History of Habitat Improvement in SEMN

History of Lanesboro Area Trout Stream Habitat Improvement

1946-1947 – First habitat project completed in southeast Minnesota (East Beaver Creek) consisted of rock deflectors, rock rip rap, willow mats, willow revetments and log cribs. Inspected in 1955 and found to be in poor condition with one willow revetment still in place, all other improvements were destroyed by major floods.

1957-1969 – Start of major habitat improvement program in Lanesboro. Most projects consisted mainly of rock rip rap for erosion control (small rocks worked by hand), a small number of log crib structures, deflectors, and cover rocks. Log dams, stream-side fencing, tree plantings, stiles, floodgates, digger logs and spawning areas were also used to a much lesser degree.

1969 – MNDNR Lanesboro Area Fisheries Office created.

1969-1991 – Major emphasis of the new office becomes trout stream habitat improvement. Most projects consisted of mainly small rip rap for erosion control, a small number of log cribs, Hewitt ramps, deflectors, cover rocks and stream-side fencing. In 1972, the habitat improvement crew acquired a backhoe for use on their projects (in the past all work had been done by hand). The addition of a backhoe enabled the crew to start using larger size rock for rip rap which greatly increased the ability of the rip rap to withstand the pressures of the severe floods seen in southeast Minnesota.

1986 – First major project completed using a private contractor (West Beaver Creek – mainly rip rap with a couple of log cribs). The only other major project that has been done in the Lanesboro Area using a private contractor was Mill Creek in 1994. A large number of lunker structures were used on this project along with rip rap and cover rocks. The lunker structures were installed by state crews with the private contractor providing all of the heavy equipment work.

1988 – Lunker structures were first used in the Lanesboro Area on a habitat project on Big Springs Creek. Use of the structures were to become standard practice for all habitat improvement projects planned in the future where overhead cover was desired in areas that remained too shallow for a log crib.

1991 – The Lanesboro Area Habitat Improvement Crew becomes a Regional crew directed by a Regional Habitat Coordinator based out of the Rochester Regional Office. The crew starts to do habitat improvement on streams outside of the Lanesboro Management Area for the first time since the 1960’s. Work starts on Hay Creek in 1991 and continues through 1994. Two additional Regional projects have been completed since Hay Creek (Gilbert Creek in 1997 and Pickwick Creek in 1999). The first use of jetted post cribs starts on the Hay Creek Project but are rarely used today and only in certain areas where large logs are not readily available for the traditional log cribs.

1994 – First major woody debris project completed by the Regional Habitat Improvement Crew (Hay Creek). Entire project (except 2 banks) was completed using only woody debris for cover and erosion control. This was also the first major project using root wads.

2004 - The MNDNR Lanesboro Fisheries Office is restructured to manage all of southeast Minnesota's trout stream resource (Olmsted, Fillmore, Houston, Winona, Wabasha, Goodhue counties). The Lanesboro Habitat Improvement Crew is responsible for all MNDNR habitat improvement while the Lanesboro Fisheries Management staff begin management of all trout streams in that area.

2005-2008 - The Habitat Improvement Crew and supervisors successfully complete training in stream geomorphology and channel design. Supervisors and crew leaders become Erosion/Sediment Control Specialists by continuing their education through the University of Minnesota's Inspector/Installer/Site Management programs.

2008 – The Habitat Improvement Crew is fully outfitted with a 2000 John Deere 344H Pay Loader, a 2005 Caterpillar 315CL Excavator, a 2005 Ford F-550 Crew Truck, a 2008 International Load Star Dump Truck with a RipRaptor box, and a 2008 John Deere 650J Bulldozer with wide tracks and long track base for grading stream banks.

2009 - The MNDNR Lanesboro Habitat Improvement Crew continues to work with angling constituent groups to cooperatively develop some of the most advanced, easily maintained, and most effective trout stream habitat improvements in the Midwest.

2010 - The MNDNR Lanesboro Fisheries Office is restructured once again to manage the trout stream resource in Olmsted, Fillmore, Houston, Winona and parts of Wabasha counties.  The MNDNR Lake City Fisheries Office now manages the trout resource north of the Whitewater watershed beginning in north Wabasha County.

2016 - The MNDNR Lanesboro Fisheries Office is working on project proposals for maintenance of numerous habitat improvement projects on trout streams throughout southeast Minnesota. Details will be included in forthcoming Strategic and Implementation plans.

Back to top