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The problem is it will take a massive amount of work to restore some of the hardest-hit streams.
"We could spend two years just trying to restore the Middle Branch of the Whitewater," Klotz said.
The DNR hopes to come up with a plan in the weeks ahead, once an assessment of the situation is completed. The agency routinely stocks trout in streams, and once the damage assessment is done, Klotz said, the DNR will have to decide where stocking is most needed.
Compounding the problem: The DNR's Crystal Springs trout hatchery was nearly destroyed by the flood, but one in Lanesboro wasn't damaged.
Broader issues raised
While the record amount of rain virtually guaranteed flooding, some say land-use changes including intensive farming likely contributed to the disastrous results.
"Much more land used to be in grass and hay," said Mel Haugstad of Preston, a retired DNR fishers manager and Minnesota Trout Association member. Those grasslands absorbed more water and reduced runoff. These days, more land is being planted with corn, he said.
Larry Gates, a retired DNR watershed coordinator, agreed.
"Had everything been in place with good conservation practices ... we would have seen some reduced flooding," he said. "I don't know how much."
For now, Klotz recommends anglers who plan to visit the area in the near future should use caution. Roads and bridges remain closed and many trees are down along some stream banks, making access difficult.
"Overall, it's pretty much a mess," he said.
Doug Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
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Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?