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Continued: Flash flooding hits trout streams hard

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 25, 2007 - 9:19 PM

Other streams farther away in southern Houston County, southern Fillmore County and northern Wabasha and Goodhue counties weren't affected as much, Klotz said.

"Hay Creek should be OK, and some other smaller streams," he said. Trout Run, another popular stream, appears to have fared well.

Flooding can actually benefit trout streams by removing silt deposits. And that occurred last weekend in many streams. Still, this flood was different. Not only did the floodwaters remove silt, but in some areas they blasted out vegetation and habitat.

"Some places look like someone dumped a truck-load of 2- to 4-inch cobble into the stream," Klotz said. "It looks sterile. It's going to take a while for the food chain to recuperate."

Angling for answers

Curious to see what he'd find, Broberg fished Thursday in Trout Run and the Middle Branch of the Whitewater. He caught an 11-inch trout in Trout Run.

"It had four scratches from being banged around," he said. He saw two other fish.

The stream was changed.

"It really cleaned out the stream bottom; there was no silt," he said. "It widened the stream in many areas. But there were some deep scour holes. And some aquatic vegetation remained. I saw frogs and crayfish. I was encouraged."

But the Whitewater was different.

"I didn't even see a fish," he said.

Some good news

The only good news from the Whitewater was that habitat improvement projects done by the DNR and trout groups survived the onslaught of water, Broberg said. "Lunker structures" — manmade bank overhangs built from wood and rock, remained intact.

"I was impressed," he said.

So was Klotz. He said it appears many of the DNR's stream habitat improvement projects done over the years survived the flood, including a recently completed project on Rush Creek.

That project included 1,100 feet of shoreline stabilization and bank revegetation that withstood the blast of water.

"It's almost unbelievable," Klotz said.

That reinforces the belief that those projects can make a difference for trout habitat, he said. He's hoping landowners will be more apt to grant easements to the DNR so that more of those projects can be done.

  • related content

  • Graphic: Most damaged streams

    Saturday August 25, 2007

    The Middle and South Branches of the Whitewater River, Rush Creek and Garven Brook --...

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