council
    150 Skok Hall
    2003 Upper Buford Circle
    St. Paul, MN 55108

    651-603-6756 (UMN phone)
    651-259-5281 (DNR phone)

    The complete set of guidelines, as well as the final report of the Riparian Science Technical Committee, is available for review in electronic format or in hard copy upon request. Electronic copies can be found at http://www.frc.state.mn.us/initiatives_sitelevel_management_development.html

    Input from anglers is critical to the development of guidelines which adequately protect the functions and aquatic resources of forest ecosystems.  Minnesota TU will develop a more complete webpage tracking the process and providing helpful resources and links.  Please check back for regular news.

  • 20 Apr 2010 /  News

    This past weekend MNTU met on the banks of Trout Run Creek for a

    State Council Meeting on Trout Run

    State Council Meeting on Trout Run

    State Council Meeting.  The meeting agenda included the election of the following leaders:

     

    Randy Brock – Chair

    Steve Carlton – National Leadership Council Rep

    Don Eckenrode – Treasurer

     

     
     
  • 15 Apr 2010 /  Events
    At the 2010 Thomas F. Waters Award Ceremony (Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo), Minnesota Trout Unlimited was awarded the “Conservation Organization Award”!
     
     
    Conservation Organization Award

    Conservation Organization Award

     
     
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  • 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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