Trout Run Creek

Location: Winona County, MN
Contact:  Hiawatha Chapter
  • Project length: 3,100 feet
  • Bank hide structures: 22 Skyhooks, 8 lunkers and 2 cantilever rock bank hides. Bank hides structures were installed in ten different pool locations
  • Rock vanes: 4
  • Rock current deflectors: 6
  • Rock weirs: 6
  • 30 large cover rocks (installed to provide trout cover and feeding lies)
  • Non game habitat created: 4 frog ponds with bird/turtle logs and 1 backwater shoreland bird area.
  • 907 cubic yards large rock rip rap
  • 186 cubic yards large flat rock
  • 48 cubic yards road rock or break run rock
  • Approx. 4,000 feet of stream bank was rip rapped, sloped, seeded and hydromulched to reconnect the stream to its flood plain.
  • Tree removal: 60 box elders and 20 stumps from trees the landowner previous cut. This was needed so stream banks could be sloped properly and reconnect the stream to its flood plain.
  • Built one cattle crossing and fixed two other cattle/equipment crossings.

Also as part of the project we worked with Pete Fryer the local S&WCD engineer to fix one large bank ( 150′ x 100′) that was continually eroding sediment into the stream. This project included: installing 5 skyhook bank hides structures, bring in and packing 500 cu yards of dirt in the eroded bank area then sloping, seeding and hydromulching the area.

Our project partners consisted of: Hiawatha TU, TUDARE, MNTU, Win-cres TU, Minnesota Trout Association, MN Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, US Fish & Wildlife Service, the local SWCD/NRCS, MN DNR, Mc Ghie Betts Environmental Services, Habitat Solutions LLC., Bennett & Sons Construction and landowners Earl & Judy Prigge.

Volunteer participation: Hiawatha TU, Win-cres TU, MTA and our wonderful landowners Earl & Judy Prigge. Approximately 220 volunteer hours went into this project. Volunteers built bank hide structures, removed trees, did fencing work and helped do some seeding and mulching of stream banks areas.

Project Description

Accelerate and supplement stream restoration on existing Aquatic Management Areas (AMA):
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 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.


Mill Creek, Olmstead County

Cold Spring Brook, Wabasha County